Brother AACOOLDRE : Sample poems of Frank Davis: dad of Obama

Discussion in 'AACOOLDRE' started by AACOOLDRE, May 18, 2015.


    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Jul 26, 2001
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    Here are sample poems taken from Black Moods. I’m interested in Frank Marshall Davis poetry because he is alleged to be the real father of Frank Davis.

    I recalled reading Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance By Carry D. Wintz (1988)

    The other day I was just scanning this book and Frank Marshall Davis name popped out. He wasn’t in the index so it wasn’t easy. I was skimming the last chapter called the decline of the Harlem renaissance:

    “Black writers, especially unknown ones, did find that it was more difficult to find a publisher for their work in the 1930’s (due to the stock market crash of 1929) than it had been during the heyday of the Renaissance. Poets found it particularly difficult. In 1937 Alfred Knopf pointed out that it had become a poor bet to publish poetry unless the author was well known. Other publishers apparently agreed, because only one black poet, Frank Marshall Davis, succeeded in getting a book published during the Depression…” p.221

    This proves to my satisfaction that Davis was a clear cut above the rest and even Langston hughes told Frank he didn’t get his proper due. Maybe this was the result of his self exile to the Island of Hawaii in 1948 and didn’t come to the mainland until 1973 after members of the Black Arts movement invited him to come read his poetry on college campuses.

    With that said here is a little taste of Davis’s poetry

    TOA YOUNG MAN (1975)

    By Frank Marshall Davis

    When I was your age

    Fifty years ago

    I knew everything,

    The old man said

    Pointing with his cane

    Of memory;

    When I was twenty

    I saw a scarlet sky

    And a blue balloon sun

    And I had

    An explanation;

    Since then I have drunk

    Half a hundred liquid years

    Distilled ( Obama’s “Pop” poem uses the word Neat=Liquor without water or ice both “Neat” and “Distilled” both suggest a kind of alcoholic purity)

    Through restless coils of wisdom ( Obama links Whiskey with Knowledge with Davis in Dreams from my Father p.77)

    And if you asked me now

    Do one plus one

    Make two or three or four

    I would have to say

    I do not know.

    Then the old man turned

    His hammered face

    To the pounding stars


    Like the ring of a gong

    And walked until

    On the slate horizon

    He erased himself


    This poem is alleged to be written for Barack Obama who was 14/15 in 1975.


    By Frank Marshall Davis in Black Moods p.212

    In the gangling hours

    Thin, adolescent hours

    Before night runs softly

    Away into the west

    Anne rises wearily

    From her tired bed

    And sleeps

    Sitting in a chair.


    Is this the same Anne that was cited in Sex Rebel:Black Chapter 7 from Bob Greene (F. Davis) who said she was 13 but looked 15/16 and possibly the same Ann, the mother of Barack Obama?


    By Frank Marshall Davis

    Giles Johnson

    Had four college degrees

    Knew the whyfore of this

    The wherefore of that

    Could orate in Latin

    Or cuss in Greek

    And, having learned such things

    He died of starvation

    Because he wouldn’t teach

    And he couldn’t porter


    Dudley Randall interviewed Frank Davis in Black World (Jan.1974)under the title “mystery poet” . This poem Giles Johnson may have influenced Randall’s poem “Booker T & W.E.B”. Randall published some of Nikki Giovanni earlier poetry and had Davis go on a poetry reading after his 25 year exile in Hawaii. I will cite Randall poem for comparative purposes to “Giles Johnson” here below:

    Booker T & W.E.B

    By Dudley Randall

    “It seems to me”, said Booker T.,

    “it shows a mighty lot of cheek

    To study chemistry and Greek

    When mister Charlie needs a hand

    To hoe the cotton on his land,

    And when Miss Ann looks for a cook

    Why stick your nose inside a book?”

    [​IMG]Booker T Wahington

    “I don’t agree”, said W.E.B.

    “If I should have the drive to seek

    Knowledge of chemistry or Greek,

    I’ll do it. Charles and Miss Ann can look

    Another place for hand or cook

    Some men rejoice in skill of hand,

    And some in cultivating land,

    But there are others who maintain

    The right to cultivate the brain”.

