sylvain cui


Moonlit Harlem - Poem by sylvain cui

This poem was written as a hommage to the Harlem Renaissance which spawned the assertion of identity of african-american people in the United States:

Under the dimly moonlit clouds of Harlem at night
Tipping it's paved edges in the calm water,
Hidden between the night club's frivolous light,
A smokey alley smothered the hollow playing
Of a wan piano man.

Andy Red's playing made skies cry.

In the bar, hidden by the gloomy figure playing,
Next to the piano a little boy stood,
Having passed there his whole childhood
Listening, far from the music, to his father say
How unhappy he was with six dollars of pay.

Still, he would take and spend the few of them,
And his gleaming melodies would echo deep in Harlem.

Andy Red's playing made skies cry.

They'd ride home at dawn in a Jim Crow car,
Cut off from the white people in the bus.
The father would hold the boy tight and gaze far.
Where could that better life be?

Moonlit Harlem held a sad story.

The boy slept and kept his eyes closed,
As closed as he kept them when his father left,
To join in white people's soirees,
To board for Chicago to play in a show,
And spend spend nights in dirty cabarets.

The boy opened them to see
His neighbourhood shout new sounds and colors
To the skies.
He grew on the old stool and played,
With jazz and amazement in his eyes.

Andy Red's playing made skies cry.

Nights and days later, when back to his hometown,
A frumpish old man would hear a sound,
A shallow resonance of a changed past,
In a bright and crowded alley smothering the hardy playing
Of his son Andy grudgingly loved as
The fruition of dreams.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010



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