Brass Spittoons

Poem By Langston Hughes

Clean the spittoons, boy.
Detroit,
Chicago,
Atlantic City,
Palm Beach.
Clean the spittoons.
The steam in hotel kitchens,
And the smoke in hotel lobbies,
And the slime in hotel spittoons:
Part of my life.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars a day.
Hey, boy!
A nickel,
A dime,
A dollar,
Two dollars
Buy shoes for the baby.
House rent to pay.
Gin on Saturday,
Church on Sunday.
My God!
Babies and gin and church
And women and Sunday
All mixed with dimes and
Dollars and clean spittoons
And house rent to pay.
Hey, boy!
A bright bowl of brass is beautiful to the Lord.
Bright polished brass like the cymbals
Of King David’s dancers,
Like the wine cups of Solomon.
Hey, boy!
A clean spittoon on the altar of the Lord.
A clean bright spittoon all newly polished—
At least I can offer that.
Com’mere, boy!

Comments about Brass Spittoons

Harsh realities of life faced by the downtrodden and their pathetic condition revealed. Worthy of modern poem of the day
I like the rhythm of many of Langston Hughes poems. They read like some kind of good- sounding song. This one tells of a life that is very much with the black experience.
Clean Have to clean Indoor to outdoor Ground to sky Boy to girl Child to old Brothel to prayer place Summer to winter Clean Have to clean......
House rent to pay. Gin on Saturday, Church on Sunday. My God! Babies and gin and church.. very good poem. tony
This is the way in which white masters spoke to their negro servants, addressing them as 'boy'. It is also the superior tone of the masters' speech. The poem succeeds as satire or protest. The negro's life is not very inspiring- buy shoes, pay rent, a nickel, a dime. The last line is an insult to a negro.


Rating Card

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101 total ratings

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