Warren Falcon

Bronze Star - 2,372 Points (04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

Harlem Palimpsest - What Is Seen And Overheard At Six A.M., West 142nd Street, August 1984 - Poem by Warren Falcon

for Wonsook Kim

Palimpsest =

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
he chews

'Oye! Garcia Lorca who chews still
Harlem's the better for your shade
once and still there'

Old women

lean out windows

swaying between

backyard buildings

old clothes lines,

gray string



'What's will when

the window slams shut?

Just old cake thrown on the street

Purple flower boxes

woman's hands

folding letters

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'

Shouts overhead:

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

play possum

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

dirty river




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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 7, 2010

Poem Edited: Monday, September 6, 2010

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