July 11-17, 2005: Sal Amico M. Buttaci and Violet Reason

week of July 11-17, 2005

Sal Amico M Buttaci and Violet Reason

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Sal Amico M Buttaci

Bio (auto)

Sal Amico M Buttaci is a teacher and lecturer whose many poems, stories, and letters have been published widely here and abroad  He lives with the love of his life, his wife Sharon, in Lodi, New Jersey.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Sal Amico M Buttaci and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Osip Mandelstam
.Murdered in Warsaw: 1938

You laid your life
on the bloody lines
Of a scribbled notebook
when you could have swaggered
like a poet concealing
truth behind the lapel
of metaphors and similes
One day your life
slipped out of hiding Far from Stalin’s wrath
the safe poem inside
your head
champed at the bit
until you set it free
What could your life
be worth once he read
about his thick sausage
fingers,  his moustache
of insects tickling an
upper lip? Comrade,
is this how brave men
throw their lives away?


Comrades, arenít we proud of ourselves?
High above all those we once trusted
we stand, without trembling,
on this scaffold, memorizing
last impressions, refusing blindfolds,
final puffs on final cigarettes while
Below us in neat circles
our betrayers congregate In the early days, shoulders heaved
against the palace doors until the czar
was dead and workers like children
rushed to touch the hem of our lost mother We were the saviors then Today
we stand unjustly accused On my dark cell wall last night
I pretended the shadows were
the four of us again fighting
the white army in that December
blizzard, the flag high ahead of us,
blood-red in its resolve I pretend
you can hear these words I speak
inside my head, dear comrades Pretend we can close our lives in one
final exchange of farewells Like magic Like all of it was some sort of
winter magic.

Riding Through Warsaw

You wonder about lonely windows
framed late at night
on the front of tenement houses
planted deep in Warsaw
Riding by on the late-hour tram,
you remember the lighted rooms
but no one is there Maybe people
living inside once were laughing

Or somebody’s daughter once
uttered something sweet Perhaps another’s son never again
fed his dinner to the fat
dog under the table
Dark windows are the loneliest Eyes locked down tight,
And you wonder
Will they ever come back?
Can spirits walk empty rooms?

Pale beams of moon and stars
brace themselves
against the height
of these tired old buildings. 
When the tram reaches your stop
Count yourself blessed
to be going home again.

Rabbi Davidson

Tallith at his shoulders
he recites Kaddish,
keening loud lamentations
that will not wake the dead A survivor of atrocities,
Rabbi Davidson prays
to the God of Abraham
for comfort in a hostile world He asks for neither vengeance
nor justice These hands that once
lifted young Samuel,
once touched the soft cheek
of the infant Sara, will not be raised
against the Father of Creation Instead, open and upturned,
these hands beg for Yahweh’s gifts
of sunlight and an old man’s peace.

In the Fever

In delirium he’s remembering It all comes back to him:
memories thick with grief;
heartaches thin-plied enough
to have fallen between the gratings
of sidewalks past; faces time
disfigured to forgetfulness–
They all suddenly appear
He’s remembering it all Enemies drifting in and out
of the fever, blaze across
the bedroom wall like arms
and legs and tongues of fire If shadows could kill
they’d reach across his bed;
he’d die writhing in delirium
In the fever he’s remembering It all comes back to him A voice roaring in his ear,
“Let’s talk about the hearts you broke!
Your litany of hollow words!
Lovers whom you used, then threw away!”
But come morning the fever breaks He thanks God to be himself again.

Violet Reason


Violet Reason lives in Cortez, Florida.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Violet Reason and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


(Wherein the author
calendars a charm
for complexing comrades
while cranes climb clouds
with pedigrees)

Land is laid
The ocean is done
and I have only just arrived
The first step is ambiguous
the second becomes ambition
the third a destination

Vestiges trace the verse Alternate footprints pave the halo
in miniature on colonized ground Weeds and their ideas grow
larger without lines
The seeds are spread in wisps
that blind the window
and profit weeds
The secret is not in the helix
nor in the flesh
it is in the expressions of flesh
We fashioned a pyramid
with ourselves at the top
but we are only hybrids of ideas
Angels without enthusiasm
are like bees without mellilotus
not free
but lost barren imaginings
The brown heart
of the bear consents
to a bonfire of boughs
and branches
Astonished by green flames
the lynx is calm and watchful
in the twilight
Raven is noisy, no
raven is noise
airsick and uncertain
An infant insulting a mouse
An idiot sharking an idea
A squirrel monstering disorderó
None speak
Struggling to speak
to be heard amidst the
agony of many, we open
Wine has its other uses
in the symposium of life
and skeletons fulfill
Lying in bed
imbricating, accosting
we are learning stillness
and silence.

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