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Short poem

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Harrison Street Court

              1I HEARD a woman's lips
              2Speaking to a companion
              3Say these words:

              4"A woman what hustles
              5Never keeps nothin'
              6For all her hustlin'.
              7Somebody always gets
              8What she goes on the street for.
              9If it ain't a pimp
            10It's a bull what gets it.
            11I been hustlin' now
            12Till I ain't much good any more.
            13I got nothin' to show for it.
            14Some man got it all,
            15Every night's hustlin' I ever did."


1] Harrison Street: an east-west principal thoroughfare crossing the Chicago River in the downtown area. Grand Central Station is found on this busy street.

4] Hustles: prostitutes herself.

10] bull: policeman, cop.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1916), p. 152. PS 3537 A618C5 1916 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1916
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/7

Form: Free Verse

Other poems by Carl Sandburg