Wednesday, April 26, 2023

April Is National Poetry Month 

Before state lotteries, there was the numbers game. Illegal gambling where not only money rode on bets, but hopes and dreams, too. Many Numbers games operated throughout the black communities, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Atlanta.

My grandmother played the numbers in Baltimore.

Legendary Harlem Number Racketeers were Madame Queen and The Botito King.

First published in the Contemporary Poetry magazine during the Autumn of 1943 under the name “Madam and the Number Runner.”

I present the one and only Madam Alberta K. Johnson!

Madam and the Number Writer

Number runner

Come to my door.

I had swore

I wouldn't play no more.

He said, Madam,


Looks like a likely

Hit for you.

I said, Last night,

I dreamed 7-0-3

He said, That might

Be a hit for mie.

He played a dime,

I played too,

Then we boxed 'em

Wouldn't you?

But the number that day

was 3-2-6

And we both was in

The same old fix.

I said, I swear I

Ain't gonna play no more

Till I get over

To the other shore--

Then I can play

On them golden streets

Where the number not only

Comes out—but repeats!

The runner said, Madam,

That's all very well –

But suppose

You goes to hell?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.