Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Hershey's Variation (Poem)

A Hershey's Variation

Wherein Hershey recalls those Cutie Pie
lips of his beloved Baby Ruth,

remembers how his sweet Kisses
were hers to win at the Mars Bar's

contest the summer before last:
He'd sworn he could count out

all his competition, first faulting
Juicy Fruit for making a mess

of his girl's Hot Lix lipstick, then
asking LifeSaver to disqualify

Junior Mints on account of the boy's
delicate youth. (Hershey's no Dum Dum.)

He'd watched Good and Plenty take
on Atomic Fire Balls and Hot Tamales;

shook his head when they upped his
odds by 100 Grand. But no worries.

When he saw among contest registrants
Sour Punch and Goobers and Nerds,

he just laughed, calling them
3 Musketeers with Cotton Candy hair

and Jelly-Bellies — traits no Perugina
he knew would dare call Amazin' Fruit.

True, Hershey didn't have a body at all
like the bodies of the Chunky Singles,

or hair the color of a little Bit-o-Honey,
and Rolo had, truth be known, eliminated

Heath Bar to advance to finals, beating
Almond Mounds and Smarties, too,

who'd had to sit out the second round
after bragging about their Whoppers.

If he played things right, Almond King
and that too-old Sugar Daddy would

be gone in a heartbeat. As for Mr. Good
-bar, well-known for mean, dirty dealings,

he'd go the way of the Jolly Ranchers,
a gang pretending to be Charleston Chew,

and those Airheads who'd made a play
for Peeps After Eight and Peppermint

Patty. Don't you know? Their reward
was a couple of Tootsie Rolls and a boot

straight out. Original Herb, judge
for the "Best Kisser" round, kicked

Nestle's Crunch from the bunch,
citing too much rippling muscle in those

carameled arms to deserve little
Baby Ruth's affections. Soon, Kit-Kat

withdrew for reasons unknown, then
Butterfinger missed his lady's mouth

by a wide margin of error. Hershey,
alone now, and the last one standing,

gave it his everything. And what a PayDay
it turned out to be. Just that one look

into Baby Ruth's eyes — they were pure
Starbursts — and Hershey was smothering

her (but gently) in dark chocolate Kisses
to wild applause. And Baby Ruth, who

once again proved she could tell
a winner from a loser — she'd taken

her cues from Sweetarts', after all,
that doll who'd had Dots for Kit Kat,

the contest's runner-up who'd marked
the occasion with a riot of free Snickers

and a side of Twix — she wrapped
herself 'round Hershey in Ricolo hall,

pledging him both heart and soul.
O Henry! she moaned. Let's Take 5!


Some of you may remember "Hershey's Got No Baby Ruth" in which the candy made its first appearance.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Thought for the Day

If you aren't learning, you have not been paying attention.
If you have nothing to say, it is because your heart is closed.
~ Tony Hoagland

Quoted from "Application for Release from the Dream" in Application for Release from the Dream: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Tony Hoagland (1953-2018), American Poet

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] the things that burn worst in one heart
one must keep silent to keep. [. . .]
~ Christian Wiman

Quoted from Christian Wiman, "The Parable of Perfect Silence" in Poetry, December 2018, page 234

Christian Wiman, Poet, Essayst, Editor, Translator; Professor, Practice of Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School

Christian Wiman Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Thought for the Day

Life is what waters you each morning.
~ Tony Hoagland

Quoted from Tony Hoagland, "Fortune" in Recent Changes in the Vernacular: Poems (Tres Chicas Books, 2017), page 89

Tony Hoagland (1953-2018), American Poet

Tony Hoagland Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Poems from a Twitter Poetry Party

Tuesday, January 15, was cause for a reunion of sorts when Tweetspeak Poetry, part of T.S. Poetry Press, sponsored one of its famed, fast-paced Twitter poetry parties. Following are a few of the small tiny poems and remixes I created from words found among the hour's tweets, including my own. (And yes, I took a wee bit of liberty for reasons of grammar and meaning.) My thanks to Prasanta Verma for all her retweets throughout the evening and to player-contributors L.L. Barkat, Laura Lynn Brown, Sonia Joie, Sandra Heska King, L.W. Willingham, and Glynn Young. Go to Tweetspeak Poetry on January 29 and February 5 to read what Glynn has done with the tweets.

I hear the silvery trill
north of cold,

feel the chill of moon,
the frost of maple.

Elms whisper,
and all the woods


When a willow turns
red, it is time

to shed
what autumn foretells.

The fall of rain on moss 
is nearly silent. 

Not the voice of a mother,
keeper of small poems.

Her weeping — no song
that lights upon the lips

like a gift of strawberries —
tastes like the ash

of fires long gone cold.


The gift of returning
makes fair each day

of a husband's absence.


The gift of weeping 
clears to understanding.


Beyond some invisible boundary,

where still-bare branches
trace the grammar

of animacy, the mother
weaves her stories —

grown long
but well-balanced and -constructed —

while braiding sweetgrass
at the hems of twined moons.

like circles and circles and circles,

she braids, humming

her gratitude, her allegiance
strong as a pecan shell.


The mother sighs,
losing her way

through the stories,


Do you hear the willows,
how their sounds of being

whisper the consolation
of water lilies?

Let me settle you. 
Let me settle you.


When is it easy,
this searching of earth?

More north,
the pines yield no secrets —
not of the keepers of fires,
nor of time

that draws to night.

The answer lies
in the space between

where light that shines

upon the asters and goldenrod

offers the secret
of happiness:

a way back home.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is
not a single day of emptiness. [. . .]
~ Mary Oliver

Quoted from "Honey Locust" in  Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (Beacon Press, 2005)

Mary Oliver, 1935-2019; American Poet, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Winner

"Listening to the World", Mary Oliver at On Being

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Maggie Taylor, A World of Her Own, 2018
Archival Inkjet Print
© Maggie Taylor


I'm pleased to introduce as January's Artist Watch artist at Escape Into Life the work of the highly accomplished and widely exhibited and collected Maggie Taylor.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and a resident of Florida since she was 11, Maggie makes an art of digital composites, employing computers, flatbed scanners, and small digital cameras to combine, recombine, and alter her layered images.

Today's Artist Watch features eight of Maggie's skillfully created images, her Artist Statement, which explains her artistic process, a biographical statement that includes some of the numerous museums that have collected Maggie's work, and links to Maggie's Website and social media.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] Consider that there is no/
Grief or fear, but only forward movement/
Until movement is no longer possible. [. . .]
~ David Orr

Quoted from David Orr, "Inflatable Pool" in Dangerous Household Items (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

David Orr, Poet, Columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Professor of Poetry and the Practice of Criticism, Rutgers University

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Thought for the Day

Denial splits the mind, making one part
invisible to the other.
~ Chase Twichell

Quoted from Chase Twichell, "A River in Egypt" in Things as It Is (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

Chase Twichell, American Poet, Professor, Publisher (Ausable Press)

Chase Twichell Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Thought for the Day

What's invaluable in love is to help
each other reach the end of a long road.
~ Ha Jin

Quoted from Ha Jin, "Surprise" in A Distant Center (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

Ha Jin, Chinese-American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, and Essayist