Harlem (pt 2)
“Do you know what it would mean if we lost Harlem?”
President Obama was frantic on the phone.
We lost Harlem anyway;
a second term in the sunlight
could not stop the watchful Golden Eyes of Mitt Romney.
Harlem was safe in the realm of its art
Not the rebellious Harlem of yoreThe one of freaky jazz and women dancing
On tables in the templates of fine loft restaurants.
It was a far cry from the rudimentary Harlems of yore.
It was thousands of fierce eyes preparing for battle.
Do you know what a battle could be?
On these streets illuminated by glowing neon signs
An electric flash can rapidly illuminate the silhouette of a street fighter.
The hulking silhouettes
Of villains heading home for the night.
There was a casino-like air to these apartments
As thin as shotgun houses but decked out in red velvet.
They were thick with the smell of cigarettes
And the sound of Ragtime.
- Daniel Bromfield