Dear Tupac


Dear Tupac

(c. June 28, 1995)

Dear Tupac,
When they arrest you for your words,

Take everyone down with you.

Confess the crimes of all those who came before you

Warn them.

Tell them if you are put down, a literary massacre will ensue.

Excavate Edgar Allan Poe's remains for the disappearance of Mary Rogers.

Lock up the Louvre until every single da Vinci painting is investigated for murder.

Locate Stephen King and watch as every single page of "The Shining," is teared out, see how many people line up outside the court steps

—Anything to convince yourself that they are going after every fucking literary artist and

Not just you.

In 1994, two teens killed a police officer and blamed it on your words, Tupac,

That your rap caused his death.

In 2019, reincarnations of you in the form of other little black boys from poor neighborhoods are still being put on trial for their rhythmic poetry too.

When they arrest you for your words—
Question how they could ever criticize someone for their means of protest,

And not realize that they are, in fact, the cause for your cries—

That this means that they have failed you.

That we do not rap or protest,

because we are tired of being silent,



We protest because they heard us, but failed to recognize our pain as real.

By that, I mean

The only other place in history where someone's accounts have been taken literally is in church.

So, consider your words Divine and Sacred

Allow them to crucify you

Your verses used as nails against you.

And know that once you have risen they will dance off-beat to your words,

Right after they have prosecuted you for them.

By that, I mean

They will want to be you

But not really want to be you.

By that, I mean

This has happened before,

Therefore, this will happen again.

And by this, I mean,

I cannot think of a time in history where my blackness would not be criminalized.

Where a black man's words or whistle or fucking walk would not land him underground—

Your body a walking tombstone.

Poet, painter, writer, country singer, rock and roller. No other artist has ever had their words used against them in a court of law


This is how they will lower you into a grave they have already built for you within your esophagus


When they arrest you for your words,

Cypher for them

Rap about how gun violence is the reason you lost Kato in a driveby last summer

All they will hear is, "Accessory to a crime,"

And the news will not report on this.

And the violence will continue.

And they will continue to arrest you and others like you

Villainize you

Mistake teeth for fangs. Tears for blood.

Screams for howls.

So that when you cry wolf, it will sound like suicide

Your lyrics on paper turned suicide note,

Turned warrant,

Turned cuffs,

Turned muzzle.

Turned noose.

And no one will hear your screams, Tupac.

And that's exactly the point.

Tupac Shakur (1993) | by Dana Lixenberg

Tupac Shakur (1993) | by Dana Lixenberg

This poem was submitted to The Collective by Sabyne Pierre ‘20.