Now that my afro's as big as Shaft's I feel a little better about myself. How it warms my bullet-head in Winter, black halo, frizzy hat of hair. Shaft knew what a crown his was, an orb compared to the bush on the woman sleeping next to him. (There was always a woman sleeping next to him. I keep thinking, If I'd only talk to strangers. . . grow a more perfect head of hair.) His afro was a crown. Bullet after barreling bullet, fist-fights & car chases, three movies & a brief TV series, never one muffled strand, never dampened by sweat-- I sweat in even the least heroic of situations. I'm sure you won't believe this, but if a policeman walks behind me, I tremble: What would Shaft do? What would Shaft do? Bits of my courage flake away like dandruff. I'm sweating even as I tell you this, I'm not cool, I keep the real me tucked beneath a wig, I'm a small American frog. I grow beautiful as the theatre dims.
From Muscular Music by Terrance Hayes, published by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright © 1999 by Terrance Hayes. Reprinted by permission of Terrance Hayes. All rights reserved.