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Dear Tupac Shakur,
Reading your book of poems, The Rose that Grew From Concrete, is like reading my deepest thoughts and truest feelings. It is as though you reached into your own heart and brought all the feelings out onto paper. Only great writers are not hesitant to write the truth, and that is exactly what you wrote. I can relate to almost every word you wrote about love, peace, freedom, and pain. Your book is compressed with honesty and is like a guide compressed with the ultimate truth of life that people can refer to every time they feel they cannot find their way.
When I read your poem, "Sometimes I Cry," I felt like all the questions I had about why I feel so alone sometimes were answered in that poem. I cry sometimes too because I feel lost and confused. You are right when you say it is rare to find someone who will stop and help another carry on. Friends that will stop and listen are truly significant but many times impossible to find. But after reading your poem "God," you reminded me that God is always there to listen to me when no one else cares. Sometimes when I get tired of my life, I feel like closing my eyes and sleeping forever. Reading your poems taught me to have enough strength to survive for a better day.
I have become annoyed with so many circumstances in my life. Seeing how desperate you were in finding meaning to your own life and trying to figure out exactly what you were searching for, reminded me of myself. I know that many people feel the same way as I do, but no one is confident enough to share their pain with others. I cried while reading your poems. I cried because I felt like someone finally understood me. But remembering you have passed away, made by cry out of joy as well as sorrow.
When I read "Love Is Just Complicated," all my mind could think was "It is." You remind me of a guy I know. I think I love him. His heart is pure. I can tell it is from the way he is always so open and is never scared to talk about life and what he thinks of it. He says he had nothing to offer me, but that does not matter. I think true friendship and being able to talk to someone opening is the most valuable ting in life most valuable thing in life. When I got to your poem "what Can I Offer Her?" I was shocked because my friend felt just like you. I never did understand what he wrote about was beautiful and you felt you had nothing to offer her, I think you could have given her so much. You have strength shining through your every thought, and you may have been what she was searching for in her life. She might have been your answer for your poem "What Is It That I Search 4."
Maybe the thing so many people search for their whole lives so anxiously is someone who understands them and they can connect with. I am fortunate to have friends that understand me completely. I know you did too because of your poem, "Nothing Can Come Between Us." I feel the same way about all my real friends. The friends I have, I love. No one else matters. I respect everyone though and deserve the same respect in return just like you. I am often called arrogant or a snob because when people say things to me, I am not affected. Why should I be affected? I used to think I just had a really high self esteem issue, but that is, not it.
After reading your poem, "When Your Heart Turns Cold," I thought that my heart was going to turn cold because I stopped caring about everything including myself. But I do not want my life to be free of any emotions. So I actually sat there and tried to understand what was happening to me. I was relieved to discover it is not because I have a cold heart. I am not affected by those things because I know they are not true. Opinions people have of me still do not affect me because I know they do not know the real me. Only my true friends know who I really am. I have a hard time opening up to people I feel will never understand me. Friendship cannot be forced. It should just happen naturally. In a way you helped me understand myself better. I was always too scared to just sit down one day and examine all my feelings to know what they really meant, until I read your poems.
You express your hatred for prejudiced people and racist societies so well. Racism is the worst form of hatred. It was sweet how you wrote a poem for Mrs. Hawkins after her soon, Yusef, lost his life to a racist society. No one deserves to die because of ignorance.
It is sad that you knew you would die before your time because you could already feel the shadow's depth. I hope I do not relate to that poem of yours anytime soon because I also want to accomplish a lot before I reach my death. Thank you for understanding and writing poems deep enough to convince me never to give up on my life.
Elsik High School
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)