Fall/Winter 2016

Quraysh Ali Lansana


eight hundred miles away for two thousand
five hundred and fifty-five days blanketed
in the melanin rich cocoon of the south side.

jacob squatted in hollow of tree for one hundred
sixty-eight hours til slave catchers passed. only
duppies, good and ornery, vex me here

where it is possible to function, to dream
and never interact with a person of non-
color. more black owned businesses in

my neighborhood than my hometown. can
be thug, threat, teacher, artist, arse, poet
professor, writer, worrier. but sad nigga

in enid, my view obscured by headstones
prison and ferguson. the fools gold of distance.
damp musk of time. grief decomposes on I-44

weather lovely, the politics fucked. fracked up
earth twitches, spits greed. we drive by anyway
led by dollar signs. an uneven stretch of lonely road.


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. He is 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 Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing until 2014.




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