Poets answer another age-old question: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? 7. Langston Hughes

Poets answer another age-old question:

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?

Langston Hughes

Landlord, landlord,
this light bulb needs replacement.
The wiring isn’t safe, and the
fuse box is in the basement.

Langston Hughes calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Landlord,

COUNSELOR: I see. And what is your landlord trying to do?

CALLER: landlord,

COUNSELOR: I mean, is the landlord harassing you, or attempting to evict you?

CALLER: My roof has sprung a leak.

COUNSELOR: So, refusing to make necessary repairs. Is there water, water everywhere?

CALLER: Don’t you ‘member I told you about it / Way last week?

COUNSELOR: It may have been someone else who took your call.

CALLER: Landlord,

COUNSELOR: I mean another counselor here.

CALLER: landlord,

COUNSELOR: I don’t think your landlord works here. But if he does, it would be a conflict of interest for him to take your call.

CALLER: These steps is broken down.

COUNSELOR: So you think someone didn’t follow the steps properly in reporting a conflict of interest? That would be a problem. Or are you talking about a Twelve-Step program?

CALLER: When you come up yourself

COUNSELOR: I’m sorry, we don’t do home visits.

CALLER:It’s a wonder you don’t fall down.

COUNSELOR: Many people stumble on addiction programs. If you’re having trouble with Twelve Step, modern counseling methods may be more effective for you.

CALLER: Ten Bucks you say I owe you?

COUNSELOR: No, sir, this is a free service.

CALLER: Ten Bucks you say is due?

COUNSELOR: The crisis line is free. If we refer you, then the counseling may cost money, depending on your insurance.

CALLER: Well, that’s Ten Bucks more’n I’l pay you

COUNSELOR: That’s fine, sir. You aren’t obligated to give us money—now or in the future.

CALLER: Till you fix this house up new.

COUNSELOR: No, sir. We can help clarify the issues, but ultimately it’s up to you to solve your own problems.