Jon Never Called Me a Friend (Only Family)

A poem for Jonathan Moore by Gabriel Teodros.

Word Sound Power
opened with an Amharic prayer

My Grandmother may never understand rap
but she heard this

You saw us, and we saw you
When that record dropped I felt called to

Nag Champa burning over beat breaks
in the back room, freestyling where I met you

You saw me, I saw you… or I thought

You taught us all how to set the stages we want to rock
My generation didn’t go to church, we went to Sureshot

As an artist, we wanted to get to where you were
And you stopped

We never saw what you saw when you saw us

The doors you opened up and the artists you raised
Your impact was greater than it could’ve been on a stage

Jasiri was courageous
In the collective is strength
There is no success if your people get tossed away

I’ll never forget you prayed in my language
when you showed me hip-hop can be
ceremony, you saw us

Cross continents and oceans
May the drumbeats hold us
with cornbread and ancestors’ pain

I listened, and I saw you
Still listening, I saw you

You would claim me as family even if I fought you