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November 8, 2011

JUST WHO IS ANNA MULLINS ANYWAY?

ANNA MULLINS


“Why I have the kind of vivid Technicolor memory I do has always been a mystery to me and to the few who knew of it.”

The above quote is the first sentence of my memoir and for the next 327 pages I explain in detail what I meant by that and the reason I believe I was blessed/cursed with so many colorful and distinct memories, both good and bad, funny and sad. Two of the worst memories drove me straight to mental hell in agony that refused to relinquish. The first time it happened in 1967 during the Viet Nam War and I chose to have six shock treatments to cure me, they did in two weeks. The second time was seven weeks after my beloved mother’s agonizing July death from Alzheimer’s. That inspiration struck on 9/11/2001 when the horror I was watching on T.V. reminded me of my Great Grandmother Fox, my mother’s grandmother I only met once when I was very young, but she instilled in me a memory that had haunted me many times throughout my life.  In 2001 I chose to cure myself by writing about why I was so distressed. That cure worked also, after a decade of edits, though it did raise a few eyebrows from family members. Oh well, not the first time I messed with their brows or the grey matter behind them.

I was born with a Pisces artistic nature I couldn’t ignore. I took piano lessens from second grade through twelfth. The initial inspiration for that musical obsession I got from a religious picture of St. Cecelia in my parents bedroom. I decided when I was four or five years old I wanted to play a piano in heaven when I died so I insisted mamma buy me one to practice on. Actually, my first piano became a bribe she used to get me to do something I really didn’t want to do, go to first grade at a Catholic school. I finally caved in after a lot of family persuasion and several other bribes I required, daddy’s paint quarter horse, a puppy, and five new chicken feed sack dresses. I’m sure some of those nuns wished I had not allowed myself to be bribed to go to that awful “purgatory” in 1944-45. Old unjust ladies in black I was forced to give a little piece of my mind to every once in a while. If something doesn’t make sense to me, I can become an instant rebel.

My unique childhood logic was always considered rather strange by adults but that never deterred me. When I made my mind up, there were few on earth who could change it, and that stubborn quirk still haunts me to this day. Oh well, after I ordered my natal horoscope in the 1970’s I found I could blame all my idiosyncrasies on the alignment of the stars above my head on the day I was born…so I still do. It’s easy to blame it on those professional astrologers who claimed my star alignment was rather strange and unusual who gave me a detailed opinion of why I was so “different.” It’s not my fault…it’s my Gods. At least that’s the excuse I’m going to use in the afterlife, if I ever get the chance.

At various times in my life I also became obsessed with learning how to cook, sew, paint, sculpt, and conquer fast horses. I’m a Texas native with a few drops of Apache blood flowing in my veins. When I was six, I insisted on learning how to shoot a rifle and hit the bull’s-eye, so my legend of a superman Daddy took me out in the pasture with a Winchester 30-30 and taught me. I realized that was a handy thing to know when I was seven years old guarding German POW’s on a big horse with a Federal rifle still in its saddle holster on my grandpa’s cotton farm in 1945. The “official” guards allowed me to do that while they took naps on the back porch because they didn’t think the prisoners would run off and I didn’t think they would harm me. I was their favorite entertainment on their lunch break. The guards explained to grandpa, “Where would they go, they can’t find a big enough boat to get back home on, and besides, they like earning enough to buy cigarettes and cokes and candy.” My singing and dancing was the most torture those lucky POW’s ever had to endure in America…but I would peel their oranges for them.

See? My logic isn’t all that “crazy” compared to some adults I have known in my lifetime.

My adult logic hasn’t been much different than my childhood, except that I know a whole lot more about how the world works now than I did back then. After I was forced out of my church by a couple of bad apples, I decided to launch my own religion that consisted of the Creator of all that exists, with Jesus and my “spirit” as my mentors, and me as the pastor. For over two decades I researched religion until it jelled into a creed I could accept and I’m still happy with it. I doubt the T.V. evangelists would be because I quit believing in Hellfire and Damnation they charge for telling you how not to get there.

Motherhood was the only vocation I ever lusted for and I did accomplish that. I have five wonderful children who blessed me with eleven grandkids and they are now the focus of my senior years. I live on the outskirts of San Antonio and stay involved with my three youngest grandchildren’s projects.  I still love to write, paint, cook, and still drag out my sewing machine when they want new patches on their jeans they consider badges of honor, usually required because of another pain in their butt that rips denim and skin.

