Posts Tagged ‘Langston Hughes’

Langston Hughes Month: “Dinner Guest: Me”

June 3, 2010

Girls like a boy who reads. Is that Russian?

I know I am
The Negro Problem
Being wined and dined,
Answering the usual questions
That come to white mind
Which seeks demurely
To Probe in polite way
The why and wherewithal
Of darkness U.S.A.–
Wondering how things got this way
In current democratic night,
Murmuring gently
Over fraises du bois,
“I’m so ashamed of being white.”

Langston Hughes and Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart), 1962.

The lobster is delicious,
The wine divine,
And center of attention
At the damask table, mine.
To be a Problem on
Park Avenue at eight
Is not so bad.
Solutions to the Problem,
Of course, wait.

(Langston Hughes, “Dinner Guest: Me.”)

Langston Hughes and small friends at the Children’s Garden in Harlem, 1955.

When I first read that poem while loosely planning Langston Hughes Month, it made me think of the chapter in Invisible Man where Ellison’s narrator encounters the gay son of a man who he thinks will give him a job in the city, but in fact, the man has been instructed to reject the narrator. The man’s son tells the narrator the truth, then attempts to compare his own experiences as an oppressed homosexual with the narrator’s. The comparison comes off cheap and condescending in the man’s son’s delivery, and the narrator does not trust him. I feel like that’s somewhat of the same experience Hughes describes here.

Langston Hughes Month: “Songs”

May 28, 2010

“November Under Light.” Sam Haskins, November Girl (1966).

I sat there singing her
Songs in the dark.

She said,
“I do not understand
The words.”

I said,
“There are
No words.”

— Langston Hughes, “Songs.”

A beautiful and true sentiment.

Langston Hughes Month: “To Artina”

May 27, 2010

I will take your heart.
I will take your soul out of your body
As though I were God.
I will not be satisfied
With the touch of your hand
Nor the sweet of your lips alone.
I will take your heart for mine.
I will take your soul.
I will be God when it comes to you.

(Langston Hughes, “To Artina.”)

Synecdoche and possession in the eye of the male observer — murdering the Object: it is a Thing.

Photographer unknown, picture comes from a vintage Pirelli calendar shoot. Kind of a Jane Birkin Inspiration Station thing happening. I approve.

Langston Hughes Month: “The Dream Keeper”

May 26, 2010

Photograph by Lloyd Hughes.

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

— Langston Hughes, “The Dream Keeper.”

Langston Hughes Month: “Catch”

May 25, 2010

The lovely and talented Stephanie Seymour for Playboy, 1993.

Big Boy came
Carrying a mermaid
On his shoulders
And the mermaid
Had her tail
Beneath his arm.

“Mermaid at Weeki Wachi, FL, May 1974” via What Makes the Pie Shops Tick? on the flickr.

Being a fisher boy,
He’d found a fish
To carry—
Half fish,
Half girl
To marry.

(Langston Hughes, “Catch.”)

Langston Hughes Month: Dig and be dug in return

May 24, 2010

I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That’s the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
Dig and be dug
In return.

(Langston Hughes, “Motto.”)

Langston Hughes Month: Quiet Girl

May 22, 2010

I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs.

–Langston Hughes, “Quiet Girl”

Langston Hughes Month: Walkers With the Dawn

May 19, 2010

Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Nor darkness–
Being walkers with the sun and morning.

(Langston Hughes,”Walkers With the Dawn”)

Langston Hughes month: “Helen Keller”

May 17, 2010

In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.

Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul’s own mastery.

And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.

(Langston Hughes, “Helen Keller.”)

I think it’s really beautiful and awesome that Mr. Hughes took the time to recognize in Helen Keller a kindred spirit and spare so many thoughts and special words for her. It is a testament to both their spirits.

Langston Hughes Month: “Fire-caught”

May 14, 2010

The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.

— “Fire-caught,” Langston Hughes.

Et tu, Jane?

Langston Hughes Month: Broken-winged birds

May 11, 2010

Hold fast to your dreams,
for if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
that cannot fly.

— “Dreams,” Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes Month, Inaugural Edition: “Dream-dust”

May 9, 2010

This May 22nd will mark the forty-third anniversary of the death of the dashing, amazing, trailblazing and talented Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. I totally don’t know shit enough about him or the width of his body of work as I ought to, besides the obvious anthologized poem choices and blurbs I’ve read in textbooks through the years, and I don’t like that. I’d like that to change this month. Join me! I’m starting … now.

Gather out of star-dust,
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust,
Not for sale.

— “Dream-dust,” Langston Hughes.

Music Moment: The Beatles, “Rain”

January 19, 2010

The Beatles — Rain

Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life, some rain must fall. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Longfellow also said, “The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.” I’m trying very hard to internalize that message.

I took this. About a year ago. With my Diana F+. It was the first roll I shot with it, and almost all the rest turned out wretched.

This track by the Beatles was the B-side to “Paperback Writer.” It is noteworthy for being one of the first songs to use backward vocals. The final lines feature the first verse sung backward, with “Raiiiin” as a chorus over the top.

“I fell in love with an alien” by vampire_zombie on deviantart.

If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes,
if the rain comes.

When the sun shines they slip into the shade
(When the sun shines down.)
And sip their lemonade.
(When the sun shines down.)
When the sun shines,
when the sun shines.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.

I can show you that when it starts to rain,
(When the Rain comes down.)
Everything's the same.
(When the Rain comes down.)
I can show you, I can show you.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.

Can you hear me, that when it rain and shines,
(When it rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?
(When it rains and shines.)

Can you hear me, can you hear me?
If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.

One of the other, like, three pictures that turned out.

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.


And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. (Gilbert K. Chesterton)

Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.
(Saint Basil the Great)

I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge? (Douglas Adams)

It ain’t no use to grumble and complain;
It’s jest as cheap and easy to rejoice;
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
Why, rain’s my choice.
(James Whitcomb Riley)

Photographed by Nirrimi Hakanson on facebook, via ffffound.
I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies. (Eden Ahbez)

He covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth with rain,
and maketh the grass grow on the hills. (Psalms 147:8)

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain. (Langston Hughes)

Looking for upsides. How about this? Shit week, yes, but hey, free car wash.