500 Words



by R. A. Bolden BSc

East High ‘67


    “Why did the chicken cross the road?” I asked.

My philosophy professor at university scratched his beard. His dark eyes were intense.

He rested one hip on the edge of his desk and said, ”Let me show you different perspectives of the same question.” 

“For example, Plato might answer: The chicken crossed the road for the greater good.  Whereas Aristotle would say: It is the nature of chickens to cross roads.  Karl Marx would argue:  Chickens crossing roads is a historical inevitability.”

He took a drink of water then continued, “Timothy Leary by contrast might say: It is the only trip the establishment would let them take.  And Martin Luther King might argue:  One day, chickens crossing roads will not have their motives called into question.”

He smiled and let me contemplate.



When Patti Reagan wrote and asked me to pen some impressions of my time at East High, I thought about the chicken crossing the road and my old philosophy professor.  I thought about walking down that emotional-adolescent boulevard again because it was there.

I thought about my White and Black brothers placed on teams and forced to worked together to attain common goals like State Championships in Basketball and Track ostensibly for the greater good. 

I thought about my personal guilt at having marginalized some very decent young women, whose nature it was to want meaningful relationships, because I had been raised on a diet of Randolph Scott which was devoid of the emotional fruit needed to sustain a trusting bond.

I thought about my Chicano brothers who were pushed to the edge of the social circle because I was too drunk on the myth of East High to take the time to learn a few words of their language and become part of the historical inevitability of their social dominance in America. 

I thought about riding in our parents’ cars up and down the Esplanade as the only trip the establishment would let us take.

I remember so desperately wanting to believe in the Kingian dream: One day, groups of young Black men hanging out in parking lots will not have their motives called into question.

In sum, I lived at that time but I could not rationalize it. I was there but I did not comprehend. 

I needed more than East High to become who I am.  I needed the ethics of my existence to see that the future is liquid and can be molded to your own design.  I needed my old university professor shining light on the question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Therefore, we all needed more than East High to become who we are. Graduating from The Denver Public Schools was the beginning of many roads to cross.





RAUF BOLDEN is an American born in Colorado.  He studied languages at University where he became a polyglot speaking German, French and Dutch.  As a yacht master, he spent twenty years sailing more than 100,000 nautical miles while circumnavigating the planet with his wife Jeannette Dean, an internationally known sailor and writer. They plan to sail around the world again being very much in love while continuing to write fiction and feature articles.  Their motto for life is, "Never Ever Give Up.”