Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Dirty Martini

The making of a dirty martini is truly an art,
Vodka and vermouth are merely a start,
But follow my advice and you can depend,
On achieving perfection in the end.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year y Gracias to the Writers of Bar None Group for 2013!

photo © Mark Butkus 2013
We will always have a chair for you, Chuck (1947-2013). 2014 is going to be a ride, hold on tight!

What an incredible year!

The first moments of 2013 were spent on a cross country trek across Mexico and the early hours of Christmas saw a return to Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico to ring out the year with the Dharma Bums of Barra de Navidad. Along the way we lost the original Dharma Bum of Barra de Navidad, our co-founder, Charles Longstreet. As the last days of the last week draw to a close the Bar None Group extends our deepest gratitude to all of you who have read, contributed, inspired and shared your words, your poetry, within our pages.

Happy New Year to:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Eight Most Popular Poems and More from 2013

photo © Mark Butkus
Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Pretend You're Watching Me

I pretend you're watching me,
While I clean the store at night,
While I sweep the floor.
I sway my hips for your delight
Pretend you beg for more.
I pretend you're watching me,
Watching every move.
I pretend you long for me
The way I long for you.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Outrageous Belief in Angels

A Poem for Christmas.

It seems no one has seen one
For a very long time.
It may seem unlikely
That an old reprobate, like me,
Would believe in them at all,
But I do.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Introduction to Canto Sixth. To Richard Heber, Esq. Mertoun-House, Christmas.

Heap on more wood! – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
Each age has deem’d the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

'Twas the Noche before Christmas

'Twas the noche before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring — ¡Caramba! ¿Que pasa?
Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,

Monday, December 16, 2013

First Lines Second Thoughts — Pride and Prejudice

First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works.
On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? As we remember Jane Austen's birthday today — December 16, 1775 — we look at the opening lines of her most famous novel. Pride and Prejudice. Published in 1813.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Library Walk: Muriel Rukeyser

It is fitting that New York City's Library Walk has a plaque honoring Muriel Rukeyser. New York City was home to her birth and it is where she breathed her last in 1980. In between, Muriel Rukeyser raised cane poetically against the injustices of war, racism and inequalities affecting humankind.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Muriel Rukeyser's birth — December 15, 1913 — we visit Library Walk and the poem — The Speed of Darkness — that is quoted upon her plaque.

Friday, December 13, 2013


No siento del amor la honda tortura
cuando contemplo con tenaz fijeza
la rara perfección de su cabeza
y su cuerpo de helénica escultura.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Brief Touching With Angels

A flutter of egrets,
With the white wings of angels,
Fills the arms of a palm,
Waiting without intent
For the moment of their arrival.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

King of Serpents

I am the scorned native son:
my manhood lies crushed
beneath your heel.
His pallor fades
before my goldenness.

You have transformed me
into the king of serpents:
with one glance I shatter stones
that once beheld the Medusa.
They return to their human state.

Monday, December 9, 2013


The best known poem of the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), Invictus is remembered today as the poem that Nelson Mandela took strength from during his incarceration on Robben Island.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Walk with Nelson Mandela

Remembering Nelson Mandela 1918-2013.

I walked through your life
one day a few years back
Rows of pictures in a gallery
Hours spent in quiet contemplation
in a dark and lonely room

You, Nelson Mandela,
Deprived of decades of your life
Carried the weight of a people
upon your incarcerated shoulders

Friday, December 6, 2013

Street Poetry of Chicago: listen

From time to time we come across street poetry. Found poetry. We have found it in Florence, Italy, on the streets of New York City during Occupy Wall Street and, now, in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Unseen Flower

A flower floats, unseen,
In the mists of time,
An unformed image,
Drifting, rootless,
An unborn, nameless, child,
It's petals waiting to unfold,
The answer to a question,
Yet to be asked.