Juke Box Love Song
I could take the Harlem night
and wrap around you,
Take the neon lights and make a crown,
Take the Lenox Avenue busses,
And for your love song tone their rumble down.
Take Harlem’s heartbeat,
Make a drumbeat,
Put it on a record, let it whirl,
And while we listen to it play,
Dance with you till day–
Dance with you, my sweet brown Harlem girl.
I studied Langston Hughes my junior year of high school. We each had to pick an American author to read for the year and I chose Hughes, partially because of this poem, partially because he was black, and partially because I knew that it would be easy to read the majority of his works because poetry goes down more quickly than prose. I was a lazy high school student.
I enjoyed reading Langston Hughes much more than I thought I would and so I will always be thankful for Mrs. Pirose and that year-long assignment. Though Mrs. Pirose and I didn’t get along. I ended up transferring out of her class three-quarters of the way through. Still, there was some good with the bad.
I am embarking on a new project. Each month, I will choose a poem to commit to memory. I think someone famous like Winston Churchill said that if you have memorized good poems, you will always have good company. On my bike rides back and forth to school, I have ample time to declaim to myself. Check back at the end of the month to see how I did with this month’s selection.