by: Fenton Johnson (1888-1958)
- AM tired
of work; I am tired of building up somebody else's civilization.
- Let us take a rest, M'lissy Jane.
- I will go down to the Last Chance Saloon, drink a gallon
or two of gin, shoot a game or two of dice and sleep the rest
of the night on one of Mike's barrells.
- You will let the old shanty go to rot, the white people's
clothes turn to dust, and the Cavalry Baptist Church sink to
the bottomless pit.
- You will spend your days forgetting you married me and your
nights hunting the warm gin Mike serves the ladies in the rear
of the Last Chance Saloon.
- Throw the children in the river; civilization has given us
too many. It is better to die than it is to grow up and find
out that you are colored.
- Pluck the stars out of the heavens. The stars mark our destiny.
The stars mark my destiny.
- I am tired of civilization.
POEMS BY FENTON JOHNSON
"Tired" is reprinted from
The Book of American Negro Poetry. Ed. James Weldon Johnson.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922.