Sunday, December 10, 2017

Library Way: Emily Dickinson and the Living Word

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Emily Dickinson plaque on Library Way.

Known as poem 1212 from Emily Dickinson's correspondence with Frances and Louise Norcross, 1212 appears in its entirety as immortalized upon Library Way in New York City.

La Navidad de Octavio González Navarro

Feliz Navidad de Barra de Navidad!

Prósperos son los días.
Sueños dorados de niños realizados 
La gente feliz de fiesta.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Color Me Christmas

What Color are you at Christmas?

My favorite color is Tiffany Blue
Followed by the Pink on your cheeks
When you open a box
Under
A Green pine tree
On a White Christmas morning

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Poem to Diego Rivera from Frida Kahlo

Not your typical example of art by Diego Rivera.

Diego.
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak,
or sleep, or listen, or love.
To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood,
outside time and magic, within your own fear,
and your great anguish,
and within the very beating of your heart.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Poetic Justice

Navigating the holiday season can be a challenge of will.

Drinking lots of alcohol
By choice and experimentation,
Lead to my future treatment,
To my exasperation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mela Gaskins-Butcher's Evening

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Evening in New York.

Our cities are lit
by our fear of the night
of the dark
with its cauldron
of stars

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Sonnet by Rilke on His Birthday

Rainer Maria Rilke, born this day, December 4 1875.

A tree ascended there. Oh pure transendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

High and Dry at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon

Oh sure...now Heinold's is open!

I stood out front the bar
That Jack London drank in,
That Robert Louis Stevenson drank in,
That Joaquin Miller drank in,
And I was thirsting for
A nickel beer or a dime whiskey
That the bar was famous for.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Street Poetry of Chicago: I'm an Ant by Marwan Fateen

photo © Mark Butkus 2011

I'm dist-ant
An inhabit-ant
Of c-ant
I'm an ant
Part of a larger whole
A body
that we all control
Take away the tee
And you'll find me
Free

Friday, December 1, 2017

Back to Square One with Rod McKuen

photo © Mark Butkus 2015
In someone's shadow, in someone's desert?

On a recent roadtrip to the Arizona desert I came across a book of poetry from Rod McKuen. Having devoured McKuen in my early 20s I had stopped reading him because he was deemed unfashionable and not to be taken seriously. Funny thing, 30 years later I see more of McKuen in my poetry than in all the "serious" poets that I tried to emulate.

But this isn't my story. It's not Rod McKuen's story either. This is Wayne's story and the poem he wrote on the inside cover of McKuen's In Someone's Shadow back in 1969 titled, Square One.