Monday, May 7, 2007

the sun was made for us

The sun was made for us. For our walking briskly across Harlem.

Instead, it was me. You were in the office; I was walking briskly across Harlem.

I felt such a zest, fuelled by the sun, by the joy of the movements of the people. Kids out of school crowded the sidewalks, a sea of black coats, team logos, and backpacks. They charged one another around fire hydrants, they turned their heads at rumors and repeated them, they face one another down in a war of insults, supporters behind each one.

Their talk was rich and strange.

African women leaned against the glass of a front window, peering out at sidewalk life from their braiding salon. Men stood behind tables of incense – “money,” or “Abyssinia” -- and books – The Glories of Ancient Egypt, or Booty-full African Queens. A little girl holds her mother’s hand, a sticker on her forehead. A woman with a colorful headcloth, jeans, and winter coat, a tatooed mark on her forehead from such a long ways away. A place where poor folk put old magazines and shoes on the sidewalk for sale: “jugs,” with covers of women with huge breasts.

Only minutes later most of that life that sparked me is gone, emptied out of me. The man on the seat next to me nods forward, asleep, book clasped against his belly. The train is hushed, a church of work. The sun still shines for me – and for you, there in your office.

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