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Harlem Blues

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Below is the poem entitled Harlem Blues which was written by poet L'nass Shango. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Harlem Blues

It's night now in harlem, time to explore
Snakes are diurnal, rats love their nocturnal
Life, the subway is a swinging door.
A cockroach crawls before it falls
Catalectic between the broken walls.
It's time to pay the rent and feed children
Feeding themselves from a golden arch
Of junk. Sunday's money is gone to heaven
But Sunday's soul is strung out in a park.

The boundaries of black life draw tourists 
From away places, easy to find on Harlem
Streets young girls window shopping closed stores
And vermins that never meets the eyes
When day is bright. Young boys in their pack
Cannot prowl alone, someone must watch the crack
In the wall, the sound of shadowy foot falls
The blind bullet speeding towards a sighless back.

She comes click clacking through the door,
A stilletto shaft of light on the puddle of gore
Why are all her children dead so young?
What happen to black boys in their dreams
To belong? Sisters, be strong, keep the veins
On idle from the needle punctuating
The decisions of a real sinister man. Sisters, I hear
In the blues, thin pointed, small stilletto shoes
Walking through cold, papers blowing the evening news
Across the tangled sounds of aimless feet.

A scrawny, melodramatic light, shines 
Where the streets lamps dispossessed of bulbs
Points to the origin of the curling incense 
A sweet cat reads children  fairy tales 
On a carpet that will not fly.
We have a new president
Looking like Malcolm talking like King
But since sister Tubman left us
The genii blew out the lamp
Who is circling the wagon, who is pulling camp?

This north is still far from promiseland
The only thing not found on the ground 
In Harlem is cotton,
It is too white for self inflicted wounds.
Cotton burns,  it would burn in the night.
We who plant it has none of its delights.
Pour me a pint of blues, give me light
My sorrow drives the economy,
If I die what pall will bear testimony
To the wreaths of wind shivering inthe empty space
Of the shuttered mall.

Read fairy tales Harriet, meant well but went the wrong way
Pinkerton did not stop her, hope decentralizes the wealth
But Marcus, O Marcus was a different thing
They had to prison him. He knew the way to go
Flip flapping wind sail and no stilletto toe
Could carry this burden across so much salt of water
Through these hypertensions of night. Cry for Marcus
To come from his whirlwind, a hollow laughter echoes here.

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  1. Date: 2/8/2011 3:06:00 PM
    Please enter this in my free verse contest! Light & Love [ps if you are David Smalling how naughty to trick me ;)]

  1. Date: 3/13/2009 7:59:00 AM
    The image of the woman whose children are dead made me cry, Shango. This is an absolutely brilliant reflection of the lives and challenges faced by those who live in Harlem. The character of Marcus truly comes alive. WOW is about all I can say! Great work! Love, Carolyn

  1. Date: 3/13/2009 4:28:00 AM
    This is incredible writing my talented friend.. I hope I can call you friend.. your writing is outstanding.. love the flow of the piece and the message is very clear...love the Marcus reference.. good work.