Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken

This is a supreme con artist who travels from carnival to carnival. He uses sleight-of-wing techniques to sucker customers.

Unsuspecting rubes pay to play against him in a game of tic-tac-toe, figuring it would be easy to beat a simple chicken. However, this sly cluck always wins.

Warning: Do not let him mark a square first!


Anyone with even a passing interest in music knows how earlier musicians were big influences on modern songwriters. Without Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly, we may have never had The Beatles. Woody Guthrie served as a major influence for Bob Dylan, who later served as an inspiration for Bruce Springsteen. Perhaps most importantly, the brilliant Pat Boone was instrumental in creating the edgy genius of Donny and Marie Osmond.

Johnny Cash was another monumental figure in modern music. However, few people know about a folk singer who was a mentor for The Man in Black. He was the legendary “Chicken Lips” Paycock.

“Lips” had a hard life. He escaped from a KFC factory as a young cluck, only to make his way from barn to barn, plucking his guitar for chicken feed wherever he could, living the vagabond life of a free-range rooster.

He was not a saint though. He plucked many a hen during his travels, resulting in numerous paternity suits. Failure to pay peep support landed him in jail, and his experiences were reflected in perhaps his most famous song, “Foster Farm Blues,” which Johnny Cash later reinterpreted in his “Folsom Prison Blues.” The melody is strikingly similar, as are the lyrics. Judge for yourself…

Foster Farm Blues
By “Chicken Lips” Paycock

I hear that chicken cluckin,
It’s cluckin' like a hen
And I ain’t seen it lay an egg
Since I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Foster Farms,
Just cock a doodlin’ do,
And when it’s feedin’ time,
I’ll be peckin' at my food.

When I was just a peep,
My nana clucked all night,
She told me, “Keep on crowin’, boy
Until you get it right,”
But I pecked an egg at Foster’s,
Just to watch it crack,
And after I plucked its mama,
I just ain’t been back.

“The Lost Scratches of ‘Chicken Lips’ Paycock” will be released on Hen House Records in time for Christmas. A special limited, individually numbered, slip-cased director’s cut edition on CD/DVD/CD-ROM/MP3/JPEG/Blu-Ray/Vinyl will also be available, but supplies are limited.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Through the centuries, many of us have grappled with life’s biggest mysteries: Is there a Nog? What is the meaning of life? Why can’t Jennifer Aniston settle down and marry a nice boy?

It is precisely this kind of truth seeking that prompted me to search for the wisest, holiest, most philosophicalest visionary the world has ever known. I am speaking, of course, about the Mystic Chicken.

I remember the stories about the Mystic Chicken my mother told me when I was a little peep and still snuggled safely under my mother’s tuches. Whenever we had questions (“Mom, how come eggs aren’t round?” or “Mom, why do people
eat us?”), my patient mother would get misty-eyed, look to the heavens, sigh, and say simply, “Go ask the Mystic Chicken.”

Sometimes she would yell this loudly, he feathers flying hither and thither, to and fro, heckyl and jeckyll, wings akimbo. She even looked a little annoyed. Some of the other peeps said she was just fed up with my incessant questions, but I knew the truth: To seek the answers to my probing, intellectual questions, I must find the Mystic Chicken.

The Holy One sits day and night, cross-legged in his nest, high up in the barn rafters. There is no telling how he got up there, for although chickens have wings, they cannot fly. Hmm, I always wondered about that; maybe that can be one of my questions for the Mystic Chicken!

Reaching the top rafter was my first Herculean labor. It would probably take me months, perhaps even years to overcome this obstacle. But I was determined, and time was not a factor. Even if I turned old and putrid, I would meet the Mystic Chicken if it took my last dying cluck.

Fifteen minutes later, I finally made it to the top rafter, after enlisting the help of a local sherpa. And there sat the Wise One in all his glory, just as I envisioned him over these many years: gray feathers, a serene smile on his beak, a copy of the ancient Chinese life manual, the “I Chick,” at his wizened, flaky feet.

“Master,” I managed to cluck, “I have traveled all of these fifteen minutes, and through much hay and feces, to seek your guidance.”

The mystic one gently glanced up at me. “Yes, my son.”

“I must know: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

He stared far off into space for what seemed like sixty minutes, but it was only an hour. “To answer that, I must first ask you a question.”

“Yes, Master?”

“What is the sound of one wing flapping?” He divinely beady eyes were looking right through me.

“Well, Master, I suppose it would sound like, um, wind resistance?”

