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

Sterling A. Brown, "Long Gone" (1927)


I LAKS yo’ kin' of lovin'
Ain't never caught you wrong
But it jes ain' nachal
Fo’ to stay here long;
It jes ain' nachal
Fo' a railroad man
With a itch fo’ travellin'
He cain't understan'. ...
I looks at de rails
An' I looks at de ties,
An I hears an ole freight
Puffin' up de rise,
An' at nights on my pallet
When all is still
I listens fo' de empties
Bumpin' up de hill;
When I oughta be quiet
I is got a itch
Fo' to hear de whistle blow
Fo’ de crossin', or de switch
An' I knows de time's a nearin'
When I got to ride
Though its homelike and happy
At yo' side.
You is done all you could do
To make me stay
Tain't no fault of yours I'se leavin'--
I'se jes dataway.
I is got to see some people
I ain' never seen
Gotta highball thu some country
Whah I never been....
I don't know which way I'm travellin' —
Far or near,
All I knows fo' certain is
I cain't stay here
Ain't no call at all, sweet woman
Fo' to carry on,---
Jes my name and jes my habit
To be Long Gone....

Published in Caroling Dusk, 1927

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