By Cyrus Cassells (as Maceo Hartnell)

From Fall 2017

       When sundown coppers
       the flapper’s cloche,
       awakens the speakeasies,
       and a cat-tongued jazz
       licks the ear,
       when bodacious lovers pounce
       on thrilling mistletoe    
       as catnip to elope
       and the ebullient clarinet agrees,  
       brisk snowflakes, 
       elating as wedding rice
       blemish the jazzman’s spats,   
       and buttoned-up Harlem acquires  
       a jump-the-broom beauty.

       Snow-dusted carolers assemble
       to joust with the enticing jazz.
       This cold solstice 
       the longed-for messiah is born
       as a latch-key child,
       and the bootblack doubles   
       as his mindful drummer boy,
       while under the hope-inducing star,
       eclipsed by a belittling skyscraper,
       the agile bell-hop, 
       the fleet brownstone janitor,  
       the Johnny-on-the-spot porter 
       are vehemently declared, 
       by a wailing alto sax,  
       the three able magi of Harlem.