Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Eight Most Popular Poems and More from 2011

photo © Eric Butkus 2011
Wedding vows read in Central Park on 11-11-11 make our list.

These are the poems, essays and more that resonated the most with you, our readers, in the past year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The New York City Minute Photo of the Year

The New York City Minute Photo of the Year: The Marathon of Dan Cnossen

Navy Seal Lt. Dan Cnossen stepped on an IED in Afghanistan on September 8, 2009 and lost both of his legs. On November 6, 2011 Dan Cnossen crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon in  2:38:00. There were more than 40,000 stories in the New York City Marathon. Dan Cnossen's was one of the most inspiring.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What I Don't Have for Christmas

I don't have a lot
in a Christmas regard

I don't have Photoshop skills
to craft you a card

Saturday, December 24, 2011

True Gift of Christmas

Year’s finale;
Ending and beginning,
Bringing joy and hope;
Salvation and peace for Mankind;
A Saviour, Jesus Christ the King,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Warmth of Snow

Every year,
It is the same routine.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
   But there's something missing.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

It's coming to that time of year,
Where adverts push the Christmas cheer
Shop windows full of games and toys
Drooling mouths of girls and boys.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Riu, Riu, Chiu

Riu, riu, chiu
    La guarda ribera
    Dios guarde el lobo
    De nuestra cordera

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Feast of Lights

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-tongued horn;
Chant psalms of victory till the heart takes fire,
The Maccabean spirit leap new-born.

Let Them Eat Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

From Charles Baudelaire to Dylan Thomas most poets are associated with their favorite libation. Emily Dickinson is associated with her favorite kitchen treats. One of America's most celebrated poets wielded a rolling pin as well as a pen. Her recipe for Indian bread (bannock) won second prize at the Amherst, Massachusetts Annual Cattle Show in 1856.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Salud A Barra

Where the sweet rains fall
    into the vast, salty sea
Where sweat mingles with mangoes
    under the tree

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hipster Reindeer of New York

(Or How New York Invented Christmas)

New York lays claim to most everything and Christmas is no exception. From Santa Claus himself to eight tiny reindeer you wouldn't be noggin' if not for New York.

Christmas is so hip that St. Nick himself is from Chelsea. Clement Clarke Moore's Manhattan spread was named Chelsea and he developed the neighborhood that later became the hipster haven Chelsea. Where else would you expect to find characters named Dasher, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet and Cupid?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Twas the fifteenth of December,
the bank payment was overdue.
With elves and gifts to remember
and wrapping paper all askew,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Gifts

The Pope on Christmas Day
Sits in Saint Peter's chair;
But the peoples murmur and say,
"Our souls are sick and forlorn,
And who will show us where
Is the stable where Christ was born?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Romeo and Juliet in Central Park.

I like the word,
I like what it conveys,
I like that movement within my arms,
that waltz across a room

The Wellness Renegade: Is Traditional Chinese Medicine To Woo For You?

I’m an acupuncturist, and while I actually enjoy my job, if I had to choose between treating patients and going surfing (and making a living wasn’t an issue), surfing would win every time.
I guess what I’m getting at is I’ve never been an acupuncturist that is a “champion for the cause.” I don’t go to health fares or make presentations about how great Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is. I also don’t intend this blog to be a forum entirely about it either (but I will draw from my experience).

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Oh Virgen Inmaculada,
Madre del verdadero
Dios y Madre de la Iglesia!
Tú, que desde este lugar manifiestas
tu clemencia y tu compasión
a todos los que solicitan tu amparo;
escucha la oración
que con filial confianza te dirigimos
y preséntala ante tu Hijo Jesús,
único Redentor nuestro.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Children's Friend

Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O'er chimney tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John and Yoko at Niagara Falls

John and Yoko at Niagara Falls
where we once swapped spit

John and Yoko at Niagara Falls
when we were still in cribs

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ode to Wednesday Night

Maybe not the first
But with luck, the last
You have shown me something
Something I’ve not yet known

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cheating Winter

Dried and brown
The leaves they blew
Across the avenues

Leaves abandoned by a summer's drought
Cheated of their destiny
Of their brilliant hues

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Night People

She lifts her Friday-weary head
from off the pillow
Her eyes don't bother to focus
in the darkness of the room
At the high point of the day

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On The First Day of...

Snowflakes fall
Outside an open window
Only to melt upon my heart
With the suggestion of a remembrance

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Boy's Thanksgiving Day

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgivings

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here
          to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered
          that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Harvest Moon

It is the Harvest Moon!  On gilded vanes
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Pumpkin

Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Half a Pint of Beer

Every girl knows her limit,
even if she won’t admit to it.
So as I sit beside you,
backs resting against the bar—
listening to the girl in the light
fill up the room with her blues

Friday, November 18, 2011

Somehow Brought Up

Somehow brought up
    on the rules of the game

Somehow brought up
    to the plate

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nikky Finney Wins National Book Award for Poetry

Nikky Finney has won the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry. In a ceremony last night in New York City, Nikky Finney beat out a stellar group of finalists to claim the National Book Award for her fourth volume of poetry - Head Off & Split.

