I’ve often lost myself

In the ether or mythos 


Just keep your promise 

And always 

Bring me back to Harlem

You must remember Harlem

That place where we were nothing more than 

Boy and Girl

With fates determined by 

Spin the bottle and red light,  green light,  123

All the while studying hip hop 

Like the hot butter 

Popped the pop lock

We knew the planet rock would never stop


You made Mt. Morris Park feel like Eden

Back where we listened 

To poets


And barbershop scholars 

Who would breathe life from 

La Marqueta back to 125

Back when we danced

Breathlessly and recklessly

As men with no money

Sang songs of the evils of 

Love and tenderness 

To war torn


Who desperately need a break 

From contemplating the blacks and blues 

Of the soles of their shoes

That Harlem,

Where crack vials could not break our stride,

And poor did not matter 

When we played –

We were just happy to be alive.

Shiek O Trivette is a health care professional and writer living in New York City.

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