When thinking of a muse in poetry, most people encourage going outside of the genre. Dwelling in other writing styles or even art forms can generate a different type of creative inspiration that being knee deep in the craft may not always provide. One of the most common themes in my poetry is cartoon characters. Some of these characters appear on TV, comic books, or both.

From the surface, it may seem like these references are merely that. But in actuality, the work goes much deeper. While I enjoy these storylines on the macro level, I have also been influenced by them on a micro level. I always knew that I loved the Silver Surfer cartoon, but it was not until Disney+ revamped the series for its subscribers. 

Upon giving Disney/Marvel/ESPN/ABC or whomever my dollars, I dived right into the beauty of Silver Surfer the animated series, originally airing on FOX. I remember being frustrated this show was cut short. I remember that I still loved it anyway. The 3-D graphics were absolutely fantastic. The writing is also great. In fact, it is the poetically crafted inner monologues of the Silver Surfer that must’ve entrapped my consciousness back then. I realize now he was a poet on this show. I must have loved this element as well, because I was writing poems as early as age 8. This show aired when I was around 10.

After watching this treasured gem of two seasons I decided I would write a poem about the Silver Surfer. I did not know when I would publish it, or where for that matter. But it was important nonetheless that it was written. I think the biggest mistake writers fall victim to is leaning into the capitalistic sides of being an artist. With intention, this can be logical. Without it however, you might as well be floating across the galaxy like the Silver Surfer trying to make your way back home. If this poem was never published, it still needed to be written.

Fast forward about a year, and I discovered one of my publisher’s was putting together an anthology for Marvel characters. I knew this was my shining moment to get my metal boy Norrin Radd on the page with this ode. Unfortunately I was wrong. The poem was rejected, for another Silver Surfer poem. It’s important we understand that sometimes our work did not make it because there was something else just like it—and that’s okay. Rejection makes our work better.

I took time to revise the poem after it did not make it into the anthology. Now I share my muse, with you here’s my ode to Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer.

Silver Surfer is the Most Underappreciated Jewel Inside the Disney Vault

My hero hangs ten off milky way constellations,
surfing across the galaxy like Kelly Slater!
Crusin’ on a platinum hoverboard protecting planets.
The phantom of Jack Kirby’s space opera fantasy.

O’ Silver Surfer, soul mate of the solar system,
unsung superhero who tuned Thanos into moon
pebbles with one swat! We laughed, as the intergalactic
tyrant faded from our telescope lenses branded Hubble.

How could you not love this metal man?
He can soar higher than any SpaceX shuttle,
& he’ll never need a suit or NASA ship to kiss
the moon right on her glossy cratered lips.

When he’s not fighting intergalactic enemies
our chrome dome king reflects over existential
questionsbecause he is a celestial poet
pondering over the ethics of obliterating villains.

He only glistened for 13 underfunded FOX episodes
& in every stinking film he is just a background guy,
a metallic movie extra aiding another crappy
Fantastic 4 movie. Thanks, Hollywood.

Our boy Norrin never got the proper respect he’s owed.
He just sits in the black hole atrium of the Disney vault
plopped in frustration next to the ashy ass Gargoyles.
I hope one day he gets the box office blockbuster he deserves.



Chris L. Butler (he/him) is 3 time Pushcart Nominee, Afro-Dutch poet and essayist from Philadelphia, PA and Houston, TX. He is the 2021 Kurt Brown Diverse Voices Fellow at the Solstice MFA Program, and the Associate Poetry Editor at Bending Genress. Chris is the author of BLERD: '80s BABY, '90s KID (Daily Drunk Press, 2021)

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