Friday, December 13, 2019

Martha Charmaine Gagnon Spies a Snow Dragon

photo © Mark Butkus 2003
A true believer can see a snow dragon in this picture.

I saw a dragon a few days ago
When I was outside shovelling snow...
His wings were intricate and powdery white
His body an iridescent pale blue light...
He seemed to float rather than fly

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Colleen Juri has A Lesson to Be Learned

photo © Mark Butkus 2013
Navigating childhood is a challenge at the best of times.

Who would have known?
No one could have seen what I was hiding
Everyday.
I sift through every drawer in the house.
No clean underwear to be found.
Mom is sick and I cannot bother her.
I do what I must do, chin up, I go to school.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Table Prayer for the Christmas Season

photo © Mark Butkus 2016
A Christmas get together among friends in Naples, California.

The Christmas season is a time for family and friends to get together. A time for joy, reflection, love and food. Over the years we have shared poems, carols, songs and memories. This Christmas we give thanks at the dinner table.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Library Way: John Milton and Areopagitica

Censorship interferes with the pursuit of truth.

Areopagitica is a polemic on the right to freedom of speech and expression by an impassioned John Milton. It was distributed via pamphlet in 1644, in defiance of pre-publication censorship.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

On the Eighth Day of...

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Strawberry Fields forever.

I would write you a poem
As full of love as Frida for Diego
Souls entwined as John and Yoko
But all I have is a pen and a memory

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Cap Sawade's 'The Fateful Day’ in Pearl Harbor

NPS public domain photo.
USS Arizona leaving Pearl Harbor, 1940. Tai Sing Loo photo.

‘Twas the day before that fateful day,
December Sixth I think they say.
When leave trucks passed Pearl Harbor clear
The service men perched in the rear.
No thought gave they, of things to come.
For them, that day, all work was done.
In waters quiet of Pearl Harbor Bay,

Thursday, December 5, 2019

George Wither's A Christmas Carol Written Centuries Before Dickens

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
Let us all be merry.

So now is come our joyful feast,
  Let every man be jolly;
Each room with ivy leaves is dressed,
  And every post with holly.
    Though some churls at our mirth repine,
    Round your foreheads garlands twine,
    Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
  And let us all be merry.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Liz Parkin Gets Personal with SELF

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
More fruit is the answer — make sangria!

Great expectations
Lead to Great disappointments
What in the Hell is the perfect mother anyway?
Is there a perfect child?
Prozacked, whacked, drooling in a corner
That IS someone’s child

Saturday, November 16, 2019

First-Ever Costalegre Book Fair Announced for 2020

photo © Mark Butkus 2012
Authors wanted for Costalegre Book Fair...and crowds.

The Centro de Arte y Cultura (CENAC) Melaque is hosting the first-ever Costalegre Book Fair on January 27, 2020. We are looking for published book authors who are willing to speak about their craft, their inspiration and to speak of their output — their books. The afternoon-long event will be held at Las Cabanas #15 — the cafe at CENAC — from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Robert Burns and The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

photo © Mark Butkus 2010
On Turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November 1785.

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
          Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Charles Longstreet and a Rumination

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Is happiness a quixotic quest?

Happiness and unhappiness
Are created by events
Occurring in the environment
Which surrounds us
Making them equal
In every way.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Russell Rosander asks, Can You Hear Me Now?

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
The naked artist's palette.

I step outside, naked into the night,
into the swirl of distant starlight,
spinning timelessly overhead.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Fran Landesman and The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
Tired little girl  does the best she can...

All the sad young men
Sitting in the bars
Knowing neon nights
Missing all the stars

All the sad young men
Drifting through the town
Drinking up the night
Trying not to drown

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Marwan Fateen is in Need of A Place

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
A place in Mexico overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

I need a place to call my own
a place to call my home
a place I could to run to
introduce my son to
Its amazing
extraordinary
its called peace of mind
you can have a piece of mine

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Toast for Drink Beer Day

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
Do we have enough for a quorum?

Here's to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer and another one

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ancient Custom Assures Safety of CEO

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
A short story by Jordan Crittenden.

By now it's an open secret that a major US corporation, ranked within the top 20 of the current Forbes 500, has taken a highly unusual step in the annals of corporate operations. The firm (which chooses to remain anonymous) has assigned an employee the task of tasting beforehand all food and drink to be ingested by the Chief Executive Officer to prevent any attempt to poison him.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Zanne Mack is Ready to Dance on her Birthday

Trading in one iron horse for another.

Sixty-one years
and I still don't know
Anything I wanted more than love
I might not get what I want,
But I'll have what I need

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Kahlil Gibran On Houses

photo © Mark Butkus 2017
Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.

Then a mason came forth and said, Speak to us of Houses.
     And he answered and said:
     Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls.
     For even as you have home-comings in your twilight, so has the wanderer in you, the ever distant and alone.
     Your house is your larger body.
     It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for a grove or hill-top?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long. – Horace

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Poem that Inspired the Title for "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
A South Dakota Scene.

