Black Kos Contributing Poetry Editor
"As much as things change, things remain the same." "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."
How many times have we heard those refrains? Yet, are they any less true if we had heard them but once? Or a lifetime's worth? It may be human nature that requires us to be constantly reminded of that which went before; or it may be the affliction Gore Vidal coined, "American Amnesia".
Langston Hughes wrote the following that has the eerie echo of events just happening. But he wrote it when jackboots were beginning a goosestep across the Polish plains; when an American Corporatocracy consolidated wealth in the hands of a distinct few, while tens of millions toiled for pennies a day; when a respected journal published an...
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Fine living . . . a la carte?
Come to the Waldorf-Astoria!
LISTEN HUNGRY ONES!
Look! See what Vanity Fair says about the
"All the luxuries of private home. . . ."
Now, won't that be charming when the last flop-house
has turned you down this winter?
"It is far beyond anything hitherto attempted in the hotel
world. . . ." It cost twenty-eight million dollars. The fa-
mous Oscar Tschirky is in charge of banqueting.
Alexandre Gastaud is chef. It will be a distinguished
background for society.
So when you've no place else to go, homeless and hungry
ones, choose the Waldorf as a background for your rags--
(Or do you still consider the subway after midnight good
Take a room at the new Waldorf, you down-and-outers--
sleepers in charity's flop-houses where God pulls a
long face, and you have to pray to get a bed.
They serve swell board at the Waldorf-Astoria. Look at the menu, will
CRABMEAT IN CASSOLETTE
BOILED BRISKET OF BEEF
SMALL ONIONS IN CREAM
Have luncheon there this afternoon, all you jobless.
Dine with some of the men and women who got rich off of
your labor, who clip coupons with clean white fingers
because your hands dug coal, drilled stone, sewed gar-
ments, poured steel to let other people draw dividends
and live easy.
(Or haven't you had enough yet of the soup-lines and the bit-
ter bread of charity?)
Walk through Peacock Alley tonight before dinner, and get
warm, anyway. You've got nothing else to do.
-- Langston Hughes