Somethin' 'Bout Cha, Harlem...

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I wrote most of this poem over 15 years ago. It sat inside a box, while Harlem & the rest of the world changed. Just recently, I dusted off the cobwebs & finished it.

 
 
On slow Sundays in the high noon 
Flaunt of summer, when
Church ladies & fancy Sistas
Sashay down the Avenue, I see
Something so cool, so grand in you. 
For me, you are as colorful 
As a golden feather inside
Josephine Baker's 
Décolletage... OH!
 
My God!  You can be so 
Beautiful sometimes, Harlem!
 
You are the ghost of dashikis &
Woolly afros.  You are
The gentrified strut of Yuppies in
Their Wall Street clothes.
 
And still, when I sing you inside my mind, it is filtered 
Thru jaded riffs of jukebox Hip hop,
Strong doses of jazz
& old  R & B utterances of 
Love.  I still see 
Reality... where others perceive terror...
And I still hear music... while others  detect
SCREAMS! 
 
You are the hot & daring
Thighs of NYC.  The bop & swing
& even these dark nights that lean into
The Blues...
 
And though sometimes you 
Trip & fall  into foolish rhythms, 
In my heart, I believe in this eternal 
Dancer in you, who
Dances through these 
Inner city quicksand shoes...
 
There's just somethin' bout cha, Harlem
Something in your style 
How you make survival, so pimpish
So grand &
Cool... in spite of your 
Vile & rakish taboo.
 
 
By L.M. Ross
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