by Quraysh Ali Lansana


every evening after the six o’clock
i ate dinner, something fast, sitting
at the desk. eight tv screens, three police
scanners talking to themselves
ears keen to chatter i’d not heard
earlier. check news radio at top of hour
just dry heat. then phones—seven p.m.
roll call—public information officers
at eight village precincts. nothing
goin on but a bunch of darkies drinkin
in del city. i am certain of his skin
secure inside the box, babylon’s mouth
the lead story at ten, willie horton, sundowner
law still dripping. you are talking to one.
next day, managing editor assaults
his superior, attends while information
officer phones in apology.


Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of five poetry books, three textbooks, and a children’s book, among other volumes. He’s also edited several books. Originally from Oklahoma, Lansana is now an associate professor of English/Creative Writing at Chicago State University. His next book of poems, mystic turf, is due out in October.