He laughed knowingly. “And why did the chicken cross the road, my yellow one?”

“Um, I guess so he could get to the other side?”

Another dismissive laugh. “You are very young, my son, and your small brain will soon molt. Tell me lad, if a rooster crows alone in the coop, does he make a sound?”

“I don’t see why not. With all due respect, Wise One, could you please return to my original query?”

“Oh, so now we use the word ‘query’! ‘Question’ isn’t good enough for you? Very well, my young cluck, what was your query again?”

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I repeated.

“I shan’t waste my time with such drivel. Obviously, the egg came first, or there would be no chicken.”

“But, wise one, wouldn’t there first need to be a chicken to lay said egg to begin with?”

At this moment, a miraculous thing happened. The Mystic Chicken got another faraway look in his eyes. I believe he suddenly got the calling to meditate. After lowering himself to speak at such a low level to me, he needed to return to the higher plane in which he usually resides.

I soon found myself in mid-air, for I had fallen off the top rafter. For a minute it looked like the Mystic Chicken’s leg had shot out and possibly knocked me off the rafter, but I knew that couldn’t be possible, for he was already deeply meditating and repeating his “yolk” mantra.

I guess I just wasn’t ready yet to interact with such a supreme being, so I returned to my mother’s tuches and spent the rest of the afternoon contemplating my pecker.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Film Reviews
by Hollywood Hen House Legend Roger Eggbert

“The Dark Knight”

Now a lot of you folks have been clucking about this movie for a while now, and some even think it should have been nominated for best picture, but I for one have a major problem with it. Sure, it has fantastic special effects, cool explosions, and nobody whispers like Christian Bale—what range he has!

But there was one glaring omission: I did not see one chicken in this entire excuse for a film.

There was one scene in which Batman and some girl (who was no spring chicken, by the way) and some other guy are having dinner, and I was hoping that perhaps one of them was at least eating chicken, just so we could get some sort of representation. Yes, I know that of course it would be a dead chicken, but that would be preferable to the Hollywood conspiracy of pretending that chickens simply do not exist. But unless these beady little eyes are failing me, there was no chicken dinner to be found.

I did award “The Dark Knight” extra points, however, because human actor Heath Ledger’s facial makeup did include some red, yellow and white, which are all chicken-related colors.

For that, I give “The Dark Knight” two hard-boiled eggs.

“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”

This movie left the theaters so fast, if you stopped to lay an egg, you may have missed it. Nonetheless, I still feel compelled to write about this cinematic travesty. In a year in which we saw the outstanding film “Yolk,” which starred human actor Sean Penn in a true story about a poultry rights activist, we still have chicken feed like this.

But here’s what really bothers me.

Those of you who have read my Pecks and Pans column over the past 20 years know all about me and my family history, especially if you read my memoir, “My Life as a Young Cluck.”

As a mere peep, I was on my own from a very early age, due to a certain fox, Henrich, who raided our hen house and plucked my mother clean. I still have a recurring nightmare in which I lay an egg, only to have a fox emerge from the shell and bite my pecker off. An owl psychiatrist has been helping me come to terms with this childhood event for many years.

But now here comes “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” which features several lycans, which is a fancy way of saying werewolves. And when I see wolves, I think foxes, and we all know what foxes do, don’t we? They raid hen houses! I think every motherclucker out there has family members who went to that giant coop in the sky because of some vicious fox, and this film just brings back those awful memories for all of us.

For the unwelcome return of my night terrors, I give “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” one rotten egg.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Quaintsville, VT--A rooster from Goyisha Farms killed his hens and three little peeps in a bizarre suicide-murder-cannibal-breakfast incident this morning.

Rory T. Roosterberg was discovered in the farm henhouse in at 7am. He had apparently pecked his wife to death and scrambled his two peeps. Bits of eggs were evident on Roosterberg’s beak.

A nearby henhouse cluck commented, “Everything seemed normal with them, but I did notice that Rory’s cock-a-doodle-do was a little plaintive this morning.”

The scene at the henhouse was a grisly one, with empty egg shells, feathers, and three crosses made of chicken feed. Officials are investigating who assembled the crosses, because it is common knowledge that all members of the Poultry Order are atheists.

Another neighbor believes she heard Roosterberg yelling “Frittata” repeatedly the night before. That may have been, however, his pet name for his wife.

