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Harlem Hopscotch

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One foot down, then hop! It's hot.
          Good things for the ones that's got.
Another jump, now to the left.
          Everybody for hisself.

In the air, now both feet down.
         Since you black, don't stick around.
Food is gone, the rent is due,
          Curse and cry and then jump two.

All the people out of work,
         Hold for three, then twist and jerk.
Cross the line, they count you out.
          That's what hopping's all about.

Both feet flat, the game is done.
They think I lost. I think I won.



Maya Angelou, "Harlem Hopscotch" from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie: Poems by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1971 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House, Inc., 1994)
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Harlem Hopscotch

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