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
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
You are the hot & daring
Thighs of NYC. The bop & swing
& even these dark nights that lean into
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
There's more where that came from!