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

Langston Hughes, "Elevator Boy" (1926)

Elevator Boy

I got a job now
Runnin an elevator
In the Dennison Hotel in Jersey,
Job aint no good though.
No money around.
   Jobs are just chances
   Like everything else.
   Maybe a little luck now,
   Maybe not.
   Maybe a good job sometimes:
   Step out o' the barrel, boy.
Two new suits an'
A woman to sleep with.
   Maybe no luck for a long time.
   Only the elevators
   Goin' up an' down,
   Up an' down,
   Or somebody else's shoes
   To shine,
   Or greasy pots in a dirty kitchen.
I been runnin' this
Elevator too long.
Guess I'll quit now.

Published in Fire!! Devoted to the Younger Negro Artists, November 1926

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