Broke

Uh! I sho am tired.
Been walkin' since five this mornin'.
Up and down, and they just ain't no jobs in this man's town.
Answerin' them want-ads not nary bit o' fun,
'Cause 'fore you gets there, ten thousand and one
Done beat you to de place, standin' outside de do'
Talkin' 'bout " we'll work for 50¢ a day, if we can't get no mo'. "
And one old funny boy said, " I'll work at any price
Just only providin' de boss man is nice! "
You all out there laughin', but that ain't no joke —
When you're broke.

Last job I had, went to work at five in de mornin', or little mo'
And de man come tellin' me I better get there at fo'.
I mean four — before daylight — s'pose to've done hit yo' first stroke —
Folks sho is gettin' hard on you — just 'cause you broke.
So I say, " Mister, I ain't no sweepin' machine. "
So de man say, " I'll get somebody else, then, to clean, " —
So here I is, broke.

Landlady 'lowed to me last week, " Sam, ain't you got no money? "
I say, " Now, baby, you know I ain't got none, honey. "
And don't you know that old woman swelled up like a speckled toad
And told me I'd better pay her for my room rent and board!
After all them dollars I gived her these last two years,
And she been holdin' 'em so tight till de eagle's in tears —
I wouldn't pay her a penny now if I was to croak —
Come bawlin' me out, 'cause I'm broke.
(I don't care nothin' 'bout her myself!)

Um-mm! Sign here says they wants somebody to shovel coal.
Well, ain't never done it, but for to keep body and soul
Together, reckon I'll try . . . Sho, I wants de job! Yes, sir!
Has I did it befo'? Certainly!
What I don't know 'bout shovelin' coal, ain't no mo' to know!
Willing worker? Un-uh! Yes! What's that you say?
De time is fourteen hours a day?
Well, er — er . . . how much does you pay?
Six dollars a week? Whee-ooo! You sho pays well!
You can take that job and go to — — I hope you choke,
Even if I is broke.

But I sho been lookin' round hard lately for ways and means
O' gettin' a new winter coat, or havin' that old one cleaned.
Tried to find one o' them little elevator and switchboard jobs they used to have,
But they givin' 'em to school boys now and payin' just about half.
So I went down town to a hotel where I used to work at night,
And de man come tellin' me they ain't hirin' no mo' colored — just white.
I can't even get de money for to buy myself a smoke,
I tell you it's awful, when you're broke.

And I sho had a pretty gal, too, up yonder on Sugar Hill.
She bought a new hat last week and come sendin' me the bill.
I said, " Baby, you know I loves you, and all like that
But right long through here now, I can't 'ford to buy you no hat. "
So when I got ready to go, I said, " I'll be seein' you soon, Marie. "
And she come tellin' me, she ain't got no mo' evenings free!
I thought love was a dream, but I sho have awoke —
Since I'm broke.

'Course, you hears plenty 'bout this-here unemployment relief —
But you don't see no presidents dyin' o' grief —
All this talkin' ain't nothin' but tinklin' symbols and soundin' brass:
Lawd, folkses, how much longer is this gonna last?
It's done got me so crazy, feel like I been takin' coke,
But I can't even buy a paper — I'm so broke.

Aw-oo! Yonder comes a woman I used to know way down South.
(Ain't seen her in six years! Used to go with her, too!)
She would be alright if she wasn't so bow-legged, and cross-eyed,
And didn't have such a big mouth.
Howdy-do, daughter! Caledonia, how are you?
Yes, indeedy, I sho have missed you , too!
All these years you say you been workin' here?
You got a good job? Yes! Well, I sho am glad to see you , dear!
Is I married? No, all these-here girls up North is too light.
Does I wanta? Well, can't say but what I might —
If a pretty gal like you was willin', I'd bite.
You still bakes biscuits? Fried chicken every night? Is that true?
Certainly, chile, I always was crazy 'bout you!
Let's get married right now! Yes! What do you say?
(Is you lookin' at me, baby, or some other way?)
'Cause I'm just dyin' to take on that there marriage yoke.
Yes, um-hum! You sho is sweet! Can you pay fo' de license, dear?
'Cause I'm broke.
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