Five Poems by Lamont B. Steptoe


poets arrive


or smoked up

highed up on something

you ain’t never heard of

it is my duty to be drunk

it is my duty to be high

it is my duty to be



For Amiri Baraka

back in the day

television was black and white

no colored folks in commercials

no colored folks as news anchors

there was more color in cartoons

at the movie houses than on tv

while we stood in bread lines

to get powdered eggs

peanut butter

canned spam and powdered milk

back in the day we smoldered

like a dormant volcano

but when the sixties came

we exploded set cities on fire

water hosed bitten

by dogs we picked up molotov cocktails

became snipers and revolutionaries

had redbooks in our pockets

demanded civil rights

in the blazing nights…




ain’t got nothin’ on me!!!


he was free!




i am dead



do not hide

the lust i lived

after all

i was human

and so was




poets are supposed to make

people cry…

or sigh…

or die…


Lamont B. Steptoe is a poet / photographer / publisher born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of fifteen poetry collections, the latest of which is Meditations in Congo Square. He’s the winner of an American Book Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. A resident of Philly for almost fifty years, Steptoe still prefers to refer to himself as a Pittsburgher. Steptoe is a father, Vietnam veteran, founder of Whirlwind Press, and graduate of Temple University.


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