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.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Stacy Rae Lake and the Glory of Transformation

"The miracle that you are is in everyone else."

If I wrote a poem about you it would be called Glory
The spiritual heart is bigger than form
Giant glowing arms reach out to embrace all states
And they grow colors and flowers on every inch of their earthy bodies
Energy as essence pours rain and tears
balancing joy and purification
It can wash the darkest city into bright vibrancy
Telling stories about truly living life

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poet Diane Burns writes, Sure You Can Ask Me A Personal Question

photo © Mark Butkus 2006
No, I don't know where you can get Navajo rugs real cheap.

How do you do?
No, I'm not Chinese.
No, not Spanish.
No, I'm American Indi—uh, Native American.
No, not from India.
No, we're not extinct.
No, not Navajo.
No, not Sioux.
Yes, Indian.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

National Park Week: John Muir, Yosemite and the Action of Flowing Ice

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
Yosemite National Park.

No one wrote more passionately — or poetically — about his natural environment than John Muir. During National Park Week we revisit his words, more specifically, his words about Yosemite National Park. It was at Yosemite, camping with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, that the seed was planted to create the National Park Service. The following words were first published in 1914 in The Yosemite. They come from the last paragraph of the chapter, The Ancient Yosemite Glaciers, arranged poetically.

Monday, April 23, 2018

English Poet Matt Duggan in U.S. to Read from One Million Tiny Cuts

The cover of Matt Duggan's One Million Tiny Cuts.

Readers in Boston and New York are advised to circle their calendars for April 25, 29-30 as English poet Matt Duggan will be reading from his latest volume of poetry — One Million Tiny Cuts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Library Way: Isak Dinesen and Shadows on the Grass

 photo © Mark Butkus 2011
And then in the end, the Liberation came.

Isak Dinesen. Tania Blixen. Osceola. Pierre Andrézel. Four of the names that the Danish author Karen Blixen (1885-1962) used in her literary career. Best known for her 1937 book Out of Africa, Blixen is remembered on Library Way with a quote from the last published work during her lifetime, Shadows on the Grass, which itself serves as an end to Out of Africa.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — My Old Soul

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
Remembering The Holocaust and the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.

My old soul has sung before.
It has lain many hands in mine;
I reach for yours,
and link it to he who needs.

He stands in Bergen-Belsen in the rain,
waiting his turn to expire.
He takes hands he cannot save
and sighs and breathes the gas.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Revolution on Canvas: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
This ship — S.S. Palo Alto — has a hole...

catching the grayest of blue skies when
love is just too big to know
straddling april's winter when the
heart is only half whole

Sunday, April 8, 2018

First Lines Second Thoughts — George Orwell's 1984

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast...

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 a cold April day, we look at the opening lines of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Of Baseball, the White Sox and Nevest Coleman

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Having opened their hearts, the Chicago White Sox open their home season today. Go ChiSox!

This one is for Nevest Coleman
Who was thrown a curveball
Who spent 23 years in prison
For a rape and murder
That he did not commit.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail

photo © Mark Butkus 2012
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Written in the margins of a newspaper — the only paper available to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Birmingham City Jail — The Letter from a Birmingham Jail was written four days after King's arrest on Good Friday April 12, 1963 while marching against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — The Two

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
A poem for Easter. A poem for Passover.

I think when God walked shy to Moses,
stars clustered in his hands,
he led our rabbi down
to the orchards of the heart.