Waking Up in America
Black Lips, Black SkinRALPH:
i need your help in search of a langston hughes poem but can not remember the name. i can only remember a few lines. i love black lips the beautiful black skin can you help find the poem--- NaKem213@aol.com
The closest we could come to it was, in the poem, "I, too, sing America."
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed ---
I, too, am America.
Google tells us the phrase "black is beautiful" appears in the play Mule Bone written by Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston --- but we were unable to track down the exact phrase.--- Ed
Your review of Waking Up In America was one of my favorite yet (admittedly, not upon first reading, but it has grown on me like a stubborn old Merlot, or a family recipe for hot sauce). It is terse to the point of dismissive, but then a little nothing about Nothing deserves no more than a quick bite, and whatever words take less energy than faint praise.
In hindsight, I made a few mistakes. The first was bringing up that I was in advertising, and not mentioning that my wife and I own a yoga studio, where I lead the meditation classes. Although I am also in B2B medical and tech advertising, and not the often malicious consumer kind, ad men fall somewhere between used car salesman and politician on lists of the most beloved.
My other mistake was counting on my publisher to proofread the book, which smack in the midst of selling White Cloud Press to another he did not. The 30 small errors I have found since publication are a bit embarrassing, not unlike a few remanant crumbs on the chin while speaking in public.
So I concur with what you wrote about WUIA, and how you wrote it, with two exceptions. The passage on intercourse was not "hectic." It was light hearted dissent, with perhaps a hint of raciness. And the original art of Buddha on the book's cover portrays not a "simpering" smile but one of contentment and a relaxation of those cynical muscles that can converge around the mouth. I know that very same feeling. I often feel it when I am driving on the open road, especially out West. If you are ever on Long Island, I will show you the lovely original painting by Gary Overacre. The Buddha's face is nothing but sweet (talk about lost in translation, or reproduction). And if you like yoga, you can come take a class at Amba Yoga Center as our guest.
Thanks for taking the time. Wishing you all the best.--- Ken Taub