    “It seems to me”, said Booker T,

    “That all you folks have missed the boat

    Who shout about the right to vote,

    And spend vain days and sleepless nights

    In uproar over Civil Rights.

    Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse

    But work, and save, and buy a house”.

    [​IMG]W. E B Dubois in his younger years

    “I don’t agree”, said W.E.B

    “For what can property avail

    If dignity and justice fail.

    Unless you help to make the laws,

    They’ll steal your (draws) and house

    With trumped -up clause.

    A rope’s as tight, a fire as hot,

    No matter how much cash you’ve got

    Speak soft, and try your little plan

    But as for me, I’ll be a man”.

    “It seems to me”, said Booker T.

    “I don’t agree”, said W.E.B

    Notes: I love this binary battle.

    For Any Unborn Negro

    By Frank Davis

    Brush his

    Lips lightly, life !

    Though this is home he’s black.

    Too soon he’ll know that none loves him

    But death…


    The religion of Sweet Jesus

    The spirit of our savior

    March on with missionaries

    And civilization

    Into darkest Africa

    Day by Day

    Black folj learn

    Rather than with

    A heathen spear

    Tis holier to die

    By a Christian gun…

    47th street (excerpts)

    The Jew and the Negro should know each other

    Since most of the stores are in Hebrew hands

    Thus forcing a black observance of Yom Kippur;

    Even the business of saving souls

    The process of salvation selling

    Of peddling passes to heaven

    In the storefront church

    Beside the kosher delicatessen

    Revolves about a Jew named Jesus….

    IV. Dreams

    Are children

    Who come at night

    To play make-believe


    This is what I thought when I read Dreams from my Father by Obama


    (for a bass Viol)

    Here was titanic sorrow


    In the ebony splendor

    Of a black man’s face

    Here was a form

    On which the mark

    Of a parasite civilization

    Had been branded

    Burning deeply

    Exposing a soul

    Contaminating it

    With the purple of sadness

    Should not a soul sing of joy?

    Should not a soul sing of peace?

    “Lord, deliver me

    You helped Daniel

    You helped David

    You helped Moses, too

    Lord, let my people go”

    Here was sadness…

    Carved on a black man’s soul

    Foreword to Black Man’s Verse (1935) Frank Davis

    “it is merely enough to say that I, frank Marshall Davis, a Duskyamericanborn December 31, 1905…have written this foreword in Chicago June 24, 1935”.


    “Dustyamerican”: Davis combines Dusty and American to create this nonce phrase describing African American. He follows in the wake of writers like James Weldon Johnson and George Schuyler. When Davis recited a poem he said:

    “Ashes to Ashes

    Dust to Dust

    Whiskey to drink

    And good booty to bust…” (Living the Blues p.72)

    This poetry resembles the opening lines to Obama’s poem called “Pop”

    “Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken

    In, sprinkled with ashes,

    Pop switches channels, takes another

    Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks

    (neat=straight whiskey)

    What to do with me, a green young man…”

    Note: the poem “Pop” may be a typological allusion to a line from “47th street” poem by Frank Davis:

    “…At 47th street intersections

    In Chicago’s Congo

    Caucasian faces peer momentairily

    In curious contempt

    Then turn back to ‘Orphan Annie,” “Popeye”… (Obama “Pop” poem alludes his father’s eyes he calls “hooded eyes” in his book and of course Obama’s mother name is Ann)

    Unconsciously sure of superiority

    Within furnished apartment minds

    As the green buses snort (Obama’s “Pop” poem states he’s green and goes on to say he snorts cocaine later)

    From gasoline spurs

    Then gallop on….”

    It is of my opinion and several others like, Jack Cashill & Cliff Kincaid and a host of others, believe that Frank Davis either wrote “Pop” or worked on with Obama. Obama already admitted in his book Dreams From my father that Davis and Obama worked on writing dirty poetry together. ‘As the night wore on, the two of them (Davis & Gramps) would solicit my help in composing dirty limericks” p.77

    Goldie Blackwell

    My three sisters and I

    Traded virginity

    For comfort

    My three sisters

    Got rings and mrs.

