My most recent edition of “Culling The Classics” posted on LitReactor today, of a book that I was really excited to read but even more excited to finish reading. I won’t go into much detail here (you’ll have to read the review, duh), but The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was not what I was expecting.

Since Oz famously takes Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas, I thought I’d bring us back to Kansas with Gwendolyn Brooks, who was born in Topeka. Gwendolyn’s most famous poem is probably “We Real Cool,” but she has plenty of others that are just as fantastic (like “the mother,” wow).

It’s a beautiful day today, so here’s a running-around-outside poem. Kind of.

Loving that jacket.

You real cool, Gwendolyn.

a song in the front yard by Gwendolyn Brooks

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.


I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.


They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).


But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

One thought on “NPM: Kansas Special!

  1. Pingback: “500 Words On…” Update: Russia | Brian McGackin

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