Monday, January 29, 2018

The Spirits of Anza Borrego

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
Communing with Native Spirits at the Rock House in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

The winds whip and whirl
Through Rock House Canyon
And I am one with the spirits
Of all who came before me.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Not the Trump Inauguration Poem

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Recalling a simpler time.

Has it really been a year? A year ago today the legend of the Trump inauguration poem took hold. Like most things to do with the administration since January 20, 2017 things were not what they seemed.

The inflammatory poem was not commissioned to be read at the inauguration but "could" be read at the inauguration. The poem came with cues for the inaugural crowd to join along.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Wasted — An Addiction Poem

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
This number may save the life of someone you love: 1-800-662-HELP

Wasted time.
Wasted mind.
Life wasted in a wasted grind.
Wasted talent.
Wasted luck.
A wasted fellow asking you for a wasted buck.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Poesía callejera del Perú: Amor de Cusco

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
Para Sandra Salas Camacho — la mujer qi me ha pasado...Te amo!

Sol q alumbra tus cabellos
los alumbra aclarando su color
Sol q dilatar tus ojos
Safiros q miren con amor

Monday, January 15, 2018

Civil Rights Memorial Mural Outside Selma, Alabama

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
Jonathan Daniels; Viola Gregg Liuzzo; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Rev. James Reeb; Jimmie Lee Jackson.

The Civil Rights Memorial Mural stands in the shadow of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. Painted on a wall along a strip of failed businesses, of failed dreams, it is a stark reminder of America's past.

A reminder of those who paid the ultimate price to advance the ideals of this great nation. Found in the windows of a row of boarded up businesses were a sign condemning the KKK and a more hopeful sign.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Walking the Symmetrical Path to the Sea

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
Russell Rosander takes us on a walk to the sea.

In the preference of nature for symmetry,
Down the crooked line of the spine,
Hands and feet alternating,
Propelling me forwards
Between left and right,
Traveling between my two eyes
Along the dividing line between opposites
Through which all water and blood flows
Down to the sea.

Friday, January 12, 2018

La Tristesse par poète haïtien Coriolan Ardouin

photo © Mark Butkus 2012
Recalling the devastation of January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti through a 19th century poem.

La tristesse n'est pas une fleur du jeune âge.
La brise vole et chante et baise le feuillage,
La Rose vient d éclore et le Cygne d'amour
Glisse sur les flots bleus où se mire le jour.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oakland Street Poetry: These Black Hands

 photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Where are all the black construction workers?

These hands,
These black hands,
These are strong black hands
That can swing hammers
And pound nails with precision.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — Then We Came Home

photo © Mark Butkus 2010
Home being that place where the heart lives.

Then we came home;
your fingers pushed my hair,
grew flowers in the ash and I was young.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tales by LeRoi Jones, Words by Amiri Baraka

 photo © Mark Butkus 2011
"When I walk in the streets, the streets don't yet claim me."

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? Today, we take a different approach. We look at the opening lines of a short piece of fiction — Words — by the Beat poet LeRoi Jones. Words is from a collection of short fiction entitled Tales that had it's first paperback printing 50 years ago in 1968. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

On the Road to Graceland

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Remembering the King — Elvis Presley — at Graceland.

But I don't want to go to Graceland

It was a whine more than a declaration
And it had been said more than once
Over the last 1500 miles

But I don't want to go to Graceland