They come here in whitecaps of humanity,
sweeping through the convention center,
dressed as soft-core anime characters
or Darth Vader, to stare at each other
and lots of hokey pop-culture merchandise
some bored boy like me bought in 1981
with a portion of his risible allowance
and is now worth half a month’s pay
of some of the top workers at Microsoft.
I’m here with my daughter, a young 17,
who cannot decide if she likes Supernatural
more than Star-Lord, and it’s a nice
father-daughter date, but she meets friends
and leaves me—promising, swearing—
for an hour, which I then use to browse
the plastic slip-covered relics of my youth,
which I realize, along with Batman, Ironman,
I had a thing for female heroes: Dazzler,
Wonder Woman, and, my favorite, She-Hulk.
All these comics, with the exception of Dazzler,
who still suffers, all these decades later,
from the untimely, unexpected death of Disco,
are priced out of my range, a range which seems
not to have risen in the thirty-six years since
I bought my last comic on the newsstand,
which was She-Hulk #17, who impressed me
because she not only would turn strong
but also remain lucid. I saw no reason then
why great strength should also mean stupidity,
why one must sacrifice anything for anything else.
I wanted it all, everything I could make myself.
Of course, Savage She-Hulk had her issues,
and I found a bright young boy with muscles
can quickly turn into a middle-aged fat father
searching through swarms to find the spot
where his daughter said they would meet,
and upon arriving find she’d like to spend
most of the rest of the time with her friends,
who are all dressed up like characters, younger
than I remember ever being, and having such fun.
Listen to this poem: