“death is no bluff…but just another trick to learn” by Mitch Hicks

Death is no bluff...but just another trick to learn
Snapped thru the art gallery window in the very windy town of Bluff by Mitch Hicks. I did not see the name of the artist of this dark forboding painting. I dedicate this poem to the late Shirley Ballard who passed away this week and much loved by Lisa Thayer

Shirley Ballard 1925 – 2012

Actress and Miss California 1944

Life be can full of sunshine

Death comes as torment

Friendship drives compassion

For Lisa and Shirley they were of different times

Blending past with present

New tricks to learn

Sorrow breaks as the midnight tide slips away

She made you smile Lisa despite decay

Mitch Hicks – U.K.

“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

“Fool’s Gold” by Chanel Brenner

I found the surprise

You left for me

In my journal

While I was in one of your

favorite restaurants

The place with the

cheesy eggs and cookies

shaped like hearts

I stumbled across it

While searching for

words like fool’s gold

In a river, sifting and sifting

and there it was

A golden nugget

A treasure

You would have called it

Your name  written backwards

YELIR, a trident for a Y

And a picture you drew

of yourself

your right arm up in the air

as if to say goodbye or hello.

Chanel Brenner

Dedicated In Loving Memory to

Riley Brenner

July 28th, 2004 – March 7th, 2011

© 2011

“Applesauce I Love You” by Chanel Brenner

Riley loved to make people laugh.

One of his favorite jokes was to kiss the container of applesauce I packed

in his lunch over and over again and declare,

Applesauce, I love you! I love you so much I want to marry you!”

His friends in class would laugh.

He would keep on kissing the applesauce

until he was sure that there was no more laughter.

So when you pick an apple off this tree, think of Riley.

And if you really love a particular fruit or vegetable

don’t be afraid to show it, even unabashedly kiss it

and proclaim your everlasting love and intent to marry it!

Even if people might look at you a little funny and wonder

why is that boy or girl kissing an eggplant?

Think of Riley and just go for it.

Maybe you will make someone laugh.

I know Riley would have.

Chanel Brenner

Dedicated In Loving Memory to

Riley Brenner

July 28th, 2004 – March 7th, 2011

© 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

“MY TURN” by Gary Seiden

Is there a finite amount of grief in this world,

that when fully felt by one, becomes available

for use by another? It seems to be

endless, but always dissipating,

even from the very beginning.

So perhaps,

like so many other things, we are only

guardians of this grief for a given amount of

time, and then someone


shoulders the burden.

Otherwise I think we’d go

(quite) mad with the constant sorrow, and

never allow the sun to shine again,

or love to reappear, as it always,



Gary Seiden

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

In loving memory…rest in peace Gary

“To My Father” by Ben Brandstein

Like an autumnal leaf

Gently waltzing with the wind

Here and there, until coming to rest

In a pool of water, causing the aquatic reflector

To wrinkle; I think of you and it takes some time

To remember to forget about you.

Would you be proud?

Would you praise or condemn these fingers

That feel whole when perched on a pen and not pig skin?

Cuticles stained with ink,

Trenches occasionally occupied by nylon.

Would you teach me anything significant?

I shaved with the help of magazines.

I learned how to treat a woman from the way

Clark Kent embraced Miss Lane.

The transcendent value of a dollar was taught to me

By a prepubescent entrepreneur across the street

Desperate for the missing quarters his lemonade was worth.

So what would you give me? Lessons? Gifts?

Happiness? A harmonic resonance to eradicate

These moments of dissonance?

Or perhaps your greatest gift was absence.

Instead of a young, pliable counterpart I am

Myself. My own source of instruction.

But when I am blessed with a child of my own

I will provide them with every single moment

I wish I could have had with you.

Ben Brandstein

Photograph by VC Ferry

© 2011

“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

VC Ferry

“The nature of life is one of fleeting irony. We hold ourselves high, humans, people. The truth of the matter, is that we are no different than any other living thing. Our life depends on a series of reactions, of events. Every minute, second, micro-second. We breath, eat, sleep. Yes, while it’s true we think, we are conscious, this consciousness does not mean we are immortal. A child’s hopes and dreams can be shattered, ended, by a wrong step and a absent minded driver just as easily as each of our steps can break a blade of grass. A man’s early retirement can be cut short by an ill timed swim and a nasty undercurrent just as easily I just ended the life of a mosquito that just landed on my arm. We aren’t supreme, just blades of grass, weeds, blowing in the wind. All just waiting for the single gust that knocks us down.”

Photo & Quote by VC Ferry

© 2010

“America, Once So Beautiful” by Roz Levine

Photo by L. K. Thayer


As in who spilled the beans


As in don’t cry over spilt milk


As in blood spilled across the land

And the blood spilled

Dripped cells of DNA

Of doubt and derision

Of death and destruction

As America

Once so beautiful

Flamed flesh to fire

And cities burned

And cities turned to ash

And cities turned to dust

And the spill of life

Turned to a thrill song

In bones of young ones

Sent to do deeds, so dirty

Young ones harvesting hatred

With brains depressed

Growing trauma buds

Where once love did bloom

But the hallow and hate

Harvested fetid rosebuds

Strewn across the land

Splayed over hard stone

Words inscribed

He was only 20

Our son

Our boy

He was only 20

When he spilled his blood

For folly’s sake

For Bush/Cheney lies

He was only 20

When he burned to ash

In his Hummer

On desert sands

He was only 20

Our son

Our boy

When he turned to nothing but

For America, once so beautiful

Roz Levine

© 2010