I have fallen in love with American names,
The sharp names that never get fat,
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Susan Lockhart and her Barra Daze

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
I "Heart" Barra!

Barra daze, Barra daze
Each new moon
A day is born
And across the sea you gaze

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Sailboat — a Poem by Stacy Rae Lake

photo © Stacy Rae Lake 2019
A sailboat's dream is to dream big.

An earth angel with cement wings and heavy feet
cries out far and deep inside for help

Her very core
now dry and alien

She is drifting lost with an ill fated humanity.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Émile Nelligan et la Beauté cruelle

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
Le 24 juin c'est La Fête Nationale du Quebec.

Certe, il ne faut avoir qu'un amour en ce monde,
Un amour, rien qu'un seul, tout fantasque soit-il;
Et moi qui le recherche ainsi, noble et subtil,
Voilà qu'il m'est à l'âme une entaille profonde.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Little Houses by Russell Rosander

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Little houses...

We all live in little houses
without any trousers,
where all the walls are mirrors.
Where all of our senses
and all our defenses
reflect only our desires and our fears.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lionel Johnson and The Precept of Silence

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
The precept of silence in a bottle of absinthe.

I Know you: solitary griefs
Desolate passions, aching hours!
I know you: tremulous beliefs,
Agonized hopes, and ashen flowers!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What It's All About: A Sailing Poem

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
Sailing is the noblest and the best-compensated of all the arts.

No, you cannot find the world of waters in a motor boat.
You cannot help but find it in a sailboat,
for that world of water and sky, wind and tide,
is not only about you but part of you as well.
It is your motor as well as your resistance —
your safeguard as well as your enemy.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Maxwell Bodenheim and the Vagabond Grown Old

But now I walk on, alone...

The dust of many roads has been my grey wine.
Surprised beech-trees have bowed
With me, to the plodding morning
Humming tunes frail as webs of dead perfume,

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Our Own Shadow by Carolynn Unknown

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Nuestra sombra.

I'm getting out from my own shadow.
Own shadow, own shadow.

Pushing and breaking from my own shadow.
Own shadow, own shadow.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Union Prayer of Woody Guthrie

— photo © Mark Butkus 2019
Old Mutualista Union Hall in Guadalajara, Mexico.

I hear that prayer and praying
Will change this world around
I fold my hands I bow my head
I kneel down on the ground

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Un Tope en mi Vida

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Tope: A Mexican speed bump.

I’m not looking for Disneyland
      Although I’d love to see my old friends again
I’m not looking to drink margaritas in Paradise
     Although I swear Chynna’s libations are heaven sent

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ode to Beer

 photo © Mark Butkus 2006
Have you heard the news? It's National Beer Day!

Of all my favorite things to do,
The utmost is to have a brew.

My love grows for my foamy friend,
With each thirst-quenching elbow bend.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Edgar Allan Poe Has A Dream Within A Dream

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
I stand amid the roar of a surf-tormented shore.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Stacy Rae Lake Leaves You Breathless with a Poem

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Flying free kissed by the immortal dream.

Soon you will no longer breathe
The soft whispering winds and the most
Silent of greens will call you
Let go and feel the blanket of eternity mold you into the heart of its own
True nature

Friday, February 8, 2019

Eight Haikus from Kevin Rudd

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
A new day, a new coat. A purpose unveiled.

The breeze still calming
You could smell the air seaching
The rain would talk now

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Ana Hatherley and The Age of Writing

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
The art and poetry of Ana Hatherley on display in Guadalajara.

A bridge designed by an
architect for no useful purpose
between the cosmos and the chaos
the poet looks at the world
and reinvents it
in a garden made of ink

Monday, January 28, 2019

W.B. Yeats' Sailing to Byzantium

photo © Mark Butkus 2019
And therefore I have sailed the seas...

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
— Those dying generations — at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Friday, January 11, 2019

Algo asi con Octavio González Navarro

(para Lisa)

Algún día me vas a recordar,
Y sentirás tu piel heriza.
Sentirás mis susurro un tus oídos,
Mis manos cuando te acariciaban.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Of Philip Levine and The Water's Chant

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
A clear mountain stream in the High Sierras.

Seven years ago I went into
the High Sierras stunned by the desire
to die. For hours I stared into a clear
mountain stream that fell down
over speckled rocks, and then I
closed my eyes and prayed that when
I opened them I would be gone

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hannah Rodrigues On Keeping Warm in Winter

photo © Mark Butkus 2003
Baby, it's cold outside.

It all started
on the 11th of November...
when you have to keep warm
for the winter hibernation.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Contéstame — Frida Kahlo asks that you Answer Me

Hair today...gone tomorrow...

Answer me, answer me, answer me, answer me, answer me, answer me,

            “                      “                      “                      “                      “

            “                      “                      “                      “                      “

            “                      “                      “                      “                      “

            “         Have you heard the news? No more hair        “