The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Denver, 1992

Mile High Comics was located on the south side of a now defunct shopping center, next to the movie theatre that was tucked inside a recess in the wall, and across the way from the music store. I called it the Escape the Real World area, where I spent my Saturday afternoons, always alone but never really lonely.

I’d step into the comic book store first, say “hello” to the affable clerk as I walked by him, and peruse the titles. I knew exactly what I wanted as I searched through the store; action packed comic books with…

If you are an avid consumer of politics, it is impossible to avoid comparing Joe Biden and Donald Trump, two septuagenarian white men with complicated histories on race relations. Both men competed for the office of president, requiring that they make a genuine appeal to black Americans for votes and support.

“What have you got to lose?” said Trump, his white Make America Great hat casting a shadow over his bulbous eyes. He was speaking before a crowd of Michigan supporters on August 19, 2016, less than three months before his eventual ascension to the presidency. As Trump performed that…

Republicans don’t like this image

Last month, Georgia Republican state representatives, still seething after absorbing the ignominious defeat of their preferred presidential and senate candidates, ushered sweeping voting “reforms” through the Georgia legislature. The omnibus reform bill — it contained ninety-eight pages — was signed by Brian Kemp, Georgia’s current Republican governor. Joining Mr. Kemp for the signing were half a dozen white men with masks, staring down at the bill as Kemp signed it into law.

Republican officials, citing the big lie of rigged elections proffered by Donald Trump, have hailed the bill as an important expansion of voter protections and voting rights. But…

Ray Fisher as Cyborg

Eleven years ago.

I was speeding down the 1–70 thoroughfare, hands squeezing and pulling at the steering wheel as I fled the school from which I’d just been fired. The anguish I felt. It was of the unbearable kind, had me bent over the steering wheel the whole way. After arriving at home, I rushed up the stairs and collapsed onto my queen sized bed.

Hands and legs splayed, I stared up at the ceiling as I contemplated my bleak future. I was still in possession of my teacher’s license, but the school year was already up and running, with…

Photo by Kawin Harasai on Unsplash

It should have been just another Saturday morning in November.

I’d drive to my local Grease Monkey Station, check my car in with the technician, and then hand over my cars keys. I’d step into the waiting room and sit in one of the socially distanced chairs, a novel draped over my lap as I devoured words on pages. I’d read and wait for a technician to enter the waiting room to call out the model of my car, announcing its preparedness for the road. But this wasn’t just another November Saturday.

It was November 7, 2021, four days after…

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I don’t know if any English-speaking American is capable of pronouncing my name the right way. It’s not the fault of the Americans though, as the majority have not been regularly exposed to west African culture.

My name is Eze Ihenetu by the way, pronounced as (eh-zee) (i-hen-eh-too), meaning the first letter (e) in my forename is short and the second portion(ze) is long. The first letter (i) in my surname is short, the (hen) portion sounds identical to that of the female domestic fowl. The (hen) sound is followed by the(eh)sound, and the (tu) sounds identical to that of…

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

While sitting for an interview, President Barack Obama, a comic book aficionado, was asked to name his favorite superhero. He responded to the question with a reference to Spiderman and…Conan the Barbarian.

Really? I thought. Conan the Barbarian? Well, to each his own I guess.

I wished that I was the one who’d asked him that question. After he’d have put forth his choices I would have asked, “Do you think you are a superhero?”

Because that what he was for me and millions of other citizens of the world, a real life superhero. Outsized expectations had been placed upon…

I used voices to gain control and then I lost control

Photo by Ronnie Overgoor on Unsplash

When I was in my second year of junior high school I would tip my desk chair until I felt the rail touch the wall, rock back and forth, and then reset the desk chair onto the classroom floor. I would do this in full view of my educators, who never offered to discipline me for this action, so I kept on tipping my chair back until the front two legs were suspended a few feet into the air.

One afternoon in social studies class, while rocking my chair back and forth, I finally lost my balance. My arms and…

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

It was the middle of October when Emily called, a young, besotted woman intent on venturing outside the country.

“I need an expedited coronavirus result,” she said. “My boyfriend is waiting for me in Peru. He is a really great guy and I haven’t seen him in such a long time.”

My immediate thought: That’s not fair.

Epidemiologists and other health experts had issued warnings against extensive and unnecessary travel for fear of spreading the coronavirus. I’ve heeded the advice of the experts, constricted my travel to encompass driving to my job, exercising at the neighborhood park, and shopping at…

Three months before I was to enroll at Boston University, my father secured a second job driving customers through the Denver International Airport in wheelchairs. “It’s only temporary,” he said one evening during dinner.

Guilt surged through me, as I assumed that he was working the second job to pay for my college education. Grants and loans paid for the majority of my tuition and boarding, but there were still two thousand dollars that would have to be accounted for by my family.

“How long is temporary?” I asked.

“I’m thinking just the summer, but I don’t know,” my father…

Eze Ihenetu

I am a teacher, essay writer, survivor, foodie, and politically obsessed progressive.

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