Dark (Photo credit: England)

I sense upon me the opalescent eye
of the one I’m too close to.
I feel your breath, tempting, on memories
of my once-bare boy-cheeks.
There’s a warm, soft magic to this dreaming
I do with lights on, where I conjure up
an other that might be—possibly, probably,
might as well be—out of the sirroccos
that whirl within the boarded-up windows
of this abandoned tenement where
the not-so-secret artist hides.
And if this vague litany of the
poet’s process, seemingly (though never)
under the influence of some alluring muse,
proves too confusing for you to read,
imagine the bruised face on the vagrant
who strides within. I’ve lost count
of the exact number of steps,
this rosary of words, to that
now-blooded far wall. But we’ve built up
some momentum here, so I know
this one’s going to hurt.
Maybe that’s why I might be smiling.


Big News, Big Thanks

This has been quite a couple of weeks or so for the poet/writer/photographer/dog-walker of A Thing for Words.

I’ve been encouraged to post the news of my spectacularly lucky time over that period and those of you who really know me understand that such things make me squirmily uncomfortable. But I owe it to the good folks who made all this possible to spread the word.

On January 18, 2013, the journal The Cossack Review came out in its beautiful new first printed iteration. This issue included my poems Nightfall, Another November and Backstage at the Firmament. A couple of faves of mine.

This week, I got hold of this photo of the leaf-festooned publication sitting among a rather high-class bunch of peers on a bookshop shelf in Santa Cruz, California.

Cossack in Santa Cruz

Even I thought that was cool!

If you would like to purchase a copy, you may do so at the Cossack Review website.

On January 30, 2013, the folks at, upon whose magic aether-traversing machinery you view this blog, selected my poem Infernal Affairs to showcase on the Freshly Pressed feature of the home page.

In notifying me of this honor, Fresh Pressed story wrangler Michelle Weber said of my twisty reminiscence of newspaper days, “We really enjoyed it, and we know the rest of the community will too – we always enjoy featuring poetry, and this piece struck us as particularly unique and evocative.” Oooba dooba, eh?

Michelle also told me to expect new readers. I should say so! So many great new folks stopped by to read, like, and comment on Infernal Affairs and others of my versish burbles! And a massive pile of them have since subscribed to the blog. (I don’t suppose one of you is an agent or publisher who might be interested in a collection of poems—entitled Penumbra—portraying the mid-shadow life of a middle-aged, mid-shadowed poet, are you?)

This week, I learned that the poetry anthology Signal from Static, in which a fistful of my poems appear, has hit the digital and analog bookshelves. Signal is published by my dVerse colleague Anna Montgomery’s imprint, Chromatopias, and includes examples of work by many of my poet friends and colleagues.


You can purchase a copy of Signal from Static in paperback from or the Kindle version from

I’d like extend my deepest gratitude to all of the wonderful folks who have supported and encouraged me and my work over the past couple of years. As some of you know, I never set out to be a poet, but son of a gun, that’s what ya’ll have helped me become. And I thank you for that and so much more.


Lying on my back in the woods

Lying on my back in the woods (Photo credit: Christopher Robbins)

When I had the blues,
the whole of life
required me to look Up,
just to be.
I’ve got friends
in Australia and
South Africa
who are just
as certain
they’re heads,
trees, and
are pointed
skyward, i.e. “Up.”
Though there are
some dopes who would
think otherwise.
I guess it’s all in
your point of view.
A supreme being,
from a supreme
sees the Earth
and the Sun,
and its giraffes,
and me
falling, spinning
out of control,
through this
limitless Universe,
and thinks any
Northern hemispheric bias
and bottom-of-the-blues-well
world view are
In that light,
I’ll just lie
here on the grass,
I think horizontally,
but it really
doesn’t matter,
just to be.

Slap and Tickle

The slap and flop of bare feet in sandals
on the sidewalk this April morning,
even at forty-five degrees—temperature,
not the angles of her sweet ankles—
roused me to the fact that it’s really Spring.
Even more so than those weeds I ignore
bursting through what passes for lawn
in front of my house, or those birds chirping
their raucous reveille each earlier morning,
or those creek-cruising toads peeping
lullabies to me and love songs to toadettes at night.
Not quite sure what this dialed-in observation
of an anonymous woman’s footwear says about
what tickles this old poetic chronicler
of the seasons, except maybe his sap
still can rise when the post-equinox sun does.

© 2012 Joseph Hesch

Another ten-minute from-the-carpark-to-the-desk poem for April and my poem-a-day attempt. In this case, a too-true observation of the passing feminine parade and its effect on my mindfully open poetic (OK, and masculine) senses.

Poetry Showcased by My Friend, Author Al Boudreau

My friend, author Al Boudreau, is generously featuring my work on his Website today, the first anniversary of my entering the Blogosphere. I’d like to thank Al for his terrific support. I’m forever stunned when artists like Al tell me they enjoy my words. I’d like to thank, as well, all who have found their way to A Thing for Words over the past year. You give me reason to keep believing I can do this.

