Purchase Issue 4

Purchase Issue 4


Hanif Abdurraqib

The Ghost Of Marvin Gaye Stands Over His Father’s Grave And Forgets To Ask For An Apology

They ain’t make a religion yet that lets you trade in mercy for more sins. Can you believe the boys these days. They open their mouths & a machine holds their voice. In a balled fist. They ain’t even dancing no more, pop. There ain’t nothing out there for someone lonely to look at & dream about in a corner of a cold bed. I told ’em the belt buckle’s echo along a brick wall was how I learned the mercy of silence. Look at me now. All I got to call my own is quiet. Ain’t no forgiveness for men like us. Ain’t no god in any architecture where we goin’. Only difference between purgatory and hell is whether or not you can see your reflection in the fire, baby and I’m good with what I ain’t got. Wouldn’t know what to do if I could look myself in the eye. I guess I’m saying thank you for opening the door to this eternity. I wasn’t gonna be out here digging a hole for any child I brought into this world. I wasn’t ever trynna bury nothin’ by my own self. I sang that shit that could get somebody free. The women all threw roses at my feet in California until the roses looked like chains.




Hanif Abdurraqib's "The Ghost Of Marvin Gaye Stands Over His Father’s Grave And Forgets To Ask For An Apology" and "MAN IT’S SO HARD NOT TO ACT RECKLESS" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 4.



Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus,
Ohio. His first collection of poems, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released
in 2016 and was nominated for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first
collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in
fall 2017 by Two Dollar Radio.