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LOOKING FOR LANGSTON IN LINCOLN, IL

at the Lincoln parade, we looked for Langston

in his old hometown

thinking he'd revisit shops, streets, alleys

where he walked into early manhood

 

we looked for Langston

under Orion's light

high school bands highstepped

round the city courthouse

blurting "i'll be home for xmas

if only in my dreams"

 

we looked for Langston

toetapping to bugles, drums, flutes

saxophones, tubas, trumpets, french horns,

& flinging his arms wide in some place

in the night

 

past silos' long shadows

black against amber sun

glinting against umber soil

brushbrown trees

we strode the equipment bus

looking for you, Langston

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isolated farmhouses

hugged the ground

windowpane glinted reflecting falling sun

night came tenderly blacklikeyou

 

we looked for Langston

in every face straining to see

youths marching round the creamy domed courthouse

weary blues of the Christmas season

chased by eager chimes flowing round the town square

notes like a river you've known

 

we looked for you, Langston

jingle bell rock and holly jolly xmas

rang in the crisp air

 

we looked for you, Langston

and found you sauntering in and out between ghosts:

 

Brigham Young, Elijah P., Old Abe,

Grant, stamping on old stomping grounds.

We looked & found you, Langston

laughing & sharing a Tootsie Roll with a big-eyed boy.

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