Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Poet Gone: An Elegy for Gord Downie

Gord Downie 1964-2017

I drown my sorrows
in an empty glass

Wiping up memories
with a spastic cloth

Dancing with the
shadows of ghosts

As 1990 You
bounce off the walls

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sidecar Serendipity

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Motorcycle dreams: past, present and future...

I got to see the
light of a smile
upon the face
of a 79 year old child

An inquisitive child
who once rode a bike
from Asia to Europe
in a simpler time

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tonto — No un poema de cinco de mayo

Recuerde el Alamo
Recuerde el Maine
Recuerda la batalla de Puebla
Recuerda la batalla de Gettysburg
Recuerde que ninguno es una fiesta nacional
patrocinada por licores o cerveza.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Steam Dream: Julian Tuwim and The Locomotive

A big locomotive has pulled into town,
Heavy, humongous, with sweat rolling down,
A plump jumbo olive.
Huffing and puffing and panting and smelly,
Fire belches forth from her fat cast iron belly.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elizabeth Barrett Browning and The Cry of the Children

Spring blooms at Whitney Rest Area at mile marker 93 on the westbound lanes of I-24 in Kentucky.
Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers—
And that cannot stop their tears.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Egg in A Dog-Eared Notebook

Do you remember when
Easter weekends were
Four day getaways
with a half day headstart?

Monday, April 10, 2017


Injured souls
Lap from Empty Bowls
Tasting the last drops of Happiness
That left them

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

An Elegy of Happenstance for Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg died today
and I was reading his poems
That was just the way the book unfolded
as my day unfolded otherwise

He was ranting He was raving
in his poetic ways
On and on, on poisoned lands
and money grubbing corporate hands
I wondered what he'd write today

Monday, April 3, 2017

Donald Trump's Childhood Ode to Baseball

Will the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs repeat in 2017?

Play ball! Another season of baseball is upon us and the New York Times has an interesting article about presidents throwing out the first pitch. What struck us the most was the last paragraph. That last paragraph is a poem to baseball by the 12-year-old Donald Trump.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chynna Chilton Invites You to Climb on Board to the Party of the Year

Close your eyes and make a wish...
Ya know if you’re feeling frozen, lonesome or blue
I think I know a remedy just for you.
Come to Barra de Navidad here on the bay
Where we all say hello while we’re on our way.

So round up some friends, you don’t have to go far
We’ll fill up some coolers and gas up the car
Bring some cerveza and make some ceviche
Climb on board, we’re off to the beach, eh!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Peace Path

Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies. #WeComeFromEverything

This path our people walked
one hundred two hundred                  endless years
since the tall grass opened for us
and we breathed the incense that sun on prairie
                                                    offers to sky

Monday, March 20, 2017

Si tú y yo, Teresa mía, nunca...

photo © Mark Butkus 2010
¡Feliz aniversario mi amor!

Si tú y yo, Teresa mía, nunca
nos hubiéramos visto,
nos hubiéramos muerto sin saberlo:
no habríamos vivido.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

New York at Sunrise as Seen by Anna Hempstead Branch

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
The Empire State pierces the morning fog.

When with her clouds the early dawn illumes
Our doubtful streets, wistful they grow and mild
As if a sleeping soul grew happy and smiled,
The whole dark city radiantly blooms.
Pale spires lift their hands above the glooms

Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish Poet Katharine Tynan and The Wind that Shakes the Barley

There's music in my heart all day,
I hear it late and early,
It comes from fields are far away,
The wind that shakes the barley.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Confessions of a Part-time Mourner

On a daily basis, I am compelled
to read Journey's End,
my newspaper's linguistic fig leaf
for the death notices column.

I focus my morbid curiosity
on the younger ones first.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Liberation 2011 by Liz Parkin.

I’ve HAD the silent TREATMENT
I can’t take all the QUIET
RIOT! Get IT out!!
Yes, you THOUGHT that you could GOAD me

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Sorting peaches in Georgia. #WeComeFromEverything

A crate of peaches straight from the farm
has to be maintained, or eaten in days.
Obvious, but in my family, they went so fast,
I never saw the mess that punishes delay.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Second Nocturne of Mildred Hagg

Once hills I knew would lose their
    shape at night;
A moon would half tones of old
    ivory be;
Soft night sounds and half-uttered
    words diffuse

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Checking Out at Lent

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
A kharmic connection at the checkout line?

brought me here
It wasn't the car
I rode in for 13 hours
Carving a slice
through America's breadbasket
It was something else

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Brief Times Spent

The contemplative poet high atop Bear Lake.

A cool spring stroll
on Couchiching's shore
hesitantly welcomes you
back from Mexico's warmth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Heart of it All

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Happy Valentine's Day!

It's not the shoes or the clothes
The color or style of your hair
Nor the size of your wallet or waist

It's not what shade you put on your face
The color or length of your nails
Nor the matching watch or fitness bracelet

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Artist's Easel — The Inspirational Art of Marylou Falstreau

One Day She Woke Up to Share Art and Poetry.

How do you quench your thirst in the desert? I guess it all depends on what you are thirsting for. Last fall in the California desert we came across the art and poetry of Marylou Falstreau. It was like coming across a canteen of water in the desert. It was welcome. It was needed. And it sustained us...temporarily.

As a person needs water, a writer needs inspiration and we followed up with Marylou to learn more about her art. Her poetry and her passion. This is what she had to say.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Richard Eberhart's The Groundhog on this Day

There's no telling whether these "groundhogs" saw their shadow in Arroyo Seco, Mexico.

In June, amid the golden fields,
I saw a groundhog lying dead.
Dead lay he; my senses shook,
And mind outshot our naked frailty.
There lowly in the vigorous summer
His form began its senseless change,

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First Lines Second Thoughts — H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man

First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, on this winter day, we look at the opening lines of H. G. Wells' classic, The Invisible Man. The tale was initially serialized in Pearson's Weekly before publication as a novel later that same year — 1897.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — Fire

Fire touches fire
and in the meeting
is put out til morning
when we, in bed,
watch it rising from the east.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Russell Rosander's Spirit Dance

Neptuno y Sirena en Barra de Navidad, Mexico

I have seen my spirit
hiding in the dense core of a stone,
catching sunlight 
in the waves of the sea,
flowing wild and free

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Little Red Rooster for a Blues Chinese New Year

photo © Mark Butkus 2013
The rooster symbolizes fidelity, punctuality and exorcises evil spirits.

Happy Chinese New Year! To celebrate Chinese New Year how about cooking up some American blues. What's in the wok? A Little Red Rooster of course!

Like most blues standards Little Red Rooster borrows from many similar sounding songs that preceded it and it's true authorship is as mysterious as the blues itself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nicole Bataclan's the Same same but different

Lands and beliefs separate
But I know
We are watching the same sunset.
I catch the beginning
Colors waltzing
As the sun brushes against
The mountains;
Battling whether or not
I should send you
A message.

Friday, January 13, 2017

One Friday the 13th in Mexico

I woke up scrambling for my life
downing the remnants of yesterday
from the bottom of a plastic cup,
that 4 a.m. shot of tequila,
as we put the town to bed.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Look To This Day

photo © Mark Butkus 2016
The journey of a thousand tomorrows begins with today.

Look to this day:
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and
Realities of your existence.