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sugar hill solstice

Mike Veve


on sugar hill, not calvary

comes december’s crown of ashes

a solstice sunrise over the scarred trunks

and shaddai beseeching branches of the trees lining 145th street

the bloodied sunrise struggles westward

lifting its lit-up golgotha skull, seeking the horizon


harlem’s december sun washes its feet in the waters

beyond the harlem river

before ascending the elohim bean pie sweetness of sugar hill


the solstice sun’s pleading eyes, adonai adonai

the fingertip blood-prick of sugar hill

casting bleak hues up blocks lined with streetlamp markers

and abandoned emaciated bike frames in chains


towards ominous broadway and its harlem haShem harbingers

along sunrise sidewalks that huddle

refusing to show their bruised faces to dawn

past the rigor-rictus of an onyx cat

its mouth spitting frozen scarlet rubies

like jehovah’s warnings bitten off at the whisker

its cat’s paw just a taut claw away from the curb


stumbling december sun of harlem, autumn’s orphan sun

numb feet stumbling station to station in sleepwalk steps

blindly along pitted and scarred concrete sidewalk slabs

sunrise strides jarred up in sarcophagus boots

rolling the stone of night away in sepulchre shoes

dragging those undreamt early morning steps like a cross

up that same old way every day Yahweh up that tired hill


up sugar hill, not calvary

harlem’s winter sun is slowly nailed up over the hudson river

for the merest moments of elohim’s briefest day

before laying its smeared december shield

down by the riverside

to study warmth no more

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