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Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “Luke Cage, Hip-Hop Superhero for Hire” by Jonathan Moody

The Houston poet talks about insomnia, Neruda and an indestructible superhero.


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“Even the most abstract idea, the most abstract concept, a poem can give [it] “feet,” it can give it “wings,” and you can create your own world. And that’s what poetry means to me.” – Jonathan Moody

In this sound portrait, Jonathan Moody describes how he fell in love with poetry and what it means to him, and he reads his poem, "Luke Cage, Hip-Hop Superhero for Hire."

Jonathan Moody holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a Cave Canem graduate fellow whose poetry has appeared in various publications such as African American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands, Boston Review, The Common, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast and Harvard Review Online. Moody is the author of The Doomy Poems (Six Gallery Press, 2012). Olympic Butter Gold, his second collection, won the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize. He lives in Fresno, Texas with his wife and son and teaches English at Pearland High School.



My indestructible skin resists the battering
ram of a fan's autograph request.

Diddy doesn't want what happened
to Biggie to happen to him.

Every move this bad boy
makes I counter like a chess piece

cuz any one of these neon lights
flashing from the DJ's booth

could be a tactical, green electro-
sight laser sizing up my client's torso.

Chillin' in the VIP section,
he fills up a glass with pineapple Ciroc

& nods his head to Cypress Hill's
"How I Could Just Kill a Man";

the tight waves in his freshly
cut fade are stenciled

in deep like letters on a tombstone.
It's my job to see death

in everything so Diddy
can enjoy life.


This poem was first published in Tidal Basin Review and is reprinted with permission by the author.

To learn more about this series, go here.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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