Back in graduate school, I started writing odes to superheroes. This was about 1998, long before any of this kind of thing was cool. A couple ("Ode to the Human Torch" and "Ode to the Incredible Hulk") were published in Third Coast magazine. Each ode is written using the voice of some non-superhero speaking directly to the hero, sometimes as a fan, but mostly not. I wrote a few more to Wonder Woman, the Silver Surfer, the Flash, Aquaman, and then I kind of set the project aside.
The other day, my old friend Scott Rogers asked for a copy of "Ode to the Human Torch" which is wanted to read at some public event. I pulled that old issue of Third Coast off the shelf and decided that maybe it was time to pick up this project again.
Since this is the opening day of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I thought I'd return to the project with this movie tie-in.
Ode to the Black Widow
Spiders have the red dot and a wicked
sheen, lets you know you need to back away
or else. With you there was no warning,
just a storm of black leather
and cinnamon. You clamped your legs around
Dion's neck, dropped to the floor, and
he was done before you rolled away.
Then you shot Cláudio with his own piece,
your hand wrapped around his. Then somehow suddenly
you were behind him, using the poor bastard
as a puppet, a weapon, a shield.
I lost my nerve and dove behind
some old barrels and listened to everyone's
guns empty out into the shadows, then I
watched you do things with your body
that still seem impossible.
When it was finally quiet, I crawled
over to Cláudio, got there before he was dead.
He grabbed me by the hair, told me you
smelled like a rich lady he robbed once
in Paris. Said that when you were behind him,
picking off the rest of us, he gave up
the fight and tried to focus on how your tits
smashed up against his back.
He told me how he wished he didn't wear
a jacket today. "It was warm today, Paulie.
A t-shirt would have been enough." Then
he coughed once and pulled me close
and asked how come we kept on shooting.
He said he was trying to concentrate
on this last slow dance, said he knew he
was a goner and he hoped that in this last dream
he'd be the hero, not the thug. He thought
maybe saving your life would make
a pretty lady like you fall
in love with a stooge like him.