AfroPoets Famous Writers


in tribute to James P. Johnson & Langston Hughes

New York, you know, has its New Yorks,
Manhattan her Queens, the Bronx
keepers of flames with all their names intact.
Now that's a fact. Upside it, though,
you'll put your heart and everything
you know or thought you knew of snow.

When Snowy Morning Blues plays James P. Johnson's
game of catch-me-if-you-can, you can. He could, too.
New York ain't no last word, you know.
Nothing's what it used to be. And you, the you who sees
out past the end of the world, this snow, this wee wind-
fall he fells us with under eaves the way we all fall
under suspicion in detective movies. Blam!
Blame it on the blues, blame in on a blizzard.

Diamonded, grounded in its ice cream crisscross,
snow makes you take to the country again, harmonica in hand,
craving the guitar of a pianistic You-Gotta-Be-Modernistic
genius - you can't get into this. Let snow tell its own story.
Let the blues roll on. Let snow fall right on time this time
blue, blank, blackening the city-within-a-city christened
in Dutch: Harlem, Haarlem,
Vermeer, beware.

Written by Al Young


Al Young Poets Page