Aubade in the Inner City: 1973

I lay awake and watched the twinkling of light come
twirling past the dirty glass of the window, and witnessed
how it danced across the complexion of your skin.

I always noticed how perfect your afro looks in
the morning's rays. The swirl of curls, upon curls—crawling
on top of one another, circulating and perfecting a style carved
and chiseled by the teeth of wooden picks.

The affirmations of the ghetto became our morning
lullabies—our jazz instrumentals, our rhythmic
saxophone tunes, our pounding heart blues,

our peace—which are then disrupted by the wailing
tongues of apparitions from across the street,
dangling malt liquor between their fingers—
lurking in the cracks of Harlem's sidewalks
and in the soles of sneakers hanging from street lights.

The spellbound voices of The Delfonics smooth taunting
tongues, can't mute the sounds of wailers screeching
through the sea of project windows. Even among the

smell of opened johnny pumps seeping through from outside,
and the scent of chicken cooking in lard from the kitchen; and
the smell of old sweat from the night before; I still caught

a whiff of beauty lingering in the air—the smell
of black castor oil, black ginger, black vanilla conditioner,
freshly applied cocoa butter and peace—smothered
in the smoke of the incense, I had burned, before watching you leave.

Raki Jordan

Raki Jordan is a writer and poet from New York City, currently studying Writing and Literature. He often writes about subjects he believes are not receiving enough recognition. His works have also been published in multiple magazines and journals.


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