Goyisha Farms owner Seymour Chang did mention that Roosterberg had lately been badgering his wife into having a boy. “I did hear him plucking her and crowing loudly into the wee hours. Which was unusual because according to my studies roosters are supposed to crow only when the sun comes up.” Chang has a doctorate in rooster husbandry from Pecker University.

One of Roosterberg’s fellow roosters said, “Rory was popular with all the hens. He was one of the biggest cocks in town. It’s really a shame this happened because he was the loudest crower on the farm, and so I didn’t have to strain so hard. He also owed me ten bucks.”

Roosterberg and his wife will be breaded and served during a ceremony at the Chang bar mitzah in the barn at noon Saturday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Quaintsville, VT—A local hen who has resided at Pipick Ranch for several years is upset about the extraordinary media attention being lavished on Nadya “Nutbag” Suleman, a mentally disturbed Californian woman who recently gave birth to eight future nutbags.

“Like most chickens my age, I lay at least one egg a day,” proclaimed Feathers Yolkberg, “but you don’t see me getting cool nicknames like ‘Octo-Mom.’ And I lay these eggs while having to listen to the constant clucking of all these other clucks all day long. I'd like to see Octo-Mom lay an egg under these conditions.”

Ranch owner Moishe Pipick agrees with Yolkberg. “Feathers lays eggs on a daily basis, and she was only on public assistance once, when she briefly became a free-range hen after losing her nest.”

Renowned mathematician Dr. Sidney Faygella has spent many years studying the laying habits of hens, and after careful analysis determined that a hen laying one egg a day will likely lay approximately 365 eggs per year. His theory, however, remains controversial.

“I’ve heard of Dr. Faygella’s work,” Yolkberg admits, “but on special occasions I sometimes lay two eggs a day. Yet the good doctor doesn’t enter that into his fancy schmancy equations.”

Pipick stated that no ICF (In Chicken Fertilization) is used to help hens like Yolkberg produce so many eggs each year. “I just feed ‘em,” he explained.

As for the future, this plucky little chicken mother hopes to soon enroll in Cluck State University, Quaintsville, in order to receive her Master’s degree in Rooster Husbandry.

And who tends to all of these eggs? “I think somebody eats them,” Yolkberg said.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I was standing in line at my neighborhood Costco, wheeling along a flatbed filled with my weekly purchases of toilet paper, prunes and garden hoses, when I came to a shocking realization: I almost forgot to visit the Costco restroom.

Going into the Costco restroom is always a highlight of my trip. It is similar to when I visited that golden domed temple thingie in Jerusalem, only the Costco restroom has more Arabs.

After entering the restroom, I always make a point of signing the guest register attached to the clipboard hanging on the back of the door. It’s little touches like that that make customers feel welcome at Costco. Once, I even found some delicious Junior Mints that had unfortunately fallen on the floor near the toilet. However, utilizing the well-known 10-second rule (where you can still eat food from the floor 10 seconds after you see it), my mouth soon enjoyed a tingly and refreshing wake-me-up.

Much to my surprise, however, not everything in that magnificent palace of poop was up to the high standards I expect of Costco. For when I was done with my personal evacuation plan and reached for the toilet paper I was truly shocked. Why, this was not Kirkland Signature brand toilet paper at all!

Believe me, I am intimately familiar with the Kirkland Signature toilet paper: its feel, its dimensions, its scent, its texture, its taste. This was an imposter. And yet, doesn’t Costco exclusively feature, and indeed sell, Kirkland Signature paper products (including tissues and paper towels, not to mention their delicious rotisserie chickens, a dozen of which were currently getting cold on my flatbed cart.)

Something was amiss; I could feel it from the tip of my acid-refluxed esophagus down to my formerly fertile and now flaccid penis. Someone was trying to pull a fast one all right, and I bet the executives at Kirkland Industries would be very interested to know about this scam. But before I unleash all my rage in a diarrhea-like torrent, I will still give my beloved Costco a chance to explain itself. I’ll start with the manager. But where was he hiding?

I quickly donned my Kirkland Signature sunglasses so as not to draw suspicion and scanned the vast Costco landscape. There was Dottie, the customer service clerk. Hmm, her Costco vest seemed a little askew. And then there was Charlie, the rugged highly trained security agent, poised at the exit, pink highlighter in hand like a revolver, meticulously marking each shopper’s receipt as they exited these hallowed portals. Oh, Charlie, the stories you could tell!

