Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crepuscule for Juana

photo © Mark Butkus 2012
Sunset in Key West.

All is calm and peaceful...In the fading light of day
the smell of jasmine fills the evening air,
in the distance over crystal clear waters,
the beating wings of swans are heard

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reading Flash Mob Set for Tomorrow

Organized by the inspirational Pay It Forward Foundation, this event on March 28, 2012 is set to be the World's Largest Coordinated Book Reading Flash Mob ever. Wednesday's international event has been organized to remind people to take time out of their busy days to help others without expecting anything in return and what best to do this with than a good book.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Street Poetry: Florida Crosswalk

On occasion the Bar None Group finds street poetry plastered on walls, as in Florence, Italy and New York City.  The Bar None Group has also stumbled upon found poetry by re-reading public service announcements in a different vein, as happened along the "L" in Chicago. While we search for Jack Kerouac's last call in St. Petersburg Florida we came across an intersection...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Pilsen Picasso: Remembering Francisco Mendoza

Chicago 18th Street L mural

Francisco Mendoza, 53, an artist and a teacher, left his mark in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Every day thousands walk by his murals at the 18th Street Pink Line "L" stop. His mosaic murals grace the Orozco Community Academy in Pilsen. Among his many other noted works is a mural at the YMCA in South Chicago, the neighborhood where he grew up.

"He is a legend," said Carlos Tortolero, president and founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art. "He was an artist and an arts educator."

Mendoza died on March 12, 2012 from complications resulting from multiple myeloma.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Family Bonds

People ask me why I am always able to find, and for whatever duration of time,
expose into light the existence of an essence of true inner light.

In truth the answer is quite obvious:

World Poetry Day 2012

"Poets have a presence alongside civil movements and know how to alert consciences to the world’s injustices as well as encourage appreciation of its beauty." -- Irina Bokova, Director General Message on Poetry Day 2012

In celebrating the World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. This internationally celebrated day allows us to pay tribute to all those men and women who strive to build a better world using words as their only tool.

Poetry allows individuals, as well as whole societies, to discover and assert their identity. The art of poetry is the foundation of diversity, allowing different languages to express their voice among the community of nations. By facilitating dialogue, poetry encourages tolerance and respect; it's the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Free Access to 65 000 19th Century Books for HE Users

The British Library and JISC Collections have announced the launch of JISC Historic Books, a new website developed by Mimas for (Higher Education) researchers and students that includes recently digitised editions of more than 65,000 books from the British Library's extensive 19th century collections.

Amounting to more than 25 million pages, the resource spans subject areas including philosophy, history, poetry and literature, with the original typeface, illustrations and fold-out pages for each book. Many rare or inaccessible books published between 1789 and 1914 are now digital, discoverable and searchable for the first time, enabling their use by many more scholars than has hitherto been possible.

Water Log

photo © Mark Butkus 2011

She pulled me closer
as the dawn broke over Pilsen
Before our eyes opened
I felt the tender squeeze of my hand
and she whispered,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Going and Coming

Let's go because we can
Up and out and across this wild-eyed

country -- no one else
has done it like we! No one

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Voice Crying Out

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea e e cummings
Out of an Indian Summer
out of an everlasting spring
the giant cradle
the giant’s cradle
spills over into an endless sea
and I throw myself on the sand
like him
the barefoot boy
like him
the chanter of both bliss and suffering
like him
the translator of notes
and those who rock and sway
and greet me with vibrant double l’s
and resonant double r’s
will lead me to the shore
to confront new waves:
they the singers of the incessant carol
who have not become
and will never become
shades of themselves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Maybe Andy was on
to something.
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Poet Laura Kasischke Among NBCC Award Winners

On Thursday, March 8, at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium, the National Book Critic Circle (NBCC) presented its awards for publishing year 2011. The poetry award went to Laura Kasischke for Space, in Chains (Copper Canyon Press), a formally inventive work that speaks to the horrors and delights of ordinary life in an utterly original way.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dress the Part

When your feet
travel dark paths,
you wear your boots
with the highest heels!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

¡Que viva Lila Downs!

Lila Downs delivered a performance de coraz‪ó‬n, or from the heart, Saturday night at the Congress Theater in Chicago.

Downs is on tour with her new album Pecados y Milagros or Sins and Miracles. A standout song from the album is "Pecadora."  The song has notes of ska, klezmer and rap with lyrics in Spanish.

She also did a beautiful rendition of "Cucurrucucu Paloma."

It's classic Lila as her musical influences come from around the world starting in her mother's home state of Oaxaca in Mexico, north to her father's Minnesota and beyond.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


photo © Mark Butkus 2008
Under the covers, under the weather.

a sniffling mess
who drools out of
the corners of the eyes
leaving trails of tissues
from one room to the next

Monday, March 5, 2012

marching blind

ticktock tick
and repeat incessant

to pass without caring
like people never met
who march quickstep
toward self-gratification