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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Glimpse Beyond the Horror of Phil Gibson

UK poet Phil Gibson can make you squirm and fear the dark while you are standing in broad daylight. The author of Apocalyptic Visions has a new - free - ebook available through Smashwords - A Glimpse Beyond.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Deck of Cards

In the darkness of a parlor drawer
A forgotten deck of cards gathers dust
Well worn with ancient memories
A remnant from another time

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hurricane

The calm before the storm known as Jova in Cuastacomate.

I am not afraid
of the storm
The voice from the tsunami tower
echos its danger

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If In The Moment of Passing: Piri Thomas (1928-2011)

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Down These Mean Streets: Second Ave. in El Barrio.
If in the moment of passing of an eternity,
I could have the interfaced essence,
The power of looking back at me,
I would say it truly as I would for the world--
Let me be free.

The Perplexity of Today and Tomorrow

Today and Tomorrow are twin sisters,
But we can only see the face of Today;
Tomorrow is too shy and elusive,
None has seen her actual face!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


That rabbit’s foot I carried in my left pocket
Has worn a haemorrhage in the lining
The bunch of keys I carry with it
Jingles like fate in my omphagic ear
And when I stepped clear of the solid basalt
The introverted obelisk of night
I seized upon this Traumdeutung as a sword
To hew a passage to my love.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five Poets Vie for National Book Award

The National Book Awards announced the finalists in all its categories this week and the five authors competing for the poetry award are Nikky Finney, Yusef Komunyakaa, Carl Phillips, Adrienne Rich and Bruce Smith. Elizabeth Alexander leads a panel of judges who will decide on the best volume of poetry for the year. The Awards gives writers and poets in particular an extra boost of exposure heading into the Christmas book buying season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Barra: The Temptress by Susan Lockhart

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Being wooed by a temptress.

She woos you with sunshine
She woos you with cheer
You beckon to her calling
And so you come near

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Many Faces of Ojibway Artist Paul Shilling

The Many Faces of Ojibway Artist Paul Shilling.

"For me, painting is a medium for healing, for celebrating the spirit and it is a gift. Painting gives me an opportunity to explore and understand myself and my place and relationship within the circle of creation."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nuestro Barco se Hundió

photo © Mark Butkus 2011

Zarpamos hace dieciocho años
Rumbo: el amor
Puerto siguiente: la eternidad
Navegamos viento en popa
Calma chicha
Dulce paseo
Llenos de dicha
Quitada la ropa

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Imagine John Lennon

John Lennon always considered himself a poet before a musician. Before he was a Beatle he was an artist. Born in 1940, today John Lennon would be turning 71 but we know that he is not celebrating a birthday today and we all know why. What we are left with are his words, his images, his music and his energy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

In Search of the Beat Generation

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz..."

Other than Jack Kerouac's death on October 21, 1969 no other date resonates as much in the Beat culture as October 7, 1955.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: Find What You Love

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) the brightest apple on the tree.

Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

Swedish Poet wins Nobel Literature Prize

Tomas Transtomer was announced this morning as the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It takes a lot of living in a house to make it a home,
A lot of sun and shade, and you sometimes have to roam
Before you really appreciate the things you left behind,
And hunger for them somehow, with them always on your mind.
It doesn't make any difference how rich you get to be,
How much your chairs and tables cost, how great your luxury;
It isn't a home to you, even if it is the palace of a king,
Until somehow your soul is wrapped around everything.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coming to That: Dorothea Tanning @ 101

Dorothea Tanning in her studio, Sedona, Arizona. Photograph by Lee Miller (1946)

Dorothea Tanning had her eureka moment as a young woman while attending an early surrealist exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936. Following a life shared with fellow artist Max Ernst, Dorothea returned to New York City in the 1980s and embarked on a new chapter in her life — poet. Richard Howard, Brenda Shaughnessy and Mark Strand read from Dorothea’s latest, Coming to That at a reception last night in her honor noting Dorothea's remarkable life and the publication of her latest collection of poems.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct 15.

In New York City, where I'm teaching this fall, there was a parade Sunday September 18 for Mexican Independence Day. The Mexican community here is much smaller than in Chicago but they showed their cultural pride.