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aquart

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 69,014

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Saturday was Langston Hughes' birthday. I met him.

Won 5th prize in an NYC poetry contest for high school students. 1st to 4th prizes got a check. I got a lousy book. I was so mad, so bitter, I shook the hand of this man I didn't know as he presented me this book, his book, inscribed to me in green ink, and sat down again.

Got home, put the book on a shelf, didn't read it.

Until the day, years later, I read in the newspaper that Langston Hughes had died. That's when I took the dusty book down from the high shelf and read my first edition of Selected Poems.

I have so many regrets of the fool things I've done with my life, but the greatest seems to be that I was too ignorant, too unread, and too churlish to tell Mr. Hughes how brilliant he was and how his poems gutted me straight to the heart.

I had the chance.
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