Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Papine Corner

WHEN you want to meet a frien',
   Ride up to Papine,
Where dere's people to no en',
   Old, young, fat an' lean:
When you want nice gals fe court
   An' to feel jus' booze',
Go'p to Papine as a sport
   Dress' in ge'man clo'es.
When you want to be jus' broke,
   Ride up wid your chum,
Buy de best cigars to smoke
   An' Finzi old rum:
Stagger roun' de sort o' square
   On to Fong Kin bar ;
Keep as much strengt' dat can bear
   You do'n in de car.
When you want know Sunday bright,
   Tek a run up deh
When 'bout eight o'clock at night
   Things are extra gay :
Ef you want to see it cram',
   Wait tell night is dark,
An' beneat' your breat' you'll damn
   Coney Island Park.
When you want see gals look fine,
   You mus' go up dere,
An' you'll see them drinkin' wine
   An' all sorts o' beer :
There you'll see them walkin' out,
   Each wid a young man,
Watch them strollin' all about,
   Flirtin' all dem can.
When you want hear coarsest jokes
   Passin' rude an' vile,
Want to see de Kingston blokes,
   Go up dere awhile:
When you want hear murderin'
   On de piano,
An' all sorts o' drunken din,
   Papine you mus' go.
Ef you want lost policeman,
   Go dere Sunday night,
Where you'll see them, every one
   Lookin' smart an' bright :
Policeman of every rank,
   Rural ones an' all,
In de bar or on de bank,
   Each one in them sail.
Policeman dat's in his beat,
   Policeman widout,
Policeman wid him gold teet'
   Shinin' in him mout';
Policeman in uniform
   Made of English blue,
P'liceman gettin' rather warm,
   Sleuth policeman too.
Policeman on plain clo'es pass,
Also dismissed ones;
See them standin' in a mass,
Talkin' 'bout them plans:
Policeman "struck off de strengt'
Physical unfit,"
Hear them chattin' dere at lengt'
'Bout a diffran' kit.
When you want meet a surprise,
   Tek de Papine track;
Dere some things will meet you' eyes
   Mek you tu'n you' back:
When you want to see mankind
   Of "class" family
In a way degra' them mind,
   Go 'p deh, you will see.

When you want a pleasant drive,
   Tek Hope Gardens line;
I can tell you, man alive,
   It is jolly fine:
Ef you want to feel de fun,
   You mus' only wait
Until when you're comin' do'n
   An' de tram is late. 

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