Lisa Mednick Powell

Sept. 18 poetry Blast

Ballad of Roosevelt by Langston Hughes The pot was empty, The cupboard was bare. I said, Papa, What’s the matter here? I’m waitin' on Roosevelt, son, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Waitin' on Roosevelt, son. The rent was due, And the lights was out. I said, Tell me, Mama, What’s it all about? We’re waitin' on Roosevelt, son, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Just waitin' on Roosevelt. Sister got sick And the doctor wouldn’t come Cause we couldn’t pay him The proper sum— A-waitin on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, A-waitin' on Roosevelt. Then one day They put us out o' the house. Ma and Pa was meek as a mouse Still waitin' on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. But when they felt those Cold winds blow And didn’t have no Place to go Pa said, I’m tired O’ waitin' on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. Damn tired o‘ waitin’ on Roosevelt. I can’t git a job And I can’t git no grub. Backbone and navel’s Doin' the belly-rub— A-waitin' on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. And a lot o' other folks What’s hungry and cold Done stopped believin' What they been told By Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt— Cause the pot’s still empty, And the cupboard’s still bare, And you can’t build a bungalow Out o' air— Mr. Roosevelt, listen! What’s the matter here? Source: Langston Hughes, “Ballad of Roosevelt,” New Republic 31 (November 14, 1934) Here's a short clip of Ray and Johnny... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZcAfdH8Vm0&feature=related