sugar doodles

Come and live with me in peace and safety, away from all the Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids.” Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I’ve suddenly found it odd
that sugar is made in factories.
don’t create a vision of Oompah Loompahs
this ain’t no Willie Wonka Land.

dark columns of steam and smoke
rise rusted from
ancient pipes wrapped in asbestos
crumbling mortar drips molasses
scorching and wracking havoc
on a beautiful prairie Fall.
effluent and burnt compounds
choke the throat and tear the eyes.
everyone here coughs
as if we were miners.
and so we are in a way.
for if we stay, we may die.
if the sugar beets leave, the town dies.

I still love candy.
chocolates and cookies.
but I eat them less as
football sized
Sugar beets
rising like villagers’ contributions
From An Englishman Went up a Hill
and it becomes an oozing
sort of mountain
at which we stare, beleaguered
October to February.
alternately dirt brown
with occasional ashy snow.

confusion registers frequently
how such a beast becomes that which
is crystalized and white.
the answer, as is often true
with all of us,
is oddly found
in darkness and blackness
in coal and coal and coal.
acids and dank water and chemicals.

still, sugar beets are important enough
that huge laden diesel trucks
travel day and night for 6 months
from Wyoming , Kansas, Nebraska
over icy highways.
in the Silvery smoke
vigorous skirmishes
Football and softball games
The Beetdiggers vie with Mustangs.

So as you sweeten your coffee lightly,
How far your teaspoon traveled


  1. Yes, the “factory” side of a city, the working side. It’s here on the plains too, not just in the “East.” Well crafted.

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