1. Home
  2. Poems & Poets
  3. Browse Poems
  4. Madam’s Past History by Langston Hughes
Madam’s Past History

Related Poem Content Details

My name is Johnson—
Madam Alberta K.
The Madam stands for business.   
I’m smart that way.

I had a
HAIR-DRESSING PARLOR   
Before
The depression put
The prices lower.

Then I had a
BARBECUE STAND   
Till I got mixed up   
With a no-good man.

Cause I had a insurance   
The WPA
Said, We can’t use you   
Wealthy that way.

I said,
DON’T WORRY ’BOUT ME!
Just like the song,
You WPA folks take care of yourself—
And I’ll get along.

I do cooking,
Day’s work, too!
Alberta K. Johnson—
Madam to you.

Langston Hughes, “Madam’s Past History” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
Source: Selected Poems (Vintage Books, 1959)
Madam’s Past History

Related Poem Content Details

Other Information