Langston Hughes in Paris

LUMUMBA LOUIS ARMSTRONG
PATRICE AND PATTI PAGE
HAMUBURGERS PEPSI-COLA
KING COLE JUKEBOX PAYOLA
IN THE QUARTER OF THE NEGROES
GOD WILLING DROP A SHILLING
FORT DE FRANCE, PLACE PIGALLE
VINGT FRANCS NICKEL DIME
BAHIA LAGOS DAKAR LENOX
KINGSTON TOO GOD WILLING
A QUARTER OR A SHILLING. PARIS—
AT THE DOME VINGT FRANCS WILL DO
ROTONDE SELECT DUPONT FLORE
TALL BLACK STUDENT
IN HORN-RIM GLASSES
WHO AT THE SORBONNE HAS SIX CLASSES,
IN THE SHADOW OF THE CLUNY
CONJURES UNICORN,
SPEAKS ENGLISH FRENCH SWAHILI
HAS ALMOST FORGOTTEN NEALIE.
BUT WHY RIDE ON MULE OR DONKEY
WHEN THERE’S A UNICORN?
NIGHT IN A SÉKOU TOURÉ CAP
DRESSED LIKE A TEDDY BOY
BLOTS COLORS OFF THE MAP.
PERHAPS IF IT BE GOD’S WILL
AZIKIWE’S SON, AMEKA,
SHAKES HANDS WITH EMMETT TILL.

—Langston Hughes, ASK YOUR MAMA

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