Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First Lines Second Thoughts — Philip Roth and Portnoy's Complaint

She was so deeply imbedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise.

First Lines Second Thoughts is an occasional look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, on the day of his passing, we look at the opening lines of Philip Roth's controversial novel, Portnoy's Complaint.

Published in 1969,  Portnoy's Complaint is a continuous monologue of Alex Portnoy to his psychoanalyst. The novel was considered scandalous at the time for its explicit language and vivid descriptions of of masturbation. It was banned from many libraries, and Australia too.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Stacy Rae Lake is Something Current for Now

photo © Mark Butkus 2010
Now I am a boat resting at a dock.

When I looked down at the beach
My toes were made of crumbling sand
Each grain of sand spoke to me
offering significant steps to unfoldment

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Nora May French asks, How Ends The Day?

photo © Mark Butkus 2016
The end of day at the Mission in Carmel.

We wandered where the violets bloom,
    beside the sunlit stream.
We saw, where on the crystal waves,
    the water lilies dream.
Their gold hearts wreathed in leaves of
    pearl, all silvered by the sun,
We heard the brook laugh as it swayed
    their bright heads one by one;
Yet no smile dawned upon your face, to
    chase the tears away.
"The waters cease, the lilies fade, in
    darkness ends the day."

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bar None — Brenda Hawley and Passing a Hangover

photo © Mark Butkus 2010
Remnants of the night before.

My mind is numb today
Everyday play, play, play
Need to take a break today
I declare today a movie day

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — Harry Truman as a Child

Born this day, 1884, Happy Birthday Harry!

The fields were boxed into sounds, weren’t they,
as carefully as books beside your bed,
and a necktie draped for the next day on a chair?

And you owned it all, didn’t you?
You owned the priceless fields
and start of day as warm as Mama’s voice.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Where the Wild Things Sleep

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
The Rock House in Anza Borrego Desert is home to many an overnight hiker.

Desert silhouettes
Winter creosote
Dusk escapes
Through fissures
In rock walls
White contrails
Turn pink
Before dissipating

Monday, April 30, 2018

An Untitled Poem About Grand Central Station

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Track 23 at Grand Central Station.

"Grand Central, let 'em out please, watch the doors!"
In His own image did He make all men.
"One ham on rye, I'll have a coke, what's yours?"
From Adam's side our mother moves again.