Poets answer an age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road? (part 4)


Gil Scott-Heron

The chicken crossing will not be televised

It will not be sponsored by Colonel Sanders or

Brought to you by a contribution to your PBS station

From Chik-Fil-A

The chicken crossing will not be televised

(It might be on YouTube.)

  1. e. cummings

anychick lived in a pretty how coop

and str e  t   c    h     e      d

her chicken legs(white feathers

furled in the even

ing breeze)across

the sunset road because(pick peck)she

wanted(peck)to see


Capital(they didn’t

have those where she was from).

e.e. cummings calls the poetry crisis line

counselor: poetry crisis line, what is your emergency?

caller: the boys i mean are not refined

counselor: how is this your problem?

caller: they go with girls who buck and bite

counselor: and you disapprove? or were you bitten?

caller: they do not give a fuck for luck

counselor: personally, i’d be more concerned about blood-borne pathogens

caller: they hump them thirteen times a night

counselor: do they use protection?

caller: one hangs a hat upon her tit

counselor: not sure what that would protect her from.

caller: one carves a cross in her behind

counselor: that might protect her from vampires.

caller: they do not give a shit for wit

counselor: i’m not sure that’s relevant. why are we whispering?

caller: the boys i mean are not refined

counselor: are you afraid they might do something if they hear you?

caller: they come with girls who bite and buck

counselor: were you bitten? you never answered that.

caller: who cannot read and cannot write

counselor: wait–are they deliberately keeping them in a feral state?

caller: who

counselor: the girls who bite and buck and

caller: laugh

counselor: that sounds a little better. does the laughter sound joyous, or nervous, or–

caller: like they will fall apart

counselor: emotionally?

caller: and masturbate with dynamite

counselor: oh.

caller: the boys i mean

counselor: wait, the boys are the ones using dynamite to…uh…how is that even possible? i mean, unless they are…uh…

caller: are not refined

counselor: that’s putting it mildly.

caller: they cannot chat of that and this

counselor: to be honest, i’m having a hard time talking about this, too.

caller: they do not give a fart

counselor: i’d be afraid to pass gas, too, if i had explosives up my–

caller: for art

counselor: not for art or love or money.

caller: they kill like you would take a piss.

counselor: never mind “like”; they could kill *where* i take a–

caller: they speak whatever’s on their mind

counselor: who? the boys? the girls? the dynamite?

caller: they do whatever’s in their pants

counselor: apparently.

caller: the boys i mean are not refined

counselor: so you keep saying. but this sounds a bit more serious than using the wrong fork for the salad course.

caller: they shake the mountains when they dance.

counselor: what? all that, and you were just calling in a noise complaint?