The Late/Great Khristian E Kay is Alien Buddha Press’ Featured Artist of the month for July 2020



“Khristian E Kay died on 5/29/2020, just days before having the chance to hold a copy of Room 117.

As an artist, and an editor, I am honored to have had the opportunity to work on this heartfelt collection.

Khristian’s passion as a public elementary school teacher in a bad neighborhood shines beautifully in Room 117.


Typically, the feature artist of the month segment is an interview with the honoree, followed by space for them to share some work. Since that is impossible this time around, I would like to share the poem of Khristian’s that stuck with me the most. If was first featured in ‘Psalms of the Alien Buddha’, and then again in Room 117.

So one more time, I present “Mo Mo”, a poem by Khristian E Kay about one of his favorite students.


Mo Mo

Today he tells me he wants to be known as Mo Mo

Last month it was Mar Mar

Before that: Marky Mark (until I showed him

a video of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch)

Mo Mo is a ball of energy about 3 feet tall

always dancing or jumping on the desks

shuffling across the floor in his socks

He makes up raps about things I say to the rest of the class

Embellishing my words to fit his rhymes

“I gonna beat that ass if yo’ don’t have a pass

You need to have a pass / have a pass

I gonna beat yo’ ass if yo’ don’t have a pass

But I ain’t goin’ to jail for that

No ain’t goin’ to jail for that”

Mo Mo’s family sells weed, all of them,

to the locals everybody knows who’s holding

His older married sister handles the drop phones

His mom makes the deals his older brother keeps the bank

Mo Mo and his younger siblings run

interference with the police

since weed is not legal here yet

Mo Mo tells me this as he lays on my desk eating lunch

He prefers to spend his lunch time with me


telling me the benefits of an AK74 over a 47

of the Dracos hidden under the liner of the couch

The safe in his brother’s closet


The men that drink his mother’s liquor as she

makes deal after deal

The men they have to help out of their apartment

The secret passage in the basement to the barbershop next door

where Mo Mo and his siblings smuggle out bags of weed

in their book bags because boys coming out

of a barber shop with their book bags looks legit

Mo Mo tells me he keeps his nine in the wastebasket by his bed.

then bounds Spiderman-like up onto his feet at the corner of my desk

He leaps to the floor dances a shuffle singing

“got my gat gat gat / gonna rat a tat tat


Shoot all these mutherfuckin’ rats with my gat gat gat…”


I tell him to take his tray back to the lunch room he smiles

Picks it up and dances out of the door

 “I’ll be right back back back with my gat gat gat…”




1 thought on “The Late/Great Khristian E Kay is Alien Buddha Press’ Featured Artist of the month for July 2020”

  1. Wow.
    Wish I knew about Kay sooner. I love this poem. Real life stuff. Street smart Mo Mo choose to spend his lunch time with Kay speaks volumes of both their hearts.


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