Madness Deepens

“It Is Not Over Yet”

Today was a day when rain poured against shattered hearts

Breaking pieces like a drumroll, sinking droplets upon surrender

Thickening air against chest conpressions, loss of breath

Gasping for relief from this winding road, where footprints are lost


Gathering the strength to be strong for the battle

Yet tears flood palms, black stained cheeks of sorrow

Screams fill the mind of weakened prosperity

This load to carry, being pulled down by gravity


Now that the storm has passed, I look up

As night pushes up the day, I will take you by the hand

I will hold with all I have, here where we stand

I will not let you die, and be left there


Where God knows where…..


If I could, I would, wish it be me

To take it all away, to take this pain

Give it to my body – oh Lord – hear my plea

I will sacrifice myself for her to be free….


Burden of shifting cells, ripping away the soul

Making the thoughts become uncertain

Shaken, taken, and left out to dry

Just don’t close the curtain


Red velvet strands, dripping from incision

Tubes of filtered forgiveness, clotting memories

The great depression, lies upon whispering winds

The storm is here, pouring out clouds of confusion


There will come a time,

When the storm brings it’s rainbow

Across your heart,

Bringing sunshine, from above


On my knees, without a word from silent lips

But a loud scream, against my soul

Tears falling upon the floor, puddling

Then I saw you, there, a shining light


Sigh no more, mother, cry not a tear

For God is there to make your dreams better than hopes

He has his arms around you, tightly

Sigh no more, mother, he will help you cope…


– Madness Deepens

© 2013

“Miss Calif. 1944” by L.K. Thayer

"feline with fruit"

she lies there, her mouth gaping open like a baby bird

not wanting to eat but waiting to grasp death

her body heaves every morsel of sustenance up

she is aching to leave the nowness

she is a ghost of herself

a white corpse that they keep plugged in

sucking up her insurance

stuck in a barbed wire nest

the baby bird wants to fly to heaven

she is in between, no strength to scream

no more words, no more coffee, no more cigarettes

no more television or snickers bars,

she just wants ginger ale.

Shadow, Shadow, Shadow, she cries for her cat

misses him more than her dead husband

let her go. Why can’t they just let her go?

I kiss her forehead. she says my skin is soft,

I say so is hers. I tell her it’s alright to go now.

no more beauty pageants, no more titles, coke

or Frank Sinatra, no more bowling trophies

or casting calls, no more rejection. let her go

her life hurts of emptiness, she can’t swallow it any more

Blanche Dubois without the streetcar and no desire

on her lips, let her go…

she’s been there and done this and that,

smoked crack, she doesn’t want her life back,

take her off life support, she is coming up short,

if I could assist her suicide I would,

have mercy on her, we do it for animals,

but we let people suffer,

how cruel to let her lie in her waste and wallow.

It kills me to see her wither. Her voice once so deep

barely a whisper, now only a skeleton of her former self

my BFF, my darling neighbor, Miss CA. 1944.

no more tiaras, no more crowns, no more L.A. Times

off with her head, let the red queen go,

gently into that good night, please,

tuck her in

she has written her last poem…

her last rhyme

Shadow, Shadow, Shadow

it’s dinner time

(“Shadow & the apple” photo by L.K. Thayer)

© 2012

“SZYMBORSKA” by Jack Grapes

I came home
Wednesday night from class
and Lori was ensconsed
like a caterpillar in a cocoon
on the bed, watching a movie on tv
about crazy people who fall in love
and break china.
“Szymborska died,” I said.

She reached for the remote and shut the tv off.
The room expanded into that quiet bubble we experience
when we shut off the tv.

She looked at me and said nothing.

What was there to say?

A friend dies, a poet dies, poetry lives on:
There’s nothing you can say.

It’s like turning off the tv,
and their passing
fills the space of our lives
with all that silence.
A balloon of being and nothingness,
a reduction of existence into a series
of appearances, overcoming those dualisms
that have embarrassed philosophy
and replacing them with the monism
of the phenomenon.

I put the clipboard I still had in my hand on the dresser
and began to undress. Then I got in the bed and lay beside her.
We still hadn’t spoken.

Szymborska was gone.

We just lay there for a bit, in the silence,
not sure who would break it,
not sure whose turn it was
to turn the moment
back into words.
You need a poet at a time like this,
and the poet was gone.

There was a small crack in the ceiling.
And a tiny cobweb in the corner.
Later, Lori’d probably get on a chair and with a tissue
wipe it away. That was her job, getting
those little tiny spider webs
gone before they engulfed the house,
our lives, the planet. Don’t
worry, dear reader, she’s on the job.
You will be safe.

“What’s my job?” asks Lori when she’s nagging me.
And I repeat the mantra: “To take care of me.”

But for now, with Szymborksa’s passing
still blooming into silence,
the cobweb would have to wait,
the crack would just have to bide its time.

Such a long silence.

Then I thought, fuck it.
I reached for the remote, and clicked the tv back on.

There went a teacup.
There went another.
It was good to get back
to a semblance of the world,
all that love and passion,
all those broken teacups.

Jack Grapes

(Author/Poet/Method Writing Teacher)

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2012

Wislawa Szymborska – 1923-2012 – R.I.P.

A Few Words on the Soul

We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

Born in Poland, Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. Her latest book, Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, was published by W. W. Norton & Co. in May, 2001. (2001)

“Last Call” by Chanel Brenner

Life is not really life at all.

It is the mask that death wears

To a costume at His own ball.

It is the glitter and gold

of His decorations

It is the intoxication of the drinks

He is serving.

