• Thu. Feb 9th, 2023

Janeane's World

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Black History Month – Langston Hughes – Madam and the Phone Bill



The poem of the day for today’s Black History Month Langston Hughes celebration is Madam and the Phone Bill. During February each year, people all across the United States celebrate Black History Month. Things are no different here at Janeane’s World. This month I am copying an idea I got from my friend Pammy Pam over at An Unconventional Librarian and I am devoting the entire month to the poems of my favorite author and poet, Langston Hughes. I will share a poem a day for the entire month.

You may ask what place does poetry or celebrations of Black History month have in this blog that was created to encourage, inspire and motivate women to be their best at work and home. I would answer that I am an African-American woman so black history is my history and when you understand and appreciate it, you come closer to understanding and appreciating me. I would also answer that poetry, like all forms of artistic expression fuels our passions, gives us hope makes us think and makes our lives richer and better.

I am sharing the following video of me reading the poem. I am sure you will be able to see how much I enjoyed it from my expressions in the video. If you like the poem, record a video of your own performance of it and share it with me in the comments or email it to me at : janeanedavis@janeanesworld.com . Let’s have fun with it!


Madam and the Phone Bill

You say I O.K.ed
O.K.ed it when?
My goodness Central
That was then.

I am mad and disgusted
With that Negro now
I don’t pay no REVERSED
CHARGES nohow.

You say I will pay it-
Else you’ll take out my phone?
You better let
My phone alone.

I didn’t ask him
To telephone me
Roscoe knows darn well
Ain’t free.

If I ever catch him
Lawd, have pity!
Calling me up
From Kansas City.

Just to say he loves me!
I knowed that was so.
Why didn’t he tell me somethin’
I didn’t know?

For instance, what can
Them other girls do
That Alberta K Johnson
Can’t do – and more too?

What’s that Central?
You say you don’t care
Nothing about my
Private affair?

Well, even less about your
PHONE BILL does I care!

Un-hummm-m! . . . Yes!
You say I gave my O.K. ?
Well, that O.K. you may keep-

But I sure ain’t gonna pay!

This poem, is so much like real life! I am old enough to remember when telephones had wires and long distance was optional. Beyond that many women can identify with Madam in the poem. Are you a woman who signed a contract for a cell phone for a man and had him run up the bill and leave you to pay it? What about a woman who find out her man is cheating on her and wonders what those other women are doing that makes her man stray? How many people have tried to negotiate with a bill collector who did not care about their problems, and only wanted to collect the money? It is amazing that almost 100 years have passed since this poem was written, but it is still relevant today.

If you would like to read more about technology check out the following.

madam and the phone bill www.janeanesworld.comStop Procrastinating – Don’t Let Technology Rule You

It is terrific to know you can stop procrastination by refusing to be ruled by your technology. Procrastination is the thing that keeps you from doing what you need to do or gives you an excuse for not doing what you should be doing. One common thing that causes procrastination is technology. Of course technology is all around us and is something we cannot, indeed should not avoid. At the same time, technology is a major source of procrastination.

[Read More . . .]


madam and the phone bill www.janeanesworld.comTechnology Lessons – Technology Can Be Fun

It is terrific to realize that technology can be for more than just work, it can be fun. Entrepreneurs are often at the forefront of new and emerging technology. For most entrepreneurs, the main purpose for technology is to make work easier to do and more efficient. However, it is important to know that our technology can also be used for fun.

[Read More . . . ]


Embrace Technology and What it Can Do for You

It is terrific to acknowledge that technology is here to stay and to embrace it. Once upon a time, in movies and on television shows, writers were portrayed typing away on typewriters and their productivity or lack of same was shown in how fast their hands flew across the keys. If the writer was on a creative streak, there would be almost non-stop clicking on the typewriter keys. If the writer was suffering from writer’s block, the room would be eerily quiet. Today, writers are using desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even Smartphones crank out masterpieces. Technology makes it easier to be creative in more places.

[Read More . . . ]


If you want to get some Langston Hughes books of your own, check out the following. Please note, these are affiliate links which means I may earn income if you purchase one of these books.

1. This is the book I keep on my desk in my office. It is worn out and the edges are frayed because I use it so much. It was a gift from my husband which makes it a special treasure.

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes (Vintage Classics)

2. The Simple stories were my introduction to Langston Hughes. They are an incredible combination of entertainment, sociology and politics of the time.

The Early Simple Stories (Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Vol 7)