A lot of us here at Black Nerd Problems met through the slam poetry community and come from a writing background in poetry. A lot of us also hate poetry (and people, let’s not forget people). Which is to say that when it comes to books of poetry, it’s going to take a lot to get us interested (or maybe that’s just me).
I was on on Tumblr one day (doing what real thugs do) reblogging pictures of otters aka the lawd’s work, when I saw a post by McClain where she was reblogging lines of poetry and talking about this book “Missing You, Metropolis” by this dude Gary Jackson. She told me about it so I decided to check it out (McClain isn’t wrong on many things. [Don’t tell her I said that]).
I found a piece of his someone posted on Tumblr. That shit said,
“How The Unstoppable Juggernaut Makes a Living after Retirement”. I read the first verse
arm-wrestling men forty years younger,
smashing each hand to ancient wood, pining for heroes
The poem goes on to describe Cain remembering his days of old fighting heroes and even references the time Spider-Man encased him in cement. That happened in an old school back issue of Spider-Man my nerd. THAT’S AUTHENTIC SHIT MY DUDE. For nerds, that reference was the equivalent of still having the New Era sticker under the brim of your new fifty (fiddy) cap. I got done reading the piece and felt like Will Smith in “I am Legend” when he dropped the top on his whip riding around on a Whole Foods run and saw Fred out on 35th street knowing damn well Fred supposed to be on 42nd.”
I could not believe what I was reading man. Gary Jackson out here going sooo deep in the nerd man. I realized I was only scratching the surface on what I thought was nerdy. My man out here delivering BARS. Immediately I shut my Tumblr down. I didn’t want to read anymore. I ordered that shit off amazon (shout out to my connect) off the fucking strength i tell you. Got the last copy of that Columbian Bam Bam and was waiting on that package to be delivered.
When I got it I’m not too sure how many times I went through re-reading poems but I know why I did so. This book is a milestone for POC writers (in my eyes) as well as POC writers that go hard in the nerd. It ….I don’t want to say caters but fulfills an academic feel on page while AT THE SAME DAMN TIME gives those with a background in this pop culture shit the references and affirmation we been needing. Gary Jackson lets you know, “hey man…there are other black unicorns out there man. It’s okay”.
Well that’s what it said to me as I was reading it, he might say something else to you in case you don’t fuck with unicorns but that’s neither here nor there. He speaks on his time growing up, his family, in addition to the comic books and it really feels like watching an alternate universe version of your life through his words. Did I mention that Gary Jackson is coming straight outta Cave Canem? You know how prestigious that is my dude? I’m super pissed cause I know folks in Cave and they ain’t tell me this shit was in the sheets? (I said sheets cause it’s paper instead of streets…I thought it was funny) yall having class with this man and ain’t tell ya boy he had a book out doing the lawd’s work? Ugh. Letting the friendship bracelet down!
I gotta showcase some of the work he was putting in with lines from some of my favorite poems of his.
This book is more than worth its weight in required reading man. I thought I had a right to claim king of the nerds but every time I go to this book, I see Gary Jackson giving folk that Fire-Bender work just blowing cat’s up with such ease weaving between pop culture, personal journeys, comics, and these black boy experiences out in the field that when I reach the end I feel like Jon Snow cause I don’t know a Gaht Damn thing.
Gary Jackson Sitting on top of the nerd like the Captain Commander B, talking bout…