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long way home

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john   lord knows you still vexed   reckon me too if my wife stole
off durin sleepy night   god an de devil only souls up at dat hour
even if i knows she bout to be sold south   even if i knows she
was leevin   an you did   you so troubled when i talk about leevin
call me a fool   call me cudjo   five years wid you john   yo wife
bout to be sold away   jus cus you free dis don’t worry you none
you laugh   dunno if i’d miss yo laugh if i was in de south tho
thank ya jesus gotta room in philadelphia john   aint big but clean
nuf room for us   some chirren too   yo baby   i aint too old jus yet
jus round thirty-one   i think   make us a home john    one   
where we’s both free   free from de lash’s shadow free like de lord
mean   got dis suit fo ya john   aint nobody worn dese clothes befo
walk proud in dese clothese   dese is free mans cloths

Quraysh Ali Lansana, "long way home" from They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems, published by Third World Press. Copyright © 2004 by Quraysh Ali Lansana.  Reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004)
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long way home

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  • Quraysh Ali Lansana was born in Enid, Oklahoma and earned his MFA from New York University, where he was a Departmental Fellow. He is the author of the poetry collections mystic turf (2012), They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (2004), and Southside Rain (2000); his chapbooks include reluctant minivan (2014), bloodsoil (sooner red) (2009), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005 (2006), and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (1995). He has also written a children’s book, The Big World (1999).
    He is the editor of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill's African American Literature Reader (2001). Other editing projects include the anthologies I Represent (1996) and dream in yourself (1997), both from Chicago's award-winning youth arts employment program, Gallery 37. He is also co-editor of Dream of A Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (2006) and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (2002). Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry,...

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