Dear Pac

by Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Your hologram makes me sad. I watched you rap and dance with one hand in the dark next to Snoop over and over again when I should have been grading student papers or feeding myself or answering my phone. It was like watching a ghost that we all agreed was a ghost and it was okay to believe this just for four and a half minutes. Truthfully, I don’t know that I’m qualified to be writing this. I don’t have all your albums, but if I had to pick between you and Biggie, I would pick you (even though I’m from the East Coast). I like how your eyelashes always look crimped. I like them so much that I went to see Poetic Justice in the theatre opening night. I was sixteen. I thought that I might have loved you that night. But not like I love you now. It’s complicated because I’m one of the people who thinks Elvis and Jim Morrison are still alive and you too. Does that make me a romantic? Why can we can’t let you three go? You’re the toughest to let go and the youngest. You would think that since I’m not convinced you ever really died that your hologram wouldn’t haunt me the way it has. But it does. I told people I knew the day it came out and a few days after that it made me cry. I think they mistook my sadness for how humans are misusing technology. That’s not what I meant. I mean that you weren’t real that night and that if I had been there in California, I would have flung myself onto the stage and covered your young and bare chest. I would have given you a glass of water. I would have told you come with me. You can haunt wherever you want. You don’t have to stand here and disintegrate into bullshit stars made of pixels. No one will shake you from your present again. But you won’t respond. Your twenty-five-year-old hands not as worn as mine, ten years older, keep rising to the beat of the music. Your hologram mouth keeps going. The applause echoes there in the desert again and again.

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of the chapbooks Weed Over Flower, What Her Hair Says About Her, Dressing the Throat Plate, and Avoid Disaster (forthcoming). Recent prose has appeared in The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review, and South Loop Review. She is Atlanta Regional Editor for Coldfront Magazine and is co-founding editor of The Night Outside and Josephine Quarterly. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

Besides Pac, with whom else would you like to have a correspondence? What would you say?

    I have trouble choosing just one person who I’d like to be pen pals with, so I chose one dead person and one living person. First, I would like to have correspondence with Frida Kahlo’s ghost. I’ve read Kahlo’s letters and diary entries and would want to know what her ghost has to say now that Frida isn’t suffering so much and living so much. My living pen pal would be Mary Ruefle. Her work feels so intimate already, so it would be interesting to see what she would say in a letter. I would cross my fingers that she’d send me an erasure or two as part of our correspondence.
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