Thursday, June 06, 2013

Or....... was it? (365 poems, Poem 42)

Bad Morning
by Langston Hughes

Here I sit
With my shoes mismated.
I's frustrated!

What I found most interesting, really,  about this poem, was how simple it was -- seemingly.  If you read any Langston Hughes, you know that his poems are about racial and class divisions, poems designed to read like diatribes that rhyme, and then you come across this poem, and I read it and thought "neat", but then I thought, no, there's go to be more than that and I remembered William Carlos Williams' "Red Wheelbarrow," a poem that is sparse but still paints a picture of a farm and family near the edge of poverty.

So I took another look at this poem, and wondered, could it be about poverty? Could it be a parody of what the upper class (and white) people thought about blacks when Hughes was writing?

Yeah, I think so.

Here's another thing I learned today: before he wrote his first novel, Hughes was supported by a woman for two years who was deemed his "patron," sort of the way rich families would support artists in the Renaissance. It'd be nice if things worked that way, now, wouldn't it? Imagine if Bill Gates would send me a check for $10,000,000 so I could finally finish that short story I'm working on. Instead of having to shill for pennies by posting obvious click-bait like poems by Langston Hughes.  NOTHING gets people on the Internet going to your site like posting a Langston Hughes poem.

Oh, yeah, there's also this, which I throw in to get the snobbish literary elite:

"Name a hot actor," I said to Sweetie.
"Start pulling your weight on this blog," I told her.
"JT Timberlake," she said,
which is not his name.


Pat Dilloway said...

So you're saying I need to post more Langston Hughes poems on my blog? "Invisible Man" was one of those books where we read an excerpt in high school and I went to the library and checked the book out to read the whole thing. I was a little disappointed he wasn't literally an invisible man, but it was a good allegory about race even if I went to a high school that was 99.9% white.

Andrew Leon said...

I like that poem.
Partially because it just slides under the wire of being a poem. Which is cool.

Here I sit.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

Justin Timberlake. So what is his real name? That's a dreamy pic you found sir.

Briane P said...


Did he write "Invisible Man"? I thought that was Ellison. Either way, I never read it.


I finally got one you liked!


They say his real name is "Justin Randall Timberlake." In his latest commercial, they say at one point "Are you ready, JT?" and that got Sweetie calling him JT, and apparently has convinced her now that his name is "JT Timberlake." I never miss an opportunity to show her that I, too, know about show biz, albeit nowhere near her level of smarts. When you are constantly on the losing argument of every debate (i.e., "marriage"), you have to take your victories where you can.

Andrew Leon said...

You've had other ones that I've liked. I don't remember which ones, right now, but there have been.

Graciewilde said...

Okay - now I'm hooked on your stuff. Langston Hughes and William Carlos Williams in the same post - where's Billy Collins? :)