It is the beauty of the music

He is orchestrating.

It is the last call,

Of His calling.

We know it is a disguise

Yet we play along

What else are we to do?

We attend.

We dance.

We drink.

We listen.

We go home.

Chanel Brenner

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2011

In loving memory of poet William H. Hetznecker III




“There is a silence between the songs of Robins.

I miss you dear Father of mine.”

Matthew Hetznecker

By Sally A. Downey

Inquirer Staff Writer

William H. Hetznecker III, 79, of Malvern, a child psychiatrist and poet, died Friday, April 1, of pneumonia at Broomall Presbyterian Village.From 1967 to 1987, Dr. Hetznecker treated youngsters at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. In 1974 he cowrote the book On Behalf of Children, a survey of problems and the progress of community child psychiatry in the United States. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, he worked with the Crisis Intervention Network to help reduce gang violence in North Philadelphia.

Dr. Hetznecker, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Temple University Medical School, taught students and residents at St. Christopher’s to develop compassion for the suffering of their young patients, son Paul said.

After leaving St. Christopher’s, Dr. Hetznecker was a vice president of Clinical Affairs for TAO Inc., a managed-care company in Philadelphia specializing in mental health and chemical dependency.

For 30 years, he was also a consultant to various institutions including the Philadelphia, Upper Merion, and Lower Merion School Districts.

Dr. Hetznecker served as an examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Child Psychiatry.

He began writing poetry in 1950, and in 1998 he retired to devote himself his second passion, his son said. His work was published in poetry journals, including the American Poetry Newsletter, the Literary Forum Anthology, and the Blue Satellite.

He often read his poems at the Tyme Gallery in Havertown. In a tribute, the gallery’s website said, “Bill had a true understanding of the human spirit.”

Dr. Hetznecker grew up in Evanston, Ill., where he was the star running back on his high school football team. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University, a medical degree from Loyola University in Chicago, and later a master’s degree in radiation biology from the University of Rochester.

After completing an internship at Indianapolis’ General Hospital, he was a physician for the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington and on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. He completed a residency in psychiatry at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., and had a fellowship in child psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.

Besides writing poetry, he enjoyed jazz and classical music. He and his wife, Noreen Ryan Hetznecker, were subscribers to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Wilma Theater, and the People’s Light and Theater Company. The couple met in Chicago and married in 1957. He was her helper after she became blind in the 1990s.

His health began to decline after she died in 2008, their son said. “They weren’t meant to be apart. He truly died of a broken heart,” he said.

In addition to his son, Dr. Hetznecker is survived by sons Matthew, Dan and James; a daughter, Sarah; and nine grandchildren.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, and 8:30 to 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 6, at Stretch Funeral Home, 236 E. Eagle Rd., Havertown. A Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 6, at St. Margaret’s Church, 208 N. Narberth Ave., Narberth.

Donations may be made to Elephant Listening Project, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850.

Our heartfelt condolences Matthew…L. K. Thayer

“SKIN DEEP” by Keven Bellows


The top of maroon cotton pajamas,
embroidered dragon, frog closings,
is all I have left that touched
his skin–lovely back, strong arms.
It was in the hamper, safe from
my helpful children,
as they blew through his closet
like a March wind, boxing Armani suits,
cashmere sweaters, Turnbull& /Asher shirts,
giving them all away just days
after he died.

When my father died in his bed,
fifty years ago, I arrived home,
raced upstairs to smell his sheets,
but the bed had been changed.
Wild for some lingering scent of him
I leapt into his closet, sat on his shoes,
hugged his beautiful suits.

On assignment, the fashion editor brought
those pajamas to Jim from Hong Kong.
He was moved by the gift
but didn’t wear pajamas, until
frail and cold with age
when his fingers couldn’t work the corded knots.

He’d sit on the edge of the bed, struggling.
I’d get up, go ‘round to help him,
saying again, ”Why do you wear these?”
Exasperated. And he’d put his arms around
my waist as I fumbled with the loops.

Keven Bellows

© 2011

“Last Years Shadow” by Mitch Hicks


Last years shadow
Where do they go
Shadows and years
Tell me
Do they age
Will my shadow live on
I hope so
Years are like bad dreams
They haunt you
More than you think
My shadow looked on as I was being exhumed
For the first time I saw my death face
Yes it was a dream
Seeing my demise looking grey but at peace
Years are like death they happen and don’t return
Make friends of your shadow
Dance with the year
Embrace both showing not an ounce of fear

Poem & Snap by Mitch Hicks, U.K.

© 2011

“pre-coffee self absorbed Sunday morning private pre-poem mind ramblings” by Sam Spade


Time, Where did it go?

I sit here

Wondering on God’s thumbnail

My place in the whole scheme of things

Did I make the right decisions?

If time is infinite

Then I should meet myself

Back where I started

On that infinite bow tie loop,

If I made the right decisions?

If I made the right decisions

Would I be looking at myself now

Across God’s thumbnail

Thirty degrees to the left

My other self

thirty degrees to the right.

Should I have not merged with myself by now

On God’s thumbnail.

Or did I make all the right decisions

And just don’t comprehend.

Across a chasm of lost time.

Do I jump

Risking eternal damnation

In a loop of lost time.

Or am I in hell on the infinite loop time

Self absorbed

Separated from myself

By myself

Thirty degrees to the left

I jump

Reunited with myself

Happy, joyous, and free

On the infinite bowtie loop of lost time


God’s Thumbnail.

Sam Spade

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010