Brass Spittoons, by Langston Hughes

Brass Spittoons

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 dollarsBuy shoes for the baby.House rent to pay.Gin on Saturday,Church on Sunday.    My God!Babies and gin and churchAnd women and SundayAll mixed with dimes andDollars and clean spittoonsAnd house rent to pay.    Hey, boy!A bright bowl of brass is beautiful to the Lord.Bright polished brass like the cymbalsOf 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! - Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes