IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE #weekendcoffeeshare

 If we were having coffee, I’d be gushing over poet Adam O’Riordan, reading his words aloud.  He opens In the Flesh with a page-long poem called, simply, “Manchester”.


Manchester (in recovery from a terror attack) is the city of his birth.



In the Flesh is his first collection of poems, a winner of a Somerset Maugham Award.  Adam O’Riordan ~ imaginative, emotive. The world being as it is, you will do well to seek him out. Can I pick up a copy for you?

His next book, A Herring Famine, will be published in 2017 along with his debut book of stories, The Burning Ground.

I wonder if he is sporting this tattoo.  Would you be, if you were a Mancunian?


Artists are offering tattoos of a bee for £50 with all profits going to aid victims of the attack.

O’Riordon happens to be a Manchester native son. And nearly as famous as the bee, the enduring symbol of Manchester’s hard workers.  I read that in the 1800s, the city was awash with textile mills that were commonly described as ‘hives of activity’ and the workers inside them compared to bees.



The bee is everywhere in Manchester – on the clock face of the Palace Hotel, the mosaic flooring at Manchester Town Hall, and even above the arches of Links of London.



The beehive has long been one of the main symbols of the Cooperative Movement, representing working together for the good of the whole. I love that concept, don’t you?


I discovered that the folks at Bombas are big fans of bees too. Their whole hive works together to pollinate the world. When you buy a pair of socks, they donate a pair.  Isn’t that just a honey of an idea?  BTW, My socks just arrived and they are epic.

What are you waiting for? You, too, can have a shpadoinkle day! 


“The word Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee. Bees work together to make the hive a better place.  We like that. When we say Bee Better, we mean it as a mantra, a way of approaching every day. It’s stitched into the inside of every pair of Bombas for a reason. It’s a reminder that these socks are engineered and designed with thought to bee better. A reminder that you helped someone in need with your purchase. And a reminder that we’re all connected and little improvements can add up to make a big difference.”



I’m so grateful for poetry that heals my soul and socks that cradle my soles.  And, of course, bees.

Real bees never send invoices, do they?



Toni 5/29/17

Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. So says Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen says if he knew where the good songs came from he’d go there more often. All the poets and writers I know are on the hunt for that elusive place.


The Poet-turned-Pop Star says that poetry comes from a place that no one commands, that no one conquers. And yet, the poems come.





Poet Maureen Thorson decided to take up the challenge (modeled after National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo) and invited other poets to join her. Since then, the number of participants has grown larger every year, and many writers’ organizations ~ local, national and even international ~ host NaPoWriMo activities.


I’m celebrating here ~ at Poetic Asides, a website hosted by Robert Lee Brewer, senior editor at Writer’s Digest. It’s the 2015 April PAD Challenge, a poetic bacchanal. BYOP, of course.


The “PAD” stands for “poem-a-day.” So each and every morning, there’s a new poetry prompt. Brewer throws out a life preserver along with it ~ his own attempt at the prompt (wished for and welcome), then it’s my turn. And yours. There are plenty of poemming days left. Post as few or as many times as you like.


You can read the poetry, wallow in it, share it with your writing group, spread it across your social network. There are so many doors to open ~ start anywhere, walk ‘write’ in.

imagesBut if you want to be considered by a ream of genuine poet-judges for publication in the Poem Your Heart Out anthology, you need to post your poem in the comments. It’s free and easy ~ the prompts (open to space-warpingly vast interpretations) magically appear each morning.


Click here to join the fun.

Modern Poetry: Text Message Haiku

So, it’s now Day 12 of the April PAD Challenge and it’s been downright envibing so far. I am inspired by the poets, a neighborly, infectiously upbeat bunch. Last year, they gave me the idea to put some rocking’ glad rags on my iambs and start a brand new blog. Mental Crumbs~ in love with carbs and poetry gives my poems some stylin’ and profilin’ in honor of National Poetry Month.


I wonder if Leonard Cohen is appearing anywhere during National Poetry Month. His poetry is awe-inspiring, his words steady and lyrical. Cohen’s life is burning well. Everybody knows.

Toni 4/12/15


In her 79th year, poet Mary Oliver is still in love with life and still full of beans. It seems she and I are walking the same shore.


I recently discovered that Oliver left Provincetown and moved to Hobe Sound, a few miles south of me, to be near friends.

I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

I look to her for a celebration of the little things in nature. And the big things.


Ocean     (by Mary Oliver)

I am in love with the Ocean

Lifting her thousands of white hats

In the chop of the storm,

Or lying smooth and blue, the

Loveliest bed in the world.

In the personal life, there is

Always grief more than enough,

A heart-load for each one of us

On the dusty road. I suppose

There is a reason for this, so I will be

Patient, acquiescent. But I will live

Nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting

Equally in all the blast and welcome

Of her sorrowless, salt self.

Mary and Molly 1

Molly Malone Cook, Oliver’s partner for over forty years, died of cancer in 2005.  In 2012, Oliver faced her own battle.


In Blue Horses, she writes with grace and gravity from her “platform of many years” and her recent triumph over cancer.

Oliver’s perception is acute.  She points out the wild and the quiet, what we all might see if we take the time and have the patience to truly look.

I wonder if we are both looking at the same double rainbow over our shared sea. If I meet her (some end-of-the-rainbow jackpot that would be) at the café in town or on a meander under the twisty-knotted banyan trees, I’ll say, Have you noticed this wonderful thing? 


It seems there’s always a message in her words just for me. But mostly, there’s just beauty.

Toni 2/24/15