To the Citizens of Central City,
That red glare who pushed you to the sidewalk when the taxi missed you by inches, that streak who moved the revolver’s barrel up as it fired, that stoplight smear of motion who raced all the children through the fire, has to admit that he can’t hack it anymore. The world is slow and I am tired.
Imagine this. You’re stuck in a traffic jam and all the off-ramps are closed. You’re late for a meeting and dying to pee. Through your windshield all the cars ahead idle, ignorant every day people cut off every option. And you think of how free you could be. If the snails would just move you could speed toward a better tomorrow. But you’re trapped by their dragging lives, stalled and alone. This is every second of my life.
I know it’s not your fault. I was born this way, and the rest of you do what you can. You keep me in the news, give me the key to the city, but inside you resent it. I’ve heard your steroid jokes. My Olympic bid denied. I’m left to trudge along when every nerve in my body is built to sprint. Most of all, I know you hate that I can scream ahead of your plodding selves any time I choose.
Your world is meant for snails and sloth, for people in line reading menus one letter at a time. I can’t save you anymore or wait for you to move. Tonight when criminals raise their guns, when streetlamps catch bullet heads darting through the air, I will stand in front of them and you will be safe. I will not move to save myself. I will freeze, and be one of you.
The Green Lantern
To People under the Yellow Sun,
I can make anything with this alien ring. Glowing green sabers and spears, keys and shields the color of Bermuda grass; they come from the nothingness of thought. That is unless a banana peel gets in the way or a urinal overflows nearby. What good is a hero whose kryptonite is a highlighter?
It’s ridiculous. Defeated by smiley face buttons, traffic signs to merge or yield, or jaundiced alcoholics. I am a hero conquered by the color of cowards, one powerless against dandelions and tulips. The yellow sun that made Superman Superman, makes me a citizen in a wet suit with extraterrestrial custom jewelry.
I’ve been beaten by Wiffle ball bats, gouged by ears of frozen corn, and maimed by taxi cabs with maniacal drivers. A talent so easily defused is no talent at all. Any potential I have to end the murderous currents of this world has been lost to villains crouched behind lemonade stands, or armed in Big Bird costumes. Pawnshops won’t even take this ring which grants me super human strength unless there is an open pineapple nearby. I am a prop comedian carrying a neon lamp.
The aliens watch disappointed. They wasted their time. I never asked to save the world or serve the greater good. I only wanted to be admired. But I was born yellow.
By the time you read this it will be three o’clock, and too late to save me. I will stand in front of the first school bus I see proudly. When it crashes over me I will show you all my true color.
To my students, the X-Men,
I am afraid that after my long tenure at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters there is nothing left for me to do but admit that my time served as your mentor has been a complete failure. I began this journey with a dream. It was my hope that through my efforts those seen as mutants would create a more just and enlightened world. However, after decades spent dealing with those of you who were born with abnormal abilities it has become clear to me that the dream I began with is one which you do not share.
In recent years it has become apparent that instead of spending our time together exploring the possibilities offered by your powers, you would much rather fly to spring break on our private jet. Instead of addressing your psychological trauma in our therapy sessions you had rather play with your cell phones or update your Facebook status. This does little to increase global peace or mutant understanding.
Many of you have left the institute over the past years, and the Board is understandably concerned. While I can bare their demands that I increase both our enrollment and grant applications, I cannot stand your constant request that we add classes like Economics of Online Poker or Canadian History as these academic pursuits will neither aid you in creating a new society nor gaining meaningful employment.
In recent years I have become appalled by your lack of basic literacy. None of you have read a book. Your essays inevitably begin with “In today’s society,” then stagger through a half-dozen unrelated points printed in large font before ending with “In conclusion.” If you can’t express your thoughts in a professional manner, I have no confidence that you can save this world from mutant bigotry.
Yes, you are gifted and special. You’ve been told that your whole life. You expect your teachers to love you. I am not a cheerleader however, and your parents did you a disservice by implying that the world was eager for you to succeed. Especially when you attend class infrequently with no assignments completed.
Tonight I will wheel my chair down to the river while you watch reality dating shows and finger your iPods. I push my dead legs into the water and find deliverance, knowing that the news of my passing will be Twittered to you in class before being quickly deleted.
To Macho Men Who Cheer,
When you carry a hammer of the gods around men in workshirts will praise you. The sight of your bowling ball biceps rising with the weight of it will make them rush home to swallow raw eggs and do pushups next to their beds. You will be a king among them. The hammer swings at your side as you enter the bar, and under your helmet you hear the volume of the room lower around you as if a cosmic hand was scrolling down the dial of real life. Then they forget about the hammer and drink to forget how it feels to be weak. One of them, usually a big-bellied one pushing retirement, will get red-eyed and angry at his lot as the night moves on and the voices begin to holler. He’ll walk up to you a mean-spirited cuss, and then your hammer will fall. Cheers and hoots fill their air. You’ll be Rambo and Rocky rolled into one standing over the bloody cuss—a hero. It sounds nice doesn’t it? I used to think so too.
Women are different though. To them I am a brute, a textbook case of male insecurity masquerading as a berserker to hide from my feelings. They don’t see me as a defender of the weak, but another hairy ape trying to prove what a big man I am. They see a tool carrying a tool that will find no home.
They roll their eyes at my stories of frost giants and evil trolls bent on destruction. Instead they want to know about my family, my dog, my hobbies, and stare at my cape when I try to answer. “Alright Caesar,” they giggle into their cosmopolitans. “We’re sure you’re very strong.” It is no good being a god among men when women see you as a cartoon character composed of every negative trait their ex-boyfriends had.
To love the hammer or to love women? There is no answer. If I drop my hammer to my side to gain love I become every washed up ex-boxer I’ve slammed with steel. With the hammer I call out for justice. Without it I stammer to women who yawn. In surrender I find no hope, and in my hammer I find no soft touch when the men who cheer disappear.
I can choose to be a warrior king walking alone with a hammer from the gods or a weakling scrambling for Valentine’s Day reservations. It is impossible. I choose not to choose. I will no longer be the hammer. I will not surrender. In the freezing winds of the rainbow bridge I will wait for the frost giants to come. Before they reach me I will throw my hammer straight up and let it crash into my skull. I have carried the hammer so long that I have become the nail.
To all the men I’ve loved,
Why does a strong woman have to be a product of mythology? If she’s athletic and strong she can’t be simply “fit,” but has to be an Amazon. Does there have to be some ball-breaking storyline that keeps her in her place?
I always hear the same thing. Men wishing for a girl who can be “one of the guys,” but when I beat you at arm wrestling there is never a pat on the back. Can’t I just be beautiful and a little stronger than your boys at the bar?
There have been times when I’ve made each of you lose face, and I’m sorry. But I wouldn’t have to deflect machine gun fire with my bracelets if you’d stop starting wars. I wouldn’t have to tie you to a chair with my Lasso of Truth if you’d just open up. If you don’t want to talk or fight where does that leave us? Where does it leave me?
Aphrodite blessed me with a loving heart that will find no home. Pallas Athena made me a military genius, but you won’t let me serve on the front lines. Hestia gave me a rope to know your true minds, and the truth is you don’t have any idea what you want. You’re little boys with guns and jobs who base their idea of womanhood on whoever is on the cover of Maxim. The powers of Oylmpus can’t save me from being an eternal bridesmaid.
I am a woman. If I can’t live as a myth I will die as a tragedy. By the time you find this a blade will have pierced my loving heart. And then you will love me. I know you. You boys always love the girl who’s gone away. Every girl, even an Amazon, is beautiful in a memory.