Friday, February 1, 2013

Walks of Life

Langston Hughes. Poet. (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967)

There is the poet from Joplin
who clears out the drunks at last call in Montreal

There is the artist from Cuba
that dives through dumpsters in Greenwich Village

There is the child prodigy from Kansas
stocking the shelves at the supermarket in Key West

There is the singer from Mexico
absently thumbing the racks at the thrift store in Pilsen

There is the child from Compton
who wants nothing more than to be a Laker...or a Clipper

There is the old blues man from Lincoln
busking for change at the subway in New York City

There is the model from Russia
that struggles with a second tongue at night school in Toronto

There is the playwright from Cleveland
trying to make it through another rain-filled day in Seattle

There is the actor from Paris
reciting lines behind a short order grill in Boston

There is the bus driver from Washington
that sings a Broadway tune in middle America

There is the cop from Harlem
with ballet slippers in her lunchbox in New Jersey

There is the waiter from Columbia University
that scribbles a song on a napkin in Nashville

There is the dock worker from Atlanta
who poses in the mirror with every GQ spread in Houston

There is the messenger from Chicago
who rides the waves in Costa Rica

There is the janitor From Pennsylvania
that graduates with tears from the Ivy league

There is the teacher from New Orleans
dreaming of Hollywood nights

There is the frozen corpse in a winters' alley
who thought it would all just pass

These are the possessed and the dispossessed
who pass us by when we step outside our shell


Walks of Life was inspired by the places touched by Langston Hughes and by the author of this poem. Langston Hughes was enshrined in the American Poets' Corner in 1996 along with John Greenleaf Whittier and Ernest Hemingway. The inscription on Langston Hughes stone reads; My soul has grown deep like the rivers.