Incident by Countee Cullen (1903 – 1946)
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.”
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.
Maxwell Nürnberg writing in A Gathering of Poems relates, “When the editor of this collection was the poetry club advisor at De Witt Clinton High School in New York City, in 1922, a young member of the club wrote a poem on the blackboard. His name was Countee Cullen and the poem was ‘Incident.'”
More: http://baltimoreauthors.ubalt.edu/writers/counteecullen.htm (external link)