A long lean room
bound by an unclad red brick wall
and a smoothly painted plaster board
wall with hanging art and plants
and advertising coffee and food,
was a short step of relief
off the broad street and footpaths.
The summer sun and humidity
climbed with the circuitous
walk through the panhandlers
and the fast movers out of the 125
subway stop to the Markus Garvey park,
up the small hill and back
to the Malcolm X boulevard
towards Central Park.
The crowd thinned to a
few retailers sitting under
In Il Caffe Latte pairs of white people
took coffee and brunch.
Two black women ran the kitchen.
A young white man served patrons.
Jazz played quietly thru speakers –
Miles, Coleman and others.
A black man came in, ordered coffee to go.
I wondered if he was busy
or whether I / we left a bad impression.
A white young yuppie type
came in, ordered coffees and
He had ginger hair.
I didn’t care what he thought.
Down the road
outside Harlem Coffee Co,
two young black yuppie types
stretched their legs at the sidewalk
table, drinking lattes at ease.