African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Frank Horne, "Harlem" (1928)


By Frank Horne

The Black Minstrel Sings :—
You Ain’t been there, brother?
Don’t tell me so!
“...Tell ’im ‘bout it...tell ‘im bout it…”
Han’ me ma sax
An’ lemme go
‘Taint nothin’ to ‘im
Lemme tell ’im so—
Han’ me ma sax
An’ lemme go...
Black, black Harlem
Boody...see hootchiepep
Hootchiepep...See boody—
...I'll sing ’im ’bout it—

Black, black Harlem
N*****s, Jigs an’ shiney spades
Highbrowns, yallers, fagingy-fagades
“ …Oh say it, brother
Say it...”
Pullman porters, shipping clerks an’ monkey chasers
Actors, lawyers, Black Jews an’ fairies
Ofays, pimps, low-downs an’ dicties
Cabarets, gin an’ number tickets
All mixed in
With gangs o’churches—
Sugar-foot misters an’ sun-dodgin’ sisters
Don’t get up
Till other folks long in bed...
“Say it, brother
Say it...”
My gal’s
A Sealskin brown
Hot lips
And sweet, O God!
Uh... huh,
But ma gal’s
A white gal
Das’ all…

Black, black Harlem
Souls of Black Folk
Ask Du Bois
Little grey restless feet
Ask Claude McKay
City of Refuge
Ask Rudolph Fisher
Don’t damn your body’s itch
Ask Countee Cullen
Does the jazz band sob?
Ask Langston Hughes
Nigger Heaven
Ask Carl Van Vechten
Sing ’im "bout it
“ ...Say it, brother
Say it…”

Published in The Crisis, June 1928

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