Closed Circle, by Salvatore Buttaci

Closed Circle
by Salvatore Buttaci

The bargains I made with life were games played
without rules or prior preparation.
I aimed for what greed dictated, fudged efforts
to reach goals, trying hard to climb each rung,
patted myself on the shoulder when I won;
kicked myself in the rear when I lost.

Life was a game of seasons. I watched flowers
grow, bargained with the wind, then sadly
watched them die in autumn. I marveled
at the floral cycle of life,
but never wondered about my own,
how the flight of time hardened the soft face

of youth, bent the bones, clouded the mind
and blurred the advent of my winter.
Like the drooping rose, I wait the clank
of shovel, the pings of clumped dirt,
a new spring, a new life, a circle closed.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 304.

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.

No Regrets, by Salvatore Buttaci

No Regrets
by Salvatore Buttaci

Naysayers insisted I’d rue the day
I married a woman much younger than I,
but time has vindicated me of their folly
because not once have I ever regretted
taking Sharon for my loved and loving wife.
Love demands courage, a risking of the heart,
a deep plunge into unknown waters.

To not take the chance invites the pain of
loneliness, unshared light and darkness,
a heart crusted with sadness, an emptiness.
The only day we shall rue will be the closing
of our together life, but even then,
in our sorrow we’ll keep the faith alive:
Love never dies. We are forever.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 302.

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.

The Muldoon, by Salvatore Buttaci

The Muldoon
by Salvatore Buttaci

Worst place you can drop a melancholic boozer
Is some dew drop inn or Cliff’s Hangout or Saloon.
The muldoon can go from sober to fried-to-the-gills
quicker then you can say, “Make mine Bud,” and he often
does, socking steins away like a brewery fills
barrels. Don’t expect him to try something new.
St.Pauli’s Girl, Tuborg, even Miller. He’s a muldoon,
meaning he’s staunchly opposed to changing his mind.
The hour doesn’t matter. He’s got a lifetime to spit at time.
When the beer level suds up behind bloodshot eyes,
he starts singing old songs like “Heart of Gold,”
not that he has one, or “Maggy May” he never knew,
or “Hotel California” he couldn’t afford.
Besides, he hates the beach, those pesky flies, sand grains
in his sandwich or weighing down the foam
in his canned beer. “Last one,” says the bartender.
We’re closing up.” The Muldoon can hardly stand
but he orders two Buds, one for now,
the other for the road.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 298.

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.

Lorca, by Salvatore Buttaci

Lorca
by Salvatore Buttaci

after his murder in the courtyard
his body was sent to the cellar morgue
where men of science dissected his flesh
in search of those seditious words unsaid
that waited for the right poem
in the depths of him from which
they might one day metrically sail free

all they found were not unlike discoveries
made in the battlefield autopsies of heroes
who lie gut-wrenched, organs exposed
to the elements of snow and ice and time
while their filmed eyes like cameras
indelibly capture life’s passing
which the souls of them carry away

he wrote poems in his Spanish tongue
danced them down paper roads like village songs
meant to be sung if only to rally the listless
but those unversed in the art of sweet language
those whose iron hands wield iron guns
can only rattle destructive syllables of fire
can only murder the poet but never the poem

can never hear the language that trilled within him
those sweet birds with so many stories to tell
about sharing the expanse of land and sky

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 296.

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.

May Again, by Salvatore Buttaci

May Again
by Salvatore Buttaci

In floral finery
these petaled debutantes
come alive in spring,
bursting from beds of seeds
in May’s post-winter sleep.
The garden celebrates!

Teeming rains of April?
the capricious madness
of March? All gone at last.
The warm winds, once brutal,
Now lead flowers to dance.
The garden celebrates!

This be their season’s joy:
To delight in the waft
of their fragrance carried
by the breeze and divided
among lonely lovers.
The garden celebrates!

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 286.

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.

Find The Courage, by Salvatore Buttaci

Find The Courage
by Salvatore Buttaci

It can happen that one,
confronted with joy,
can wince as if in pain.
Accustomed to sorrow,
steeled for sudden jolts,
she can mistake festoons
of scented spring flowers
for requiem wreaths,
tramp instead of ramble
through nature’s delights,
sidestep the pavement cracks
to avoid the pest of misfortune.
Joy is everywhere!

Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 282.

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.

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.