The physical structure of this poem has been altered from the original layout in the text.
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you -
Then it will be true.
1.I wonder if it's that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
3.I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem. I am the only colored student in the class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem, through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas, Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, 2.I hear you: hear you, hear me - we too - you, me, talk on this page. (I hear New York, too.) 1.Me - who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records - Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn't make me not
like the same things other folks like who are
1.So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
4.But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white -
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true!
5.As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me -
although you're older - and white -
and somewhat more free.
The persona's lecturer gave him an assignment to write a page that reflects 'him', or who he is. The persona wonders if this is a simple task, and begins to think about his life. Things like his age, place of birth, race and place of residence. Based on these musings,...