Old friend and actor Karl T. Wright (last see on The Big Bang Theory) reminded me of our collaboration in a poetic theater piece I contributed to around the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings called “What’s This In My Coke?” We called it a play, however, after that first brush with theater I developed a great respect for playwrights and realized it was unfair to call the string of performances a play. Still it was an impressive professional production with real actors, dual directors, lighting, live music, and full costumes, all followed by serious theater reviews in the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times (amazing, no?)
My poem “Is Geordi An Anti-Hero Or Just A Smart Guy In Space” was written in the voice of Geordi La Forge, a character played by LeVar Burton on Star Trek – The Next Generation. The role provided one more opportunity for me to poetically comment on the state of being black in America. Karl T. nailed the Geordi character in the performances at Live Bait Theater.
I left the poem out of “The Armageddon of Funk” along with 30 other poems that no longer worked for me. I don’t have time to edit – so it appears here in all its “rawness.”
Is Geordi An Anti-Hero
Or Just A Smart Black Guy In Space?
by Michael Warr
It is so simple I could cry,
but I have no eyes.
Behind these bars my sockets bulge
with implants of boiled platypus eggs.
Conceptually it is so crude –
still effective as any blunt instrument
bashing in the collective skull.
I am allowed to be brilliant as long
as my solutions are for someone else,
my formulations saving the Enterprise crew
and not misusing the ship’s computer banks
to calculate, “Why are there so few
black people in space?”
I never take the existence of blacks
in space for granted. In the purest production
of the Lucas prophecies the future existed
without me. The voice of Darth Vader
was the voice of James Earl Jones.
Who but us paid attention to that?
I pondered the prospect of space genocide.
Our resurrection took on the image of
Billy Dee — space “rogue.” French for criminal.
“All God Spades wear dark shades,”
a late 20th century poet wrote.
Willie Horton wore shades — the anti-hero of his time.
The Crips on America’s Most Wanted wore them.
They think I can see through quantum singularities
and not see through this shit?
If something else is wrong with me then
my intellect is not subversive.
Could be a loss of legs, a shattered eardrum,
an arm devoured by leprosy,
a periodic collapse into the criminal mind.
A defect symbolizing a defected people.
A pivotal role — as fundamental as matter
and anti-matter, and possibly as volatile.
There are no heroes without anti-heroes.
We make “heroes” so much more heroic.