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Ghazal: For August in Philadelphia

by Clarence Wright

A blazing inferno, burns bright, in this city
A break from the darkness of night, in this city

Impromptu block party with no city permit
Celebration goes on in spite, in this city

Cars blocking each corner, a stereo, a grill
But the moon bounce is the highlight, in this city

Corner store cheesesteak with a fifty-cent soda
A Day's lemon lime never Sprite, in this city

Water plug unleashed on a scorching August day
The fast-flowing rapids of white, in this city

A bird sings, perched on the blocks' last remaining tree
Prepared for a solitary flight, in this city

Hidden soundtrack for summer, louder than sirens
Cicadas remain out of sight, in this city

Sundresses matching butterfly’s apricot wings
Vibrant native colors shine bright, in this city

We stay lookin' fly, facade of fresh clipped edges
Barbershop stays open all night, in this city

Natural beauty salons, free of all burnt ends
Twists, locks and braids woven tight, in this city

Row houses rub shoulders, intertwined lives within,
Hear neighbors make love, hear them fight, in this city

Block by block a new story, some best left unread
Explosions ready to ignite, in this city

Walk straight past that house, like you don't know what's inside
A roadmap of land mines in the blight of this city

The beauty and malice sustaining each other
Masochistic tension stretched tight, in this city

A complicated love affair, drawn to her scars
A match made for life, Mr. Wright, in this city


Read all work by Clarence Wright


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