Photo by Seyi Ogunyemi (copied from Flickr)

1. As I’d begun to do lately, get out paper, my stack of comics from under the bed. I start drawing.

Jittery, a twiddling, nerve-pulling runway, touch-down, to pencil scratching, scratching, then, finally loose, pulling fast, mostly figures and buildings — clench-fist, huge-foot-figures, and as always like I’m really moving, lunging, soaring all over the room inside my skull . . . 

Also, a disturbing pattern! And already, how many times, seeing some girl, even only once, and from that point, life feels somehow sweepingly altered. Not that I’m not gonna fuck Inez. Because I’m right there, just gotta break through . . . Also! And also, that table I had in my room, at six, seven years old, with legs to look like giant pencils, and feeling absurdly, thrillingly into it, this drawing all night, and sitting here with paper and pencil, funny the little details I remember . . .

Drawing, The Movie and Inez, and non-secrets of my distant childhood past. An hour? Maybe three. Sweat under my arms. And none of it makes sense anymore, drawing the same hooked line over and over, down the page. Until the phone rings. Without thinking, I get up off the floor.


Blind man, groping, like a cat scratching — and what am I even drawing? Not cities, just lines, line after line. Not even ideas, not yet, feelings, curlicues, into drawing up off the corner of the page, and easy billowing, the steam off those motherfucking Chinese, Asian mountains . . .

But from the vantage point of — I don’t know, a floating world. And, ok. Second or third week, boxing class. I’d been pumped, about everything, The Movie, when he’d first showed us that front round kick I’d stepped up, I was able to really crush into the bag, or it at least sounded impressive, but also no real weight behind it, I could tell, the way he was watching, because everyone was getting excited, kind of pumped too, hi-fiving me when it was my turn again, Leah, that was her name, I remember her saying, Wow, or something, close to my ear, her hand on my arm, for a second, and Keith there saying nothing, but watching; tiny, deep-set, dead eyes, in his mesh shorts, probably thinking how quickly he could take me apart with elbows, about armbars, about punching me in the face, knocking my teeth out, or whatever.


All the drawing. Because of the number one thing me and Abdul had agreed on; non-stop action.

“So I’ll draw it.” As opposed to a script. No problem. I’d seen a picture somewhere, of Hollywood storyboards, looked a lot like comics. That next day, downtown, to Daydreams, I get a random stack. Deep-80’s. Avengers. Ann Niocenti Daredevils. DC’s Checkmate. Few things with Gil Kane drawing the covers . . .

And here, months later, still no script! Still stuck, erasing, re-drawing, same blank-face guy, running. Like, doing some kind of retarded squat lunge — no, wipe it, instead, hatch over that back leg, vertical strokes, now, ok, running     . . .

Middle school. To maybe, tenth grade. The entire world there in my room, sitting, reading comics, filling sketchbooks. And I hadn’t drawn much, not since then, but right back to that same feeling, buzzing, welling up, and in a strange, almost cosmic way, connecting everything . . . Scene from Fist of Legend! Jet Li jumps up, snaps dude’s leg, like that, same excitement, and, (ha!) — Keith as the perfect big boss waiting atop the pagoda, drunken kung fu fight like, like drawing, man, FPS, like 15 frames per second!


Uzodinma Okehi

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