Harlem Palimpsest - What Is Seen And Overheard At Six A.M., West 142nd Street, August 1984
for Wonsook Kim
1: writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
2: something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface
Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsē stos scraped again,
from palin + psē n to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psā ti, babhasti
'Oye! Garcia Lorca who chews still
Harlem's the better for your shade
once and still there'
lean out windows
old clothes lines,
'What's will when
the window slams shut?
Just old cake thrown on the street
Purple flower boxes
sweet soap smells
on top steps
wet shoes full of wind
'Just catching a cool breeze is all.
Street don't belong to me...'
'She may be crazy but she's polite.
She puts her hand over her mouth
when she coughs...'
'Don't be flattered a
breeze blows in your window
Run! Run like hell'
Keep offa my clean floor
Lay outta my porcelain sink
Ya hear me? !
That mirror's not gonna change your face
What is read:
'After so very many years, it's pointless to
look back on it.
Give this looking back a rest!
A clear breeze the world over
-what limit could it have? '
- Setcho, zen master & poet
What is written in response:
In ice streaks upward
here's breath for you
even this ink on paper
this flesh on mind
this writing on air
Why try be happy/sad?
don't affect it
disinfect your mind
Who's somebody's darlin'?
Jus' time and
gism taken on flesh
dead soon enough
so pace yourself
You've run backward too long
Don't want it
as does the
Warren Falcon's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Harlem Palimpsest - What Is Seen And Overheard At Six A.M., West 142nd Street, August 1984 by Warren Falcon )
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