So far, everything looked pretty normal, but all this observating was tiring me out. I reached into one of my dozen bags of Kirkland Signature Trail Mix for a quick blast of energy (take that, Red Bull!), when suddenly I noticed something very interesting. Churros were on sale today for 75 cents. I made a mental note to pick one up on my way out, unless I needed to make a detour to the Sheriff’s station to report a certain toilet paper swindle. And those Sheriffs laughed at me last time. Ha, this will show them.

After getting back in line to purchase another case of Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucosamine HCI Chrondroitin Sulfate Tablets, I realized that my checker was none other than Marcus, the Costco Manager. And some people believe that there is no such thing as fate.

I played it cool, gracefully whipping out my Costco card on request with lightning speed. As Marcus bent down to pick up my card, I noticed another interesting thing. He was wearing Kirkland Signature Denim Jeans.

This presented a conundrum: If Marcus was wearing said jeans, I could assume he was a fan of the fine Kirkland products. Then why on earth would he allow his store to have non-Kirkland Signature brand toilet paper in its restroom? There was only one possible answer: Marcus recently purchased a speedboat, divorced his wife, moved to Marina Del Rey to live the swinging speedboat single life, developed a severe gambling problem at the Commerce card clubs, was in debt to his bookie for $500,000, and needed the money to make his speedboat payments, not to mention alimony and hospital bills due to a conjugated sigmoidectomy. It was all so obvious. Why didn’t I see that before?

I did feel a bit of empathy for Marcus, so as he handed me my receipt, I simply said with a wink, “How are the waters?” Marcus acted dumb, as if he had no idea what I was referring to. I quickly let out a small fart, just so he would know that I was on to his Kirkland Signature toilet paper switcheroo. I could tell by his wince that he knew I was onto him. Whatever bribe you got, my friend, I hope it was worth it.

As I pulled my two flatbeds to the exit, I noticed a wink in Charlie’s one good eye as he counted my items and, not unlike Rembrandt, painted a pink mark on my receipt. So, Charlie, you old spotted owl, you knew too, didn’t you? Although I would continue my investigation another day, I rested easy knowing Costco was in good hands with Charlie on the job.

And there was still Dottie’s strange vest. But that would have to wait until my next Costco visit tomorrow. Something tells me my work here is not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


June 12

After scrimping and saving for over six months, I have finally arrived at the distant Schmegegee Islands. I have been reading about this tropical paradise for many years. Photos of this wondrous land have adorned the walls of my cubicle for even longer, allowing me to gaze upon the island’s clear blue waters, its golden sunsets, its serene beaches, and of course the island women.

Not that I was trying to escape from work, you see. The company that employs me makes the inspection slips you may find inside certain items of clothing you purchase. You know, the old “Inspected by No. 29” and such (that happens to be one of my personal favorites). Some of my so-called friends think it is a trivial job, but I firmly believe that we provide a valuable service. I mean, don’t you feel better buying a six-pack of underwear knowing that someone inspected them first for your safety? I thought so.

But this is not time to think about work. This is the time to enjoy the Schmegegees, and it was a warm welcome indeed as I stepped off the boat and the island natives performed energetic and exotic dances while escorting me to my hut. As I settled in for this tropical paradise that would be my home for the next week, one beautiful island girl gently took hold of my hand. Wow, I had been here only minutes and already an angel was at my doorstep. To my surprise, she had placed in my hand a small bright green oval nut. “Chicki,” she said, smiling. “You like.” She then slowly let her tongue slide out to show me that she had a Chicki-Nut in her mouth already. As she began sensuously chewing the nut, I popped one in my own mouth as well. After all, when in Rome…

June 13

As the sun rose the following morning, I unfortunately realized that I had been up all night. Perhaps it was the excitement of finally reaching my dream destination. But upon further reflection, I remembered the burst of energy I derived from that strange Chicki-Nut my island princess had shared with me.

It was then that I remembered a newspaper article that I had read some time ago about the Chicki-Nut. It explained how the majority of the island natives chewed on this nut all day long, and resulted in bursts of hyperactivity, super-energy, and sometimes hallucinations mixed with a sense of euphoria. Not only that but it was highly addictive, and produced a strange green fluid in one’s mouth that some say could lead to cancer of the phlanx. I think there was also some mention about how the distribution of Chick-Nuts was controlled by war lords on the island.

