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Harlem Postcards

Christopher Zimmerman

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I.
Palm Sunday

(Amsterdam Avenue at 142nd Street)

High noon, and an azure sky,
waving branches, a festive crowd;
the shimmer of heat and springtime silk.
(Tomorrow, of course, the forgotten fronds
will be swept together, bagged, and burned.
One day’s enough for praise – and besides,
the city streets have to be kept clean.)

Tossing Pots

II.
Via Crucis

(Central Park West at 110th Street)

Good Friday, and the endless rain
is streaming down the wet black face
of the rocks that tower above the park.
Rain, and red-flecked crabapple petals:
tears from a thorn crown, dropping like blood.
Rain, drip-dropping in the echoing cave
of the crowded subway, where a man stands tall.
He’s regal, despite the harried mob.
“Jesus is coming!” he cries with fervor.
“Jesus is coming! Are you ready?”

Sewer Color Reflections

III.
Easter Morning

(Morningside Avenue at 127th Street)

Here comes the sun, to light the alleys,
to flood each lonely garret and caress each stiffened limb.
Here comes the sun, to search out the dejected,
to warm the huddled drunk and make the panhandler sing.
Here comes the Son, to satisfy the hungry,
to mend the broken spirit, and lift the gravest sin.

Fifth Avenue Crowds

 

 


Photography by Dave Beckerman, beckermanphoto.com.

Contributed By Christopher Zimmerman

edits books for Plough and is a former resident of Harlem.

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