Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poetry Slam Tuesdays: Dreams, Deferred

When I was a freshman at IU, my African American lit course professor read this poem to our class one day when we were studying Langston Hughes, and I'll never forget it. That class wasn't a lecture, it was a show. Every time I read it, I hear his voice.

I hope he's still teaching, and still reading great poems to his students. And I hope they're listening.

Same in Blues
By Langston Hughes

I said to my baby,
Baby, take it slow.
I can't, she said, I can't!
I got to go!

There's a certain
amount of traveling
in a dream deferred.

Lulu said to Leonard,
I want a diamond ring.
Leonard said to Lulu,
You won't get a goddamn thing!

A certain
amount of nothing
in a dream deferred.

Daddy, daddy, daddy,
All I want is you.
You can have me baby—
but my lovin' days is through.

A certain
amount of impotence
in a dream deferred.

Three parties
On my party line—
But that third party,
Lord, ain't mine!

There's liable
to be confusion
in a dream deferred.

From river to river,
Uptown and down,
There's liable to be confusion
when a dream gets kicked around.

For more Tuesday poetry fun, check out today's featured poem at The Writer's Almanac, "Un Bel Di" by Gerald Locklin. It made me freakin' teary eyed earlier. I think I'm a little homesick. But then again, what doesn't make me teary eyed?


  1. Awesome. Best poetry slam selection so far---no offense to Abby, Jim Morrison or Bukowski.

    What is it that the kids tweet? Langston Hughes FTW! (I'm with it)

  2. We read that in our Af-Am Lit class too. What a great one...

    Thanks for the reminder!! I needed that today

  3. Langston Hughes is the shit. You're welcome. :)

    and Jay, enjoy Langston while you can, cause next week I might just go crazy and feature myself again.