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

Langston Hughes, "Railroad Avenue" (1926)

Railroad Avenue

Dusk dark
On Railroad Avenue.
Lights in the fish joints,
Lights in the pool rooms.
A box car some train
Has forgotten
In the middle of the block.
A player piano,
A victrola .
   Was the number.
A boy
Lounging on the corner.
A passing girl
With purple powdered skin.
   Like a taut drum.
   Neither truth nor lie.
Hardening the dusk dark evening.
Shaking the lights in the fish joints,
Rolling white balls in the pool rooms,
And leaving untouched the box car
Some train has forgotten.

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

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