Talking Blues

By Calvin Forbes b. 1945 Calvin Forbes
Raccoon you better be cool

Thought I saw you on Broadway
Eating King Fish’s barbecue

Some people claim raccoon you pretty
Swear raccoon tame like a kitty

But raccoon bites you if you get too close

I saw raccoon on Lenox Avenue
Stealing milk from a baby

Thought I saw a black cat on the corner
But it was nothing but old raccoon

Raccoon let me school you

Raccoon you know you too country
You better leave the city

Raccoon they got rats in New York City
Big as you and just as ornery

Nobody in Harlem studying you raccoon
So you better go about your business

Raccoon you better get wise
Look what playing possum got the possum

Source: Poetry (July/August 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2011
 Calvin  Forbes


Calvin Forbes grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and attended both the New School for Social Research and Rutgers University. He earned his MFA from Brown University. His collections of poetry include Blue Monday (1974), From the Book of Shine (1979), and The Shine Poems (2001). His work has been anthologized in New Black Voices (1972) and A Century in Two Decades: A Burning Deck Anthology, 1961–81 (1982). Forbes is an associate . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.