Well, I certainly don’t believe everything I read in the newspaper, and my experience yesterday with the Chicki-Nut was quite enjoyable. I have never been addicted to anything. Heck, I don’t even consume caffeinated drinks. The funny thing was, I almost felt a driving obsession to try the Chicki-Nut again, and as soon as possible. I figured that my background in the inspection slip business told me that this matter needed further…inspection. Luckily enough, as I walked to the town square, I found a Chicki-Nut vendor in no time at all. He was an island native, and was standing beside a pick-up truck filled with the green nuts and covered by a tarp. I wasn’t sure why he was standing off to the side of the square and carrying a machine gun, but I figured that this is probably the way they keep peace in this tropical paradise.

I popped six Chicki-Nuts in my mouth and soon afterward began my walk around the island. I could now get the full effect of this wondrous place: its bright pink palm trees, the purple monkeys who spoke perfect English to me and shared their glowing bananas, the clear cool orange ocean waters that undulated in geometric patterns. My heart was beating and pounding, and even seemed to be keeping time with the Neil Sedaka tunes that were in my head. After briskly walking around the perimeter of the 10-mile island 20 times, I noticed that I had not felt the effects of the Chicki-Nut whatsoever, but that I was glad to finally be here at the Schmegegees. On my way back to the hut, I made sure to get another 12 dozen of the Chicki-Nuts, just in case I wanted a snack later.

June 14

I had another sleepless night, but that was OK, since I was so excited to be here finally and enjoy my time on the island. My evening was not wasted, however, because as I chewed several Chicki-Nuts in the we hours, I had a burst of creativity and energy, due no doubt to the island breezes and the feeling that wires were branching out from the palm trees into my head. I used this time wisely, and made my own Chicki-Nut smoothies, toothpaste, and sandwiches. In the middle of the night, I decided to climb a tree near my hut, because I thought I saw some Chicki-Nuts high atop them, glowing and calling out to me like a gospel choir. After my invigorating climb to the top, I realized that I had been mistaken, and then lost my footing as a I slide back down the tree. I scraped my legs pretty badly, but fortunately I had made a salve out of Chicki-Nuts that night and as I applied it to my scratches I felt instantly better. I even walked around the island 20 more times, accompanied by a day-glo zebra, indigenous to the island. I heard loud noises as well, which at first I thought was gunfire, but then realized they must be fireworks, as people celebrated being in this heavenly place for another day.

June 15

As I walked back to my hut the next morning with 12 dozen more Chicki-Nuts, I tried to figure out why that newspaper article was so critical of these green delights that had become the center of my life. After all, these friendly little orbs are always complimentary toward me, they never put me down (like that one idiot at work who I plan to disembowel immediately upon my return), and they made me realize how strong, energetic, and powerful I really am. The only downside was that they sometimes made me constipated, but when I developed some suppositories out the nuts, that problem was licked.

That night I realized it was time to show my gratitude to my new best, and only, friends, and so I spent the evening creating a little shrine to the Chicki-Nut. I made a little nest out of my hair for some nuts to rest in, and surrounded them with candles and incense. It looked pretty good, but something was missing. I needed to show the nuts how much I truly loved and worshipped them. If only I had some jewels of some sort. Of course! The gold caps on my molars would be perfect. My devotion was so intense to the Chicki-Nuts that I couldn’t even feel a thing when I pulled the caps off my molars with my fingers and placed them alongside my hair nest.

June 16

As I awoke from my fetal position that morning, I thought that this would be a good day to try something new, so I immediately ran to the town square and bought 12 dozen more Chicki-Nuts. I may have stepped on a cat in my rush to the square, but then it looked back at me, smiled and said, “Me like Chicki-Nut, too.” Then it exploded. I purchased my nuts, popped about 10 in my mouth, and spent the rest of the day on the beach trying to balance seashells on my penis. That night in my hut I twirled for five hours.

June 17

As I dug myself out of a 10-foot hole, I realized that this was my last day on the island. My second shock came when I realized this was also my last day to consume Chicki-Nuts, as I cannot take them back to the States. Typical: we allow all kinds of harmful crap in the U.S., but the friendly little Chicki-Nut is forbidden. It just wants to make us happy, keep us company, and allow us to see the world as it really is: full of beautiful vibrating colors and gesticulating animals. It’s not like the guy I’m gonna kill in my office or all those whores in that bar back home who are always laughing at me whenever I read pick-up lines to them out of that book that that jerk sold me at the bookstore I should kill that guy too and I think I heard him say something about my mom once or was that my boss who said that because he sucks too at that stupid-ass job I have what was I thinking I wanted to be a podiatrist but no that costs money but everybody has feet my dad would say right before he left us to become a potato rancher or something else that he probably failed at.

Why can’t I just stay on this island with my new friends the Chicki-Nuts? They have been more faithful to me than anyone else. I love you, Chicki-Nut! And I know you love me. You get me. I know, maybe I could marry a Chicki-Nut and then I could stay on the island. And I’ll write to that newspaper and tell them the truth about you, that you stand for goodness, not evil. I will defend your honor, my love! No, that’s crazy, a Chicki-Nut would never marry me. Or it would just end in a messy divorce. Oh Chicki-Nut, why must you torture me so? Why why why???

June 18

From the Cleveland Post:

Ravenna Man Dies While Vacationing in Schmegegee Islands

Schmegegee Islands—Ryan Tuttle, longtime Ravenna resident, died from cancer of the phlanx while on vacation in this remote island location.

Tuttle was found in his hut with several strange green nuts stuffed in his underwear. About two hundred slips of paper with the handwritten words “Inspected by No. 29” were found lying on the floor. He was wearing nothing but the aforementioned underwear, a faded Margaritaville t-shirt, black socks and sandals.

Co-workers at Tuttles’ place of employment, Consolidated Tags, Inc., described Tuttle as a sad, rather slow-witted man who mostly stayed to himself .

“He had all these island-ish pictures in his cubicle,” said one male co-worker who asked to not be identified, “but I tried not to get too close to him. He smelled pretty bad.”

“We pretty much just laughed at him,” added another female acquaintance of Tuttle’s who would sometimes see him at a local bar. “He had these weird flakes all over his skin. We all just figured that one day he’d walk into the bar and kill us or something.”

Tuttle’s remains will be airlifted to his father’s potato farm in Wadworth, Ohio, where they will be used for potash.


Author, poet, and famed poultry laureate Henry Beakman died yesterday at the age of 102. After suffering for years from a smattering of embarrassing moles and warts, Beakman passed away in his home in his small New England town Quaintsville, Vermont, surrounded by his stuffed animals and pet worms.

In 1965, Henry Beakman took the revolutionary step of actually getting inside the mind of a chicken, and that unique voice served as the speaker of the most prolific stage of his career.

This was considered the writer’s “Yellow Period.” Amazingly, no writer before or since had even considered writing from a chicken’s point of view or so beautifully championed the rights of downtrodden hens everywhere.

Perhaps his most famous poem from this period was this one, written when Beakman turned 50.

Stopping by a Nest on a Sunny Day

Whose eggs these are I think I know.
His nest is in the chicken coop though.
My little peep must think it’s queer
To stop without a rooster near.

From the house a rotisserie hums,
Gently cooking former ovums.
The only other sound I hear
Is the clucking of a chicken near.

The oven is warm and wants me to play,
But I have many eggs to lay,
And miles of pecking to do, so I cannot stay.
And miles of pecking to do, so I cannot stay.

As any high school student can tell you, the speaker is reflecting on the warm, inviting promise of death, but in the end knows that it is too soon to die, for many things must still be done in his life, as reflected in the repetition of the final line, mimicking the sound of a chicken feeding.

It is a classic rumination on mortality and longing, and this poem single-handedly changed forever how we view our poultry brothers and sisters.

Beakman grew even more minimalist in the years that followed, referring to poems with an abundance of words as so much “chicken scratching.” This is evidenced in this famous poem, which some unenlightened critics dismissed as “retarded” or “the work of an real jerk-off.” Time has proven, however, that this piece served as the inspiration of the poultry activist movement of the early 1970s.

The Red Hen

So much depends upon
A small red hen,
Clucking in the coop.

Finally, at death’s door, Beakman contemplated the death of a chicken in his last published work, drawing parallels to the fate of all men. Can we assume that his own death touched him most personally?

Do Not Go Gentle Into that Bad Barn

Do not go gentle into that bad barn,
Chickens should scratch and peck at the draw of the ax;
Cluck, cluck against the farmer of the night.

Though wise hens know they will one day be grilled,
Because they laid eggs aplenty while they pecked,
Do not go gentle into that bad barn.

Young peeps, who just emerge from the shell,
Know not of their fate and future garnishes,
And go chirpingly into that bad barn.

And you, dear rooster, crowing at the dawn,
Blaze like a meteor and curse not the blade,
For the farmer needs your cock.

Beakman’s remains will be shoved into sausage casings and dumped in a satchel in the Quaintsville Ye Olde Tyme Square tomorrow. Viewings will be held at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, with a sing-along at midnight.