I never intended to become a writer or an author but destiny had plans I felt I couldn’t alter. When I chose to publish my life story, I wanted it to be as honest as I could remember and knew I was going to have to confess all my sins if I was going to write about anyone else’s…so I did. I do hope I don’t make your eyebrows too uncomfortable if you choose to read Confessions Of A Crazy Fox.  




Confessions Of A Crazy Fox is available on Amazon in soft cover and for Kindles

http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Crazy-Maria-Kolojaco-Mullins/dp/0984639284/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311704034&sr=1-1 


And in print on my Publishers Website

http://allthingsthatmatterpress.com

It is also available as an E-book at Barnes & Nobles Nook Book Site

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/confessions-of-a-crazy-fox-anna-mullins/1104319515?ean=2940013614499&itm=1&usri=confessions%2bof%2ba%2bcrazy%2bfox 






November 2, 2011

SANDY COHEN


JUST WHO IS SANDY COHEN ANYWAY?


I’m a former professor, jazz musician, big deal movie star (okay, co-star of one movie shot in Northern China, Do Not Disturb) public radio commentator, star of a public television series, and currently a full-time writer, and part-time kayak fisherman, bookbinder and chauffer to my nearly-perfect children.  My novel, Revelations, is an always funny, sometimes poignant, occasionally wise story about an ordinary guy, Manny, who goes to Greece after his wife dies and meets an extraordinary guide, Abis, half Native American, half madman, who leads Manny through crazy series of misadventures and eventually back to life.  I promise you it’s the funniest book you’ll read this year


When’s the last time a novel made you laugh out loud?  When’s the last time you fell in love with a character?  In Revelations by Sandy Cohen you won’t be able to help yourself, you’ll do both.  Join Abis, trickster-god or mad man, you decide, as he guides Manny Markowitz, and you, through the wilds of Greece and the bogs and barrier islands of south Georgia, and ultimately back to life as they search for Abis’s boss, Willy Love.  Goofy, wise, and ultimately enchanting, this is the guidebook not just for anyone who has gone through one of life’s great tragedies, but for anyone who wants to return to the pure joy of living.  There are three ways to learn the meaning of life, namely reason, intuition, and revelation.  In Revelations, you’ll learn Abis’s, and your, great lesson—that life has no meaning any more than a flower has meaning, or needs to.  It is the beauty and fragrance that enchant.  Life is simply an experience to enjoy and exalt in.  For here, and now, dear hearts, is your eternity to enjoy.   



Revelations          http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Sandy-Cohen/dp/0984621695/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320241590&sr=1-1 

October 29, 2011

JUST WHO IS GLENN PARKHURST ANYWAY?


Glenn Parkhurst


Glenn Parkhurst surprised himself when he started to write. Glenn was more of an outdoor enthusiast, fisherman, hunter, father of two boys who looked at life through the eyes of Ward Cleaver. But life took him to places he didn’t expect. Divorce, death, and sobriety all impacted his outlook on life. Travel, volunteerism, grandchildren and new friends rearranged his outlook. A fear of wasting life drives this man.  He has a belief that you can either focus on one thing and become very good at it or you can dive into many things and enjoy a little of all of them. So, in addition to writing Thrillers, Glenn writes humor, does photography, travels, works a full time job, takes care of his house, and dips his fingers into any opportunity. Glenn pulls from the well of his past to fill his novel Bled Out with visual clarity. See the Amazon and his website reviews.

Website - Laughathorror.com

Facebook Writing  - https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000487534705

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/glenn.parkhurst   

Blog - http://graytale.blogspot.com/

Bled Out The Book Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/BledOutTheBook

Bled Out - http://www.amazon.com/Bled-Out-Glenn-Oliver-Parkhurst/dp/0984639225/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318768846&sr=8-1

All Things That Matter Press - http://www.allthingsthatmatterpress.com/ 

October 23, 2011

JUST WHO IS ROBERT RUBENSTEIN ANYWAY?

ROBERT RUBENSTEIN


I am the author of Ghost Runners, and The White Bridge, soon to be published by All Things That Matter Press—but not for everyone. A trilogy, finishing next year with a treatise on Howdy Doody and the nuclear bomb is sure to raise eyebrows, but not book sales, unless you are also compelled to make sense of the time that had the greatest influence on our lives. In The White Bridge, my flapper gal reporter, Ginger Lee Smythe, concludes that truth is nothing, and nothing is truth. My uncle, Jack Ruby, is given a play as a street tough in old Chicago. Buy my books because he was my uncle and I, his nephew? I don’