Harlem Omens


dusk green leaves keep our memories. 
and brownstones still got beef.
NYC sleeps long enough for this little Yoruba cocoa drop
to hijack the dream.
history always repeats this prophecy.
this is omen.
this mind is one of the four horseman.
never learned to ride horses
or pen verses
or stanzas, you know
savage is my native tongue,
least that’s what the Queen say.
But my King say
the Yoruba dialect
and Negro diction
dancing from my diaphragm
is holy,
is the mark of fallen colonies, 
broken English stuffed with the weight of Genesis 1 glory. 

but I’m hungry, so uhhh
let me get some chopped chicken,
or some pork fried rice,
better yet, 
a six-piece combo with crispy thighs, some drumsticks and a biscuit.
not too much honey,
never enough duck sauce--
the food in my hood is to die for.
cry me a praise break for our shops and delis, with cheap, delectable, 
diabetes and cholesterol
on every other block,
and if your heart survives the beating, 

we can sing psalms, beat the late night jukebox,
crack open some ciroc, and call a cab
to get back in time to watch the bullets
pop us all back to sleep,
back into the cracked Harlem concrete,
or into that cool American breeze, 
with the rest of our scattered ancestors. 


Cover Photo by Kyle Sterk on Unsplash