You can find Al’s great blog at:

Once again, deepest gratitude to Al and all my friends for your interest and support.

A Sweetheart of an Award

Depending on how deeply you drill into the definition in your German:English dictionary, the word liebster, means dearest  or sweetheart. Recently, my dear/dearer/dearest friend, the sweet-heart British poet Louise Hastings, presented me with a Liebster Blog Award.  Louise best fits that German translation among all the folks I’ve met in my one year out here in the digital wilderness. I unabashedly love this darling girl to bits!

In accepting this award, along with the new skill of gracious acceptance Louise is trying to teach me–rather than my native incredulity–I must agree to:

1. Show my thanks to the blogger who gave me the award by linking back to them. (Every day, and exponentially here.) Louise’s blog, Wings Over Waters, is must-read stuff each and every day if you wish to go places you’ve never been or places you forgot you had.

2. Reveal my top 5 picks for the award and let them know I have selected them as I have been selected. (Love these folks and their blogs. Sorted and complete.)

3. Post the award on my blog. (Obviously–you’re reading this.)

4. According to Louise, bask in the love from the most supportive people in the Blogosphere. (Without you, there is no Poet Guy me!)

5. And, finally – have fun and spread the karma! (Cool, I’m a giver at heart. Hey! I am!)

Since I can’t pick Louise and Wings Over Waters, here are my five picks:

Beth Winter (Twitter handle: @beth_winter) has become a good friend and supporter of the Joe Hesch that pops up around the Web. Her blog, Eclipsing Winter, is where she posts her poetry, prose, and “anything else my itchy pen decides to scratch.” Beth also treats us to some cool photographs from not only her native fruited plains of Kansas but around the world at her blog, Eclipsing Winter. 

Ginny Brannan (@GinnyBrannan) is a lot like yours truly, a writer and poet who, as she says, “Came this dance a bit later than some.” But, as she also notes, on her her blog, Inside Out Poetry, the most important thing is that she came here. She is justifiably proud her inner poet and writer has finally emerged… the dreamer was always there! Plus, Ginny’s a homegirl from the chill of the Northeast. A prolific blogger, you can read Ginny’s verse and opinion at Inside Out Poetry

Anthony Desmond (@iamEPanthony) is a twenty year old Detroit born writer. Raised and homeschooled by his single mother, he first discovered his God-given gift for writing at the age of sixteen. His work is eccentric, abstract, and badass. He is intrigued by pain & sadness, and explores these emotions across a wide array of subject areas: politics, death, religion, and the struggles of everyday life. His poetry is honest, unadulterated and often breathtaking. You can be absorbed by the pen of this gifted young man at The Glass Staircase

Joanna Lee (@la_poetessa) is one of those Renaissance people who can do it all, but you like them anyway because they’re so damn sweet and cool. An M.D. in Richmond, Virginia, Joanna’s acaemic and professional journey was not creatively barren, however; an entire section of her first book, the somersaults I did as I fell, was inspired by the intimate experiences she had with life and death while on clinical rotations. A hardworking promoter of poetry events in the Richmond area, Joanna’s own beautiful writing and photography can be found on her blog The Tenth Muse.

My other Renaissance woman named Lee selection, Diana Lee (@Diana605) is a terrific supporter of this old poet guy, but is, most importantly, a brilliant poet and photographer. Her poetry can be found at Diana’s Words and her verse-illuminated photgraphy (21st Century haiga, anyone?) is hung at Life Through Blue Eyes. Diana is one of the greatest supporters of art and poetry in the Twitterverse.

There are many other people I wish I could have chosen to give this award, but according to its rules, I could only pick five. I hope they will pick up some I couldn’t. I appreciate you all as friends and straight up commentators and all readers should take a look at your blogs/sites. They’ll enrich your life. I guarantee it. I love all of them! 

The Eve, the Day, the Joy

By Joseph Hesch

On the Eve and Day of Joy,
the presents were covered
in their smooth and sparkling raiment,
as were the trees and roads
in their fresh-snow greeting card grandeur.
Come the gathering, all those wrappings,
of packages and countryside,
were torn by child and adult,
each in their own way—
hand, scissor, sled, SUV. 
The magic was so quickly broken,
And what was smooth wonder
and sparkling mystery
the night before and at dawn,
had been torn, crumpled, stained
and rendered debris and nuisance
to everyone’s continued joy.
Moms and Dads near-curse the mess
of late-day. Kids ignore or revel in its chaos.
On Boxing Day the broken ugliness
of cold fact will be exposed.
Yet all will be forgotten with the advent
of a new year, a new hope,
a new anticipation
for the sleek magic of the Eve and
the Day we came together
and were joyously unbroken.