    And respectability

    I got two dollars

    And independence

    And kept respectability

    To myself.


    Now we shall remove

    Clothes and distilled customs

    Called civilization…

    And return flesh-free…

    As the black stream of night

    Flows over us

    And the world shrinks

    To the warm edge of you and me…


    Red-headed Marjorie was exclusive

    Catering solely

    To the soul trade

    It pleased her esthetically

    To see black on white;


    Believing all men equal

    But knowing society

    Herded blacks in the basement

    And placed prostitutes

    Maybe a step above

    It eased her ego

    To throw her earnings

    To cool contempt

    Before a white pimp

    Thus emotionally shoving him

    As a symbol of whiteness

    Lower than either

    Her profession

    Or her tricks


    I stand ready

    To shoulder a gun anytime

    To help defend

    Our system of free private enterprise

    And individual initiative

    From all enemies

    At home or abroad

    For I believe religiously

    In open competition

    And fewer government controls-

    Where would I be

    With rigid prices

    And regimentation?


    I’m the friendly simple

    Neighborhood whore

    That’s all I want to be

    And if I do say so myself

    I give ****** good *****

    To my working men trade

    For a mere ten bucks;

    Last night a strange dude

    I ain’t never seen before

    Asks if I’ll do something

    He calls fellatio-

    It didn’t sound right

    So I cussed him out

    And chased him away

    Cause I ain’t no freak

    And I don’t want no weirdo-

    What the hell’s fellatio anyway?


    By Frank Marshall Davis

    You tell me Christ was born nearly twenty centuries ago in a little one-horse

    Town called Bethlehem…your artists paint a man as fair as another new

    White hope.

    Well, you got it all wrong…facts twisted as hell…see?

    Let me tell you wise guys something

    I’ve got my own ideas…I’ve got a better Christ and a bigger Christ…one

    You can put your hands on today or tomorrow.

    My Christ is a Dixie nigge..r black as midnight, black as the roof of a cave’s


    My Christ is a black bastard…maybe Joe did tell neighbors God bigged

    Mary…but he fooled nobody…they all knew Christ’s father was Mr.

    Jim who owns the big plantation…and when Christ started bawling out

    Back in the cabins Mr. Jim made all three git

    You see, I know

    Christ studied medicine up North in Chicago then came back to Mississip-

    Pi a good Physician with ideas for getting the races together…he lectured

    In the little rundown schoolhouses awaiting Rosenwald money…he

    Talked of the brotherhood and equality of man and of a Constitution

    Giving everybody a right to vote and some of the nigge..r listeners told their

    White folks…then they found how Christ healed a white woman other

    Doctors gave up for lost…the two things together got him in the calaboose

    They called him a Communist and a menace to the existing relationship

    Between Black and White in the South

    Sheriff and Judge debated whether to open the hoosegow and tell reporters

    The mob stormed the jail or let the state lynch him on the gallows

    Anyhow they got him

    Maybe the rope was weak or Christ was too strong to die…I don’t know

    They cut him down and they patched him up… he hid in the swamps until

    He got well enough to get around again…then he lectured a little

    More…and faded out

    Whether he went to heaven or Harlem or the white folks broke his neck and

    Hid the corpse somewhere is a question they still ask-

    See what I mean?

    I don’t want any of your stories about somebody running around too long

    Ago to be anything but a highly publicized memory

    Your pink priests who whine about Pilate and Judas and Gethsemane I’d like

    To hog-tie and dump into the stinking cells to write a New Testament

    Around the Scottsboro Boys

    Subdivide your million dollar temples into liquor taverns and high class

    Whore-houses…my nigge…r Christ can’t get past the door anyway

    Remember this, you wise guys

    Your tales about Jesus of Nazareth are no-go with me

    I’ve got a dozen Christ in Dixie all bloody and Black…
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