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.