poet Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

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Madam And The Census Man

The census man,
The day he came round,
Wanted my name
To put it down.

I said, Johnson,
Alberta K.
But he hated to write
The K that way.

He said, What
Does K stand for?
I said, K--
And nothing more.

He said, I'm gonna put it
I said, If you do,
You lie.

My mother christened me
Alberta K.
You leave my name
Just that way!

He said, Mrs.,
(With a snort)
Just a K
Makes your name too short.

I said, I don't
Give a damn!
Leave me and my name
Just like I am!

Furthermore, rub out
That MRS., too--
I'll have you know
I'm Madam to you!

Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Comments about Madam And The Census Man by Langston Hughes

  • Patrick (5/4/2018 12:33:00 PM)

    Sweet! Madam is spunky and won't back down! she, err.... Madam is my favorite!

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  • Tazzy (4/2/2018 11:48:00 AM)

    Madam's back! Incidentally, people sometimes have a middle initial without a middle name. Johnny Cash was actually born J. R. Cash - just initials, no full name. It wasn't until later in life that he chose the name Johnny for his first name. I like Madam. She sticks to her guns and she likes her name.

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