Sunday, February 1, 2015

To Langston Hughes On His Birthday

 Carrie's second child
the boy with dreamy, 
dark eyes
and a passion
for prose
burning in his soul...

 Giving rise to

fiery words of
truth and justice,
searing the
conscience of
the reader
like a red hot coal.

Poor and black,
there was no way
he was going back, 
to the life of misery
 and despair,
the label, "colored"
designed to get
him nowhere.

Only forward could he go,
dreaming dreams, seeing visions
about the moon and the stars
and the time of silver rain,
  riding the rails
bound for heaven...
aboard the Freedom Train.

 "To Langston On Your Birthday"
By Pamela D. Brida

 James Mercer Langston Hughes
American Poet

"To sit and dream, to sit and read,
To sit and learn about the world
Outside our world of here and now-
our problem world-
To dream of vast horizons of the soul
Through dreams made whole,
Unfettered free-help me!
All you who are dreamers, too,
Help me make our world anew.
I reach out my hand to you."
"To You"
Langston Hughes

The Beautiful Lady Who Sang The Blues...

The Queen of Jazz
 Billie Holiday

Was immortalized in the words

 of Langston Hughes...

What can purge my heart
Of the song
And the sadness?
What can purge my heart
But the song
Of the sadness?
What can purge my heart
Of the sadness
Of the song?

Do not speak of sorrow
With dust in her hair,
Or bits of dust in eyes
A chance wind blows there.
The sorrow that I speak of
Is dusted with despair.
Voice of muted trumpet,
Cold brass in warm air.
Bitter television blurred
By sound that shimmers-
"Song For Billie Holiday"
-Langston Hughes

We're all in the telephone book,
Folks from everywhere on earth-
Anderson to Zabowski
It's a record of America's worth.

We're all in the telephone book
There's no priority-
A millionaire like Rockefeller
Is likely to be behind me.

For generations men have dreamed
Of nations united as one.
Just look in the telephone book
To see where that dream's begun.

When Washington crossed the Delaware
And the pillars of tyranny shook
He started the list of democracy
That's America's telephone book."
"We're All In The Telephone Book"
-Langston Hughes

Gypsies are picture-book people
Hanging picture-book clothes on a line.
The gypsies fill the vacant lots
With colors gay as wine.

The gypsies' skins are olive-dark,
The gypsies' eyes are black fire.
The gypsies wear bright headclothes dyed
By some elfin dyer.

The gypsies wear gay glass beads
Strung on silver threads
And walk as though forever
They've had suns about their heads."
-Langston Hughes

"Gypsy Dance"
Richard Lipps

I have to wonder if Langston Hughes,
who traveled extensively in Europe
ever encountered Gypsies
or visited one of their camps?

"Gypsy Playing Violin"
Fritz Mueller

Songs that break
And scatter
Out of the moon
Rockets of joy
Dimmed too soon.
"Gypsy Melodies"
-Langston Hughes

I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs."
-Langston Hughes

"Gypsy Girl"
Charles Roka
Perhaps her name was Ardella?

And now for all you poets and dreamers,

a little birthday dessert...

Best Ever
New York-Style
Sour Cream Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted
11/4 cups sugar, divided

4 pkg. (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened

2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (16-oz.) container of sour cream, divided

4 eggs

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced, or
raspberries, blueberries, kiwi,
whatever you like!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  
In a 13x9-inch pan lined with foil,
 with ends of foil extending over sides.
 Mix graham crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. sugar;
 press onto bottom of pan. 
Beat cream cheese, 
1 cup of the remaining sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla
 with mixer until blended.
 Add 1 cup sour cream; mix well.
 Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed
 after each just until blended. 
 Pour over crust. 
Bake for 40 min. or until center is almost set.
 Mix remaining sour cream, sugar and vanilla;
 carefully spread over cheesecake.
 Bake 10 min. Cool completely. 
 Refrigerate 3 hours. 
 Use foil handles to lift cheesecake
 from pan before cutting to serve.
 Top with berries.  

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