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Langston Hughes

(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967 / Missouri)

The Ballad Of The Landlord


Landlord, landlord,
My roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you 'member I told you about it
Way last week?

Landlord, landlord,
These steps is broken down.
When you come up yourself
It's a wonder you don't fall down.

Ten Bucks you say I owe you?
Ten Bucks you say is due?
Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'l pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction orders?
You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Um-huh! You talking high and mighty.
Talk on-till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He's trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land!

Copper's whistle!
Patrol bell!
Arrest.
Precinct Station.
Iron cell.
Headlines in press:
Man Threatens landlord
Tenant Held Bail
Judge GIives Negro 90 Days In County Jail!

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010
Edited: Sunday, May 01, 2011

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  • Rookie Krys Curti (8/15/2013 7:29:00 PM)

    This is the poem that contributed to the dismissal of a white,4th grade school teacher, Jonathan Kozol, from the Christopher Gibson School in Dorchester, Mass. Mr. Kozol distributed the poem to his 4th grade students to recite at home. One of the students memorizing the poem recited it to his father who happened to be a Copper (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jeannette Fardan (1/6/2011 7:38:00 PM)

    I really can relate to this poem, you had landlord that didn't want to do anything but collect the rent, (Report) Reply

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