Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Lincoln Theatre", by Langston Hughes

Lincoln Theatre
Langston Hughes

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)

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