New York Trippin’

I. On Broadway

Our tour bus rolled into Manhattan
and through the narrow, bustling streets
of Broadway,
Right on schedule
for us
to disembark and stand
on-line to see
“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,”
The story of the
Temp-Tay-shuns!

Waiting for the theatre doors
to open,
my aunt and I lamented,
“This may be my last trip to New York.
The thrill is gone.
Too many people,
Too much traffic.
Like ant trails.”

We had to open our purses
and let the doorman
poke a wand in them
before we could even enter
The Lobby.

Once inside,
I looked at my
five foot one
reflection
in the mirror-wall
and told the lady behind me,
“I’m really shrinking!”
She replied,
“Yeah, I used to be five foot eight,
But I’ve lost an inch.”

I laughed.
But that didn’t stop her from
invading my space—
the pointy edge of her
large shoulder bag kept
hitting me in my back
as I tried to stand taller
and look like the grownup
I knew I was.

Our line moved forward,
two steps at a time,
until the ticket takers scanned
our “passports to the theatre”
and directed our climb up the stairs
to the small, narrow seats
in the upper rows of the Mezzanine.

Before the lights went down,
but after many folks had taken
their obligatory selfies,
we were instructed to
Turn off All cellphones.
Recording devices of any kind
Are prohibited.

“And now, on with the show!”

II. Harlem 2019

The World-Famous Apollo Theatre
looked as small as my earlier
mirror reflection had,
as we rode the bus to our
next destination.

Then, standing outside

S ⃝

y ⃝

l ⃝

v ⃝

i ⃝

a ⃝

s ⃝

Restaurant,

Waiting for the bus
to take us back home
to Baltimore,

a Band of Black Folk
in colorful African garb,
some waving
The Black Liberation Flag,
others chanting and drumming
The Beat,
Marched
Down the middle of
Malcolm X Boulevard

With NYPD
street cops and patrol cars
bringing up the rear.

On the sidewalks, passersby
Never dropped their own beats,
bopping along
on their Saturday trips
to the market and back.

Kids zig-zagging
around them
on scooters and bikes
with no fear,
causing no alarm,
no harm.

Couples of every shade
and stripe,
sashayed by,
slipping into bistros
for their dates.

Old ladies with attitude (OLWA)
pushed their carts home,
their purses strapped
jauntily across their chests.

III. Heading Home

Back on the bus,
I nodded my approval of
my girlfriend’s
newly bought
Sassy Straw Hat
beautifully adorning her head
and framing her face

as we reclined
in our seats
for the long ride
home.


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