Notes on Literature: Poems That Have Turned My Head #3

Posted by Michael Borshuk On 9:51 AM



Parker's Mood


Come with me,
If you want to go to Kansas City.

I'm feeling lowdown and blue,
My heart is full of sorrow.
Don't hardly know what to do.
Where will I be tomorrow?

Going to Kansas City.
Want to go too?
No, you can't make it with me.
Going to Kansas City,
Sorry that I can't take you.

When you see me coming,
Raise your window high.
When you see me leaving, baby,
Hang your head and cry.

I'm afraid there's nothing in this cream, this dreamy town
A honky-tonk monkey-woman can do.
She'd only bring herself down.

So long everybody!
The time has come
And I must leave you
So if I don't ever see your smiling face again:
Make a promise you'll remember
Like a Christmas Day in December
That I told you
All through thick and thin
On up until the end
Parker's been your friend.

Don't hang your head
When you see, when you see those six pretty horses pulling me.
Put a twenty-dollar silver piece on my watchchain,
Look at the smile on my face,
And sing a little song
To let the world know I'm really free.
Don't cry for me
'Cause I'm going to Kansas City.

Come with me,
If you want to go to Kansas City.

--King Pleasure (Clarence Beeks)


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MICHAEL BORSHUK is Associate Professor of African American Literature at Texas Tech University. He is the author of SWINGING THE VERNACULAR: JAZZ AND AFRICAN AMERICAN MODERNIST LITERATURE (Routledge, 2006), and numerous essays, reviews, and encyclopedia entries on African American literature, American modernism, and music. For ten years, from 1999 to 2009, he wrote on jazz regularly for CODA MAGAZINE. His fiction has appeared in ANTIGONISH REVIEW, DALHOUSIE REVIEW, ELYSIAN FIELDS QUARTERLY, SHORT STORY, and 34TH PARALLEL.

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