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 teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.” His first book, . . .

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Poem Categorization

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

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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