letter to my deceased best friend
by Quarysh Ali Lansana
need to talk brethren. we need to reason, as rastas do. spark
chalice or spliff, help me find sense. i’m tired, brethren. of talk
struggling with prayer, and fuck forgiveness. before i do some
thing smart or stupid. white boys whom i love greater than life
greater than myself, if you’re trying to holla i can’t hear you. i
know i’m in my own way but dammit i can’t figure out where
to move. do i harbor any conviction as deeply as dylan storm
roof? blood kin, a handful of others and you two. they know
i would die for them and you did too. but kill? for twenty-six
years i’ve sworn i’d only buy a firearm for one reason, the one
this roof kid wanted to ignite. it’s been a long eight months
brethren, a long four hundred years. not sure if i’ve lost my
mind or found it. this dude’s act guts me in most things i hold
sacred: history, spirituality, respect, inclusiveness & black people.
maybe it’s that i was raised ame. have an idea of all that occurred
in that hour, order of study until he emptied that clip, reloaded.
that’s not part of the apostle’s creed. and the families forgave him
and that’s Jah and that’s love and i know Jah and i’ve known
love and i cannot forgive him, jason van dyke, darrin wilson, cops
in cleveland, long island, waller county, jasper, a fucking pool party
rahm emmanuel, eighty-six minutes of missing video. is this letter
rant, poem, prayer, rock, slingshot, stick, blade, pistol, semi-automatic
hand grenade? sanity? tanks rolled down main street in small-town
usa, brethren. everywhere is war, marley sang. know that, for now, you
two are why i haven’t. holla.
Quarysh Ali Lansana
contributor 2016 second edition
Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, three children's books, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. A faculty member of the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, Lansana served as Associate Professor and Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2014. Recent books include The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop and The Walmart Republic.