In a wilderness of reasons
not to write, he wrote. Just wrote.
Each word was the belief
in the possibility of the next.
He kept it going.
Mostly his days and words talk
quietly, though he could rant and rage.
Mention is what his voices usually do
in a world of self-convinced noise.
Truth mentioned is a sweet brass
note you’ll never forget. Writing,
Langston showed writing to be
an unashamed act, one of the few
in a shameful, shaming world. Words
grin. Words reside. Words throw
a meal together for unexpected friends,
make a garden in front of a brownstone,
come back from long sea voyages
alive. Words aren’t everything,
are not the rent, often
may be only change left from
a last dollar spent in Paris or Reno.
The world goes to its terrible work
of silencing souls. Out
of an open window comes a tapping—
the tick, the tack, the click and the clack,
Jack, of writing. And all those sorry rooftops
get red, get glad, get suave, get saved.