poet Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

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Madam's Past History

My name is Johnson--
Madam Alberta K.
The Madam stands for business.
I'm smart that way.

I had a
HAIR-DRESSING PARLOR
Before
The depression put
The prices lower.

Then I had a
BARBECUE STAND
Till I got mixed up
With a no-good man.

Cause I had a insurance
The WPA
Said, We can't use you
Wealthy that way.

I said,
DON'T WORRY 'BOUT ME!
Just like the song,
You WPA folks take care of yourself--
And I'll get along.

I do cooking,
Day's work, too!
Alberta K. Johnson--
Madam to you.

Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Comments about Madam's Past History by Langston Hughes

  • Tazzy (4/2/2018 11:39:00 AM)

    Hughes made the woman in this poem completely relatable - even for someone who was born well after the Great Depression. I feel her and I understand what she's going through. Again, few stanzas, but it says so much.

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