Hansel and Gretel and the Gumball Machine


 (or Hopscotch and Jump-Rope Color Theory)

Some people are humans – a collection of parts that learn, through trial and error, to experience life as a whole (ish) being. Some parts get lost or get misplaced or forgotten, but most of them find their way home. There’s something to be said for meeting a real person: it’s a kind of magic. 

Then some people are androids – lots of little parts held together inside a transparent case of a human simulation. Rather like a gumball machine: a thousand different people inside a giant head of plastic or glass. None of those people remember each other. And only some of those people recognize each other. You never know what part of them you will encounter. Put in a quarter. Did you not get the part you wanted? Hmmmm….try another quarter… 

over the river and into the woods/over a bridge that is manned by a troll
who will ask for your life as collateral [toll]/ to the gingerbread house that is owned by a witch
who will roast you for dinner and spit out your bones/ hold your years all in escrow, call due all your loans/ crush your efforts to breadcrumbs and block the way home/ but; if you mark the way well with a cumulation of stones
an assortment of colors each a step of its own you might yet escape danger/ – and what of the stones?
Be sure to collect them, of course, if you will;/ There’s gold in them thar hills.

Or a gumball machine that needs to be filled. 

yellow is for suckers
red is for the weak

green and blue and purple are your youth’s misguided streak

orange is utterly useless
pink for fools and dreams

tan and mauve and violet when there’s fraying at the seams

coral is just ridiculous
try goldenrod in vain

O – did orchid salmon firebrick not make you whole again?

indigo’s a trickster
gamboge cloaks a secret shame

pearl and alexandrite make a tsar an indigent

periwinkle’s an illusion
and emerald’s a false hope

brown and moss and sarcoline will teach you how to cope

hyacinth for excess
sanguineous for harm

plumbeous and ochre – ah, now you’re getting warm

nigricant is closer
eburnean almost there

albicant and atrous: now that’s the magic pair

gray is for confusion
silver for chance delight

gunmetal and ash mean loss of clarity and sight



white for the rage
white for the pain

white for the frost that creeps in low to make it numb again


black for the anger
black for the hurt

black for the nothing that smothers life and silences a world


But then….

Silver is the quarter that goes in the machine
Silver is the crank that turns and starts it all again
Silver is the spiral down which the ball will drop
Silver is the doorway ‘gainst which the ball will stop


[yellow is for suckers…]


Note: This is an update/rethink of a previous poem. It was once just called Color Theory).


It also kinda fits the Daily Prompt: Calm


4 thoughts on “Hansel and Gretel and the Gumball Machine

  1. This is my favorite post! It strikes so close to my heart because I’ve been making my transition from being an android type being into a real human. And the experience has been the most liberating thing I’ve faced in my life. I’ve noticed that many of the android type people became that way because they faced horrible tragedies in their life that forced them to divide themselves into many different “gum balls” (or personalities as I’ve interpreted it) and once I realized the reason why I became an android it sent me into a spiral into learning how to be human again. Since then I’ve experienced many real human beings that have helped push me along in that process. Thank you for this ! ❤️🤘🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also – not that u asked this, but I’m explaining anyway (must be that teacher gene). I always wondered how Hansel and Gretel found their way back home, after dear old dad tried to lose them in the woods the first time. I know the text has Hansel dropping stones to mark the path, but that always struck me as odd – they’re in the forest! How could he tell which stones were his? And it’s intriguing that in some versions, he picks them back up as they make their way home. Well that got me thinking about stones, and how the OT uses them for remembrance…like all the time. Building an altar for dedication or pay or commemoration, calling on stones as witnesses. And I thought about that: a stone being a witness and a way home, but unique enough to pick out on sight from a forest. And then, of course, there’s always a witch. Writing is fun…


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