Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay (1890–1948)
I HEAR the halting footsteps of a lass
In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
Eager to heed desire’s insistent call:
Ah, little dark girls, who in slippered feet
Go prowling through the night from street to street.
Through the long night until the silver break
Of day the little gray feet know no rest,
Through the lone night until the last snow-flake
Has dropped from heaven upon the earth’s white breast,
The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.
Ah, stern harsh world, that in the wretched way
Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace,
Has pushed the timid little feet of clay.
The sacred brown feet of my fallen race!
Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
In Harlem wandering from street to street.
“I’m the whirling dervish of Queens, spinning around and around, arms flapping, my father’s boxing gloves like cinder blocks strapped to my seven-year-old hands.”
~ The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy
“The police decided to enter the flat, but rather than break down the door they called a locksmith, figuring that a few minutes either way were unlikely to make a difference.”
~ The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason
La Vie C’est la Vie by Jessie Fauset
ON summer afternoons I sit
Quiescent by you in the park,
And idly watch the sunbeams gild
And tint the ash-trees’ bark.
Or else I watch the squirrels frisk
And chaffer in the grassy lane;
And all the while I mark your voice
Breaking with love and pain.
I know a woman who would give
Her chance of heaven to take my place;
To see the love-light in your eyes,
The love-glow on your face!
And there’s a man whose lightest word
Can set my chilly blood afire;
Fulfilment of his least behest
Defines my life’s desire.
But he will none of me,
Nor I Of you. Nor you of her. ’Tis said
The world is full of jests like these.—
I wish that I were dead.
“Dearest Tess, I’d do anything to be with you, right now, right this moment, so I could hold your hand, look at your face, listen to your voice.”
~Sister by Rosamund Lupton
Bliss Carman. 26. Daisies
OVER the shoulders and slopes of the dune
I saw the white daisies go down to the sea,
A host in the sunshine, an army in June,
The people God sends us to set our hearts free.
The bobolinks rallied them up from the dell,
The orioles whistled them out of the wood;
And all of their singing was, “Earth, it is well!”
And all of their dancing was, “Life, thou art good!”
“Like many later visitors to New York, the first European settlers made their way to the Bowery.”
~ The Bowery: the Strange History of New York’s Oldest Street by Stephen Paul DeVillo
“When Salma peers into her daughter’s coffee cup, she knows instantly she must lie.”
~ Salt Houses by Hala Alyan