For Guru (RIP)

we knew your steez
we knew navy blue windbreakers
with super clean Jordans

this was the bay area
electric relaxation hugged the speakers
while my cousin Saidah flat ironed
her long sleek hair
we knew Tribe
we liked them especially
cause Q-Tip was Muslim
like us
or so they said.
we knew halal fried chicken
and Guru’s Boston baritone so foreign
it soothed us

this was the bay area
wasn’t all about gin and juice
it was wind and rhymes
it was Naughty by Nature Hip Hop Hooray!
and me cuttin’ up
at my uncle Rauf’s house
it was Mama said knock you out!
and us slap-boxing
in a make believe ring

it was all that
cool like dat
bay area diggin Digable Planets
cassette tapes on car seats
hijabs and high tops

-nijla © 2010