I Am Drowning

Seconds drag like years. Stuck in a silent mist.
My mind like a "For Sale" sign, tethered
Constrained. An occasional sway in a breeze,
Resulting in an unoccupied state of mind.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hall, Dupré Win Canadian Poetry Honors

The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the winners of the 75th Governor General’s Literary Awards, worth $25,000 each. Poets Phil Hall and Louise Dupré won the Poetry Award in their respective languages.

Sue Kenney's Camino: Walk, Write, Listen, Live

After being suddenly downsized from a career in the corporate telecom industry, Sue Kenney decided to walk 780 kilometers on a medieval pilgrimage route in Spain known as the Camino de Santiago do Compostela. She was on a quest to find more purpose in life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yo También

I, too, am Dominican.
My husband’s family asks me to go to the kitchen
to help Tía Rosa peel plátanos;
when half the plátano
comes off with the skin, they laugh
they say
that’s not a banana you know.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Wedding on Writers' Walk

The only straight line in Central Park is formally known as Literary Walk or The Mall. Most people know it as Writers' Walk. It is a place where dreams are imagined and enacted. Vendors line its' sides selling poetic chapbooks, photos of New York City, of John Lennon in his iconic New York City t-shirt and kitsch such as fridge magnets. Standing on guard at Writers' Walk are statues of William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Walter Scott and the forgotten Fitz-Green Halleck.

open links

hooded sweater pulled deep in my face, heavy
space falls on me with galaxies exploding
in the black part of my eye, pacing dirt-dipped
streets for fresh air, care-less thoughts, search for
the grit, feel like shit and zero fits together 2day — heavily
blurry, i'm too weary to type these lines, but they
shout, form riots in my mind, resurrections from
what i thought was long dead, i freeze, bind

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

bring in all the poets

bring in all the poets
their flesh
with broken steps and gestures
with their lives and suffering
that live the poems
with a large swoop
scoop them up in a loose net

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

voice with a name

i heard the news today

another kid jumped
away from the pain,
landing on rocks far below.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Iconoclast James Baldwin Inducted into American Poets' Corner

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
A solemn corner of letters in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

James Arthur Baldwin was inducted into the American Poets' Corner on November 6, 2011 becoming the 44th inductee. While it is true that Baldwin wrote one volume of poetry — Jimmy's Blues — he is better known as an essayist in the tradition of Thoreau and Emerson. Baldwin's essays reached novel length.

Monday, November 7, 2011


It seems we have created a society wherein everybody wants to be the teacher, yet nobody wants to take the time to be the prudent student...

That said it must be taken into account that life is a series of events that make up an entire journey, and there is no one event that dubs all the others obsolete or unnecessary.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes Day Poem

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.

Friday, November 4, 2011


despair consumes in a world of despair
assent withheld by deep gloom’s ascent
bare malice weighs heavy, too much to bear
lament of obscure fears, a dire lament

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Día de los Muertos: Images of Death and Hope

Día de los Muertos isn't a time to mourn. It is a time to celebrate life after death. On November 1st - All Saints Day - it is the children who are remembered. On Novemeber 2nd - All Souls Day - it is the life of departed adults that is revived in the heart and minds of family, friends and loved ones. Spend two minutes with Teresa Puente, listening to the soul of Mexico while the images of Dia de los Muertos dance before your eyes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Día de los Muertos: An Introduction to Mexico's Day of the Dead

More Memorial Day than Halloween, Día de los Muertos brings the dead back to life in the early days of November through remembrance and rituals passed down from generation to generation. The Days also afford a lighthearted poke at the upper classes.

For many small Mexican towns, like Barra de Navidad, there are no extravagant parades or painted faces. What you will find are handmade altars with offrendas placed in front of homes remembering those who came before.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

He Holds My Heart in the Palm of His Hand

He holds my heart in the palm of his hand,
It lays there warm and wet.
His fingers squeeze it like a ripe peach,
Brings it to his mouth, bites down and
Savours it with relish.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Emma Lazarus and the World's Most Famous Sonnet

When the world's most famous sonnet was written in 1883 it barely caused a ripple. When it's author died in 1887 it wasn't even mentioned in her obituary. Today, most everyone can recite at least a line.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Groom of the Dead Bride

The thunder tolls the hour of the dead
The witches stop and turn their heads
The goblins start to dance by the moon light
The vampire bats wake up and take flight

Tonight is the night to wake the dead
Lift them up from their dark sunken beds
The spider webs glow a silvery haze
The widows stalk their unsuspected prey

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist Includes Poet

Toronto airport is a constant in Jacob McArthur Mooney's "Folk."
The University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize has revealed this year’s shortlist of five writers who are in the running for the £30,000 prize. Among the nominees is Canadian poet, Jacob McArthur Mooney.

Ode to Harry's Bar

This, sure as Hell
is not Harry's Bar
in Puerto Vallarta
where trannies and hookers
drink for free
on ladies night