Emmett’s Wallet

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Emmett’s Wallet

by Philip C. Kolin
Southern Cultures, Vol. 19, No. 4: Winter 2013

"for smooth-talking Negro boys from Chicago more equal than separate . . ."

They said I had pictures
in my wallet, white girls
Gisele MacKenzie, Joan Collins.
It was immoral for a black boy
to tote these Hit Parade darlings
in his hip pocket, going juking
with their sweet white voices.


But they came in the wallet, really.
No extra charge except
for smooth-talking Negro boys
from Chicago more equal than separate
for the tastes of George, Orval, or just Bull.

 

What black boy could ever get
a white girl pregnant, sealed
in all that faux leather.
Wasn’t cellophane a prophylactic, too.

 

Woolworth’s did offer a guarantee—
to refund the purchase price 100 percent
if the buyer was not fully satisfied.
I never had the chance. 

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