Happinella, by Salvatore Buttaci

Happinella
by Salvatore Buttaci

It was the task of Happinella to stir joy into the Cauldron of Dissatisfactions. Eons ago the Senior Crowned Heads had designated her worthy of such a role. Add to that, her persistent badgering of these Seniortors to award her the magic stick.

“Allow me to rid Arondor of sadness and pain,” Happinella begged them.

After much hawing, they relented; after all, she was resolute in her request and, perhaps more important, she was the only offspring of the now deceased Senior of Seniors, Yezzerai.

The pandemic plague of evil infested nearly all Arondorians. While they slept, the flying squadrons of wasponias descended, strafing them with venomous transformations. The good morphed into evil; the content into malcontents. Victims of these attacks were defenseless. Someone had to once again stir the Cauldron that had for too long remained untouched.

The consensus? In the daughter of Yezzerai, they rested their hope.

Since the recent wasponian invasion of Arondor, most of the afflicted, carriers of the evil strain, waged war against the good.

Happinella spent her lonely days and perilous nights stirring the Cauldon, convinced she could save the subjects of Arondor by destroying the giant stinging wasponias that threatened to conquer them.

Then one morning, on her way to her stirring after a brief rest, Happinella saw a child climbing out of the Cauldron into which he had tumbled. The aromatic waters, the sweetness of harvest time, a temptation too alluring for a young boy to avoid.

Happinella said aloud, “Out of a bad thing will come a good thing,” for it dawned on her that when the boy stood drenched beside the Cauldron, he sparkled like a river sprite, gold as the flowered fields, and smiling like one who had discovered joy.

“Drink from the Cauldron!” cried Happinella to all the land. “Drink joy and gladness. Fill yourselves with goodness.”

The following night, the wasponias dropped down from the black sky and found their prey, not cowering in their beds, but peacefully asleep.

The whirr of their stingers rotated, barely piercing their skin.

Happinella left her stirring long enough to command the sweepers to gather up and burn the dead scaly wasponias and toss them into the fiery pits of the Ire River.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 276.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

Remembering, by Salvatore Buttaci

Remembering
by Salvatore Buttaci

In youth, I said in my superiority,
“I have forgotten more than you will ever know.”
Pompously I stood so tall on the pedestal
of my own making, arrogant know-it-all
at the ready to make claims beyond the unseen
territory of my life. I stomped through the years,
teeth bared, fist clenched, convinced I would live forever,
the face reflected in the mirror set in stone.
I laughed when Papa said, “We’re machines. We break down.”

Now in my declining years, I beg apologies.
The sure step of younger days is gone. I stumble.
The pedestal was swept away in the torrents
of my life. The mirror is a friend of mine no more.
And the highlight of this old man’s confession?
I have forgotten more than you or I have known.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 273.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

She Hardly Remembers Anymore, by Salvatore Buttaci

She Hardly Remembers Anymore
by Salvatore Buttaci

Hiding in the wine cellar,
she presses her grapes against
the clear glass that offers proof
it can help her forget the toasts
of years so distant in the past
she hardly remembers anymore.

When the darkness settles in,
she gratefully accepts it,
takes it in her upturned palms,
a gift she wants to deserve,
clasps her hands as if in prayer
so darkness cannot escape.

But once more dawn slithers
another new sun
between her closed fingers,
pries them open
while she pretends the wine,
possessively demanding,

is instead a red knight
who saves her,
not the enemy, a friend,
helming in a carmine sea
to sail her free
on the placid Waters of Death,

that last red wound
to whisk her away to abstinence.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 272.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

Papa Called It Polka, by Salvatore Buttaci

Papa Called It Polka
by Salvatore Buttaci

In his Italian accent
Papa called it “polka,”
and when he found a deck
hidden in my dresser
he’d toss it in the garbage.
“We don’t need no gamblers here,”
he’d say. “It’s the devil’s game.
“Stay away from polka.”

At weddings Papa danced
the polka like Astaire.
He’d have his nieces puffing
out of breath (Mama didn’t dance)
then when one polka ended,
Papa was ready for the next.
He refused to let
his nieces sit one out.

Years later Sharon taught me
how to shuffle, deal,
hold and fold my poker hand.
She showed me how to wear
the inscrutable poker stare
unlike the happy beaming face
Papa wore when he danced the night away.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 271.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

Copper Mettle, by Debi Swim

Copper Mettle
by Debi Swim

Beginnings are copper, newly minted pennies
promises dropped into the piggy bank for
a rainy day, the value in the collecting, saving,
looking forward. Hope squirreled away in a
fragile thing to be broken in the end. For all
things end with a verdigris coating, blue-
green from sweat, tears and the rust of time.
And for every ending there is a new beginning
with a blue-green patina promise at the end.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 258 and Prompt 259.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Mew Muse, by Debi Swim

Mew Muse
by Debi Swim

The morning dawns, becomes a familiar thing,
after the night’s forgetting. I sit at my laptop
waiting for the words to come, a direction to
point the way. I feel your presence out in the

hall, you are stalking the light that speckles
the floor. Stealthy, slyly, you reach out a paw
and pounce. I will you to come into my room,
to twine between my feet, rub against my shins,

jump in my lap and mew music into my thoughts.
But, no, I hear you out on the sunny side
of the patio. You sit on regal haunches,
looking out over the dewy lawn, completely

ignoring me. At first, I am merely impatient, a
little huffy at your attitude but as the moments
draw a long line on the day I become afraid…
wonder if this time you’ve gone for good.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 255.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

No Degree of Separation, by Debi Swim

No Degree of Separation
by Debi Swim

Ah, sweet sorrow that accompanies me
in waking hours and in night’s sad dreams.
That you should give such pleasure and such pain
is a curious thing to me, burden
and yet, a comfort. You show me all the
places we have been, point out a stranger’s
shy smile and how it dimples just as his
and in my dreams that feel so tangible
I’d swear I felt the weight of his tender
touch, exquisite sweetness, exquisite sting.
Mind and body so entwined that thoughts, thoughts
could make the heart ache, the eyes tear, torture
the lungs with air withheld. Oh, sweet sorrow
that transcends transient time to weave her
paths from mind to the very core of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 254.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Nine Minutes, by Walter J. Wojtanik

Nine Minutes
by Walter J. Wojtanik

You come and stay for hours,
amidst the psychedelic flowers
and impossible scenarios.
Running past streets and barrios
with Joses and Marios, looking
for solace in a nightful of frightful
turns and plot twists. You’ve wished you
can finish a complete thought,
but your REM cycle keeps running out of gas.
In the foggy distance, a wail. It never fails.
It seems just when you get
to the good part of your dreams you have to depart,
trying to restart every nine minutes for an hour
until your snooze alarm comes back to call.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 253.

Walter J. Wojtanik is a poet, composer, playwright, story teller, and carpenter. Yes, he is adept at woods and words. He had been named the Poet Laureate of the Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides 2010 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. Somewhat of a poetic nomad, his work can be found all over this great big world wide web! His poetry collection in three parts, his Dead Poet Once Removed trilogy is his happiest achievement as of now. He continues to work at his craft with so much more to learn.

Collateral Damage, by Debi Swim

Collateral Damage
by Debi Swim

grief did not ask if it could come.
nor beg my leave. nor was civil
in any respect of civility…barged
in, she did and changed my life
again. Beside the thin ghostly
lines marked in rows over my heart
she, with surgeon’s precision, scalpel’s
keenness cut the wound with one swift
straight slice removed another part
of my heart, daubed the blood, and sewed
with the finest measure and skilled hand
the daintiest seam that would in time
leave the faintest trace of white. But, I
disappear one small piece at a time
leave behind the rasp of withering husk.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 250.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.
georgeplace@suddenlink.net
Poets Parlor – https://fmeoformyeyesonly.wordpress.com/

The Voice In My Head, by Debi Swim

The Voice In My Head
by Debi Swim

This poem doesn’t want to be written.
Its voice taunts me that I don’t know
enough. It shouts that I am not a poet,
for goodness sakes, who do I think I am?
Well, obviously, I’m not a Poet with a
capital P but I do write something I call
poetry and what does it matter if I’m
not published or well known or whatever,
my voice trails off softer and softer.

The voice snickers.
All the great poems, she says, have been
penned, all the great topics taken. All the
glorious words, lissome phrases, perfect
forms used. You, she sneered, are too late
to this hallowed task. Just a want to be.

Well, but we can’t all be a Dickinson, a Heany,
an Oliver, or a Pardlo. Besides when they first
got those itchy fingers and those emotions
clamoring to be thrown up like yellow bile,
and hurt that throbbed like an abscessed tooth,
well, did it all come out ready for publication
or did it all come out in a rush of whooeeee
I needed that. I needed to say that. I NEEDED
to hear myself say that.

Okay, so answer me that, voice. But, voice had
left. Voice had no more sneer or snuff left. And
I thought, humph, well, and so. I am going to
write me some words. I’m going to let these
words speak for themselves and if, if, IF, they want
to tumble into a poem, well, okay, then. Like, I
have anything to do with it. When the words want
to come, when they are ready to be born, when that
head crowns, baby, you got yourself a lusty cry of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 248.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.