Vox Populi

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Kareem Tayyar: James Baldwin

I try to imagine you on a night when the moon is full.

When the woman you are with did not have to leave the house before you.

When the elevated train sounds like the rhythm of an epic poem.


It’s easy to do.

Easier, at least, than I had thought it would be.


You are as beautiful as a lover in one of Shakespeare’s romances.

In each of your palms is an unwritten sonnet to Harlem.


Medgar hasn’t been murdered yet.

Malcolm hasn’t been to Mecca yet.


Martin is writing in his study,

Listening to a Mahalia Jackson record.


Somewhere Sonny is teaching himself to play the piano.

Somewhere Giovanni is looking at himself in the mirror.

Somewhere the child that you once were is looking up at the stars

And discovering they are brighter than he had thought they would be.


I leave you as you escort your date into a flower garden in Central Park.

A Ray Charles love song is playing in your head.

It’s Autumn, but it feels like Spring.


Copyright 2017 Kareem Tayyar

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