pushmi-pullyu

if we could talk to the animals
you’d assume we would use ears as well
but just speaking the language holds no
guarantee that we listen, not yell.

talk at
talk to
push me
pull you

it turns out we’re all animals, so
just to talk and to tell isn’t hard
but Doolittle finds some not easy
pushmi-pullyu’s two heads both on guard

talk at
talk to
push me
pull you

the movies and remakes aplenty
lack this curious beast’s tricky trait
with two heads thus two brains it confounds
a curious choice that they made – wait!

talk at
talk to
push me
pull you

in the book, bands of monkeys coerce
pushmi-pullyu, reluctant, joins crew
“just be looked at” – grotesque at its best
a freak show in a purpose-filled zoo

talk at
talk to
push me
pull you

doctor’s debts are beginning to mount
darker motives to bring “it” aboard
this book, less than innocent, crouches
entertainment for kids? oh my LORD!

talk at
talk to
push? – me.
pull! – you.

read the book with new eyes to see truth
what seems harmless can kill without care
instead of all talking, just listen
pushmi-pullyus’ ideas to share


Pushmi–pullyus are now extinct. That means, there aren’t any more. But long ago, when Doctor Dolittle was alive, there were some of them still left in the deepest jungles of Africa; and even then they were very, very scarce. They had no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head. They were very shy and terribly hard to catch. The black men get most of their animals by sneaking up behind them while they are not looking. But you could not do this with the pushmi–pullyu—because, no matter which way you came towards him, he was always facing you. And besides, only one half of him slept at a time. The other head was always awake—and watching. This was why they were never caught and never seen in Zoos.

– The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting

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