The head of Lincoln looks down from the wall
While movies echo dramas on the screen.
The head of Lincoln is serenely tall
Above a crowd of black folk, humble, mean.
The movies end. The lights flash gaily on.
The band down in the pit bursts into jazz.
The crowd applauds a plump brown-skinned bleached blonde
Who sings the troubles every woman has.
She snaps her fingers, slowly shakes her hips,
And cries, all careless-like from reddened lips!
De man I love has
Gone and done me wrong
While girls who wash rich white folks clothes by day
And sleek-haired boys who deal in love for pay
Press hands together, laughing at her song.
I read this beautiful poem this cold and dark morning and wanted to share it, but there's no complete version of it online, so I thought I'd rectify that.
(The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, ed. Arnold Rampersad, Vintage Classics, 1995, 360)