Slim Greer went to heaven; St. Peter said, "Slim, You been a right good boy." An' he winked at him. "You been travelin' rascal In yo'day. You kin roam once mo'; Den you come to stay. "Put dese wings on yo' shoulders, An' save yo' feet." Slim grin, and he speak up, "Thankye, Pete." Den Peter say, "Go To Hell an' see, All dat is doing, and Report to me. "Be sure to remember How everything go." Slim say, "I be seein' yuh On de late watch, bo." Slim got to cavortin' Swell as you choose, Like Lindy in de Spirit Of St. Louis Blues. He flew an' he flew, Till at last he hit A hangar wid de sign readin' DIS IS IT. Den he parked his wings, An' strolled aroun', Gittin' used to his feet On de solid ground.
Big bloodhound came aroarin' Like Niagry Falls, Sicked on by white devils In overhalls. Now Slim warn't scared Cross my heart, it's a fac', An de dog went on a bayin' Some po' devil's track. Den Slim saw a mansion An' walked right in; De Devil looked up Wid a sickly grin. "Suttingly didn't look Fo' you, Mr. Greer, How it happens you comes To visit here?" Slim say---"Oh, jes' thought I'd drop by a spell." "Feel at home, seh, an' here's De keys to hell." Den he took Slim around An' showed him people Rasin' hell as high as De first Church Steeple. Lots of folks fightin' At de roulette wheel, Like old Rampart Street, Or leastwise Beale. Showed him bawdy houses An' cabarets, Slim thought of New Orleans An' Memphis days. Each devil was busy Wid a devlish broad, An' Slim cried, "Lawdy, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd." Took him in a room Where Slim see De preacher wid a brownskin On each knee. Showed him giant stills, Going everywhere, Wid a passel of devils Stretched dead drunk there. Den he took him to de furnace Dat some devils was firing, Hot as Hell, an' Slim start A mean presspirin'. White devils with pitchforks Threw black devils on, Slim thought he'd better Be gittin' along. An' he says---"Dis makes Me think of home--- Vicksburg, Little Rock, Jackson, Waco and Rome." Den de devil gave Slim De big Ha-Ha; An' turned into a cracker, Wid a sheriff's star. Slim ran fo' his wings, Lit out from de groun' Hauled it back to St. Peter, Safety boun'.
St. Peter said, "Well, You got back quick. How's de devil? An' what's His latest trick?" An' Slim Say, "Peter, I really cain't tell, The place was Dixie That I took for hell." Then Peter say, "you must Be crazy, I vow, Where'n hell dja think Hell was, Anyhow? "Git on back to de yearth, Cause I got de fear, You'se a leetle too dumb, Fo' to stay up here. . ."
From The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown by Sterling A. Brown. Copyright © 1980 Sterling A. Brown. Used by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.