Thursday, April 30, 2015

chicago in may

photo © Mark Butkus 2014.

chicago in may
is a welcome reminder
of where we were

chicago in may
with its creaky steps
and morning pots of coffee

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Immortality and Vulnerability: A Huge Weight

Photo © Nadine Robbins 2015.
The poets and artists of Immortality and Vulnerability.

There is an exciting new art show with a twist of poetry at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. Immortality and Vulnerability blends together artists and poets, the art and the poetry, in a month long exhibit.

Media for Immortality and Vulnerability states that, "In this exhibition, the invited artists and poets have been asked to reinterpret the idea of immortality and vulnerability in a personal, psychological or social manner and provide the viewer with a contemporary glimpse into an age old concept."

Immortality and Vulnerability is that rare occasion when two art forms come together to create a new visual and cerebral experience. Didi Menendez, publisher/editor at Poets and Artists curated the poetry for the exhibition. Didi also curated the art alongside Sergio Gomez of the Zhou B Arts Center. The wide open space of the second floor gallery lends itself well to the overall feel of the exhibition as the viewer can be left feeling vulnerable in the gallery's expanse.

In the coming days The Bar None Group is going to highlight poetry from the poets featured in Immortality and Vulnerability. Today we shine the spotlight on Vincent Katz's poem, A Huge Weight.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Basic Questions

photo © Mark Butkus 2014

So, I ask
what all humans have asked
from the very beginning,
the primary questions
we all ask ourselves,
that we ask our imaginations
unless we are willing to take
someone else's word for it,
because who else is there to ask,
unless we invent someone,
and how can any answer come to be
unless someone imagines it first?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Urban Nature

photo © Mark Butkus 2015
The poem as a movie or the movie as a poem?

Act I

No words need be spoken
Inhaling loudly,
She is mindful and content.
The only artifice here
A camera in her gear;
This instant in a frame
As wonders engulf her,
She claims.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Never Goodbye

photo © Mark Butkus 2012

When your last poem crashes
into the shores of my soul like a rogue wave,
I will incline myself and dive into its offerings,
knowing there are jewels awaiting those who strive to go
beneath the shallows and into deeper waters,
trusting the tides to carry them back home —
I will not fear the darkness or the light that stretches
above the slow currents as mist.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Charles Mingus

photo © Mark Butkus 2008
A poem for my cousin Roby Zaher in Antwerp, Belgium

Did we discover Reincarnation Of A Love Bird at the same time?
Did we ever imagine that we would share the printed word,
Or strawberries and wine?

But there you did go, and there I went too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — Shakespeare Writes His Wife

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
William Shakespeare — Born in April. Died in April.

I roamed today
and saw the sovereign.

Sweet wife, she is such as we;
do you remember our long walk,
when the banns were published,
and a lark was startled into flight?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pardlo Wins Pulitzer for Poetry


It was announced today that Gregory Pardlo was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Pardlo's second volume of poetry — Digest — was cited as having, "clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private."

Rug in My Bud

image © Mark Butkus
An ode to a certain plant on 4/20.

Sometimes life's flush, bud in my rug
Sometimes life sucks, rug in my bud

Sitting here not thinking in my carpet of green
4 legged friends...park's a crazy scene                                  
No bullies, no punks, it's a beautiful day                                                 
Sweet Mary, let me slip by, ‘til I'm safe in my cave

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pacifist Jazz

© Mark Butkus

Nights are always long
When you are left alone
When memories are left to chance

Maybe that’ll be good enough
to remember some day
Maybe that’ll be
A good line someday

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Baudelaire's À une Dame créole


Au pays parfumé que le soleil caresse,
J'ai connu, sous un dais d'arbres tout empourprés
Et de palmiers d'où pleut sur les yeux la paresse,
Une dame créole aux charmes ignorés.