Time Travel Blues

An Ode to Black Sci-fi Movies That Can't Exist

The moment time travel is invented I will have to wait for the invention of spray-on-white-face or temporary-Caucasian-gene-therapy. Otherwise, looking this black, I don't want to go back to last year or even yesterday. If they do find a way to recycle used white faces, organic masks stored in those pressurized cans with the roll top lids that they used to make in World War I; masks that will slip over squish thick noses, and thin and fine and bury and bully kissing lips behind handle bar mustaches, well then I won't go back. I'll explore my time as an American eagle and not a blackened canary in a coal mine. At first I'll be simple, I'll ride bus, and walk, and drive, and not be looked at or frisked or fussed with or pulled over. Then I'll mask everyone. I'll spend years proving to Fox news that race is real, because men with guns and chains and ships have made it that way. Then Rodney King, Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till will wake up with white faces, and the world will watch how beautifully safe and soft it can be to wake up with a cotton expression. I'll likely find that Elvis wasn't a thief but a fellow black time traveler. Then maybe I'll find a George Wallace or a Pat Robertson, put a black face on them, and cut them loose in Lake City, Florida at 3 am in 2014. Not 1925 but 20, fucking, 14 where the Police chief and Judges were still members of the KKK. But I probably won't be able to, why would they make black masks?


Herve Comeau is a Haitian-American artist. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Florida State University in 2008. In 2009 he went on to attend Cornell Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate in 2013. He is a also a recent graduate of Syracuse University's prestigious MFA program. His poetry has appeared in Pif, his fiction in Hobart, and more fiction is set to appear in the anthology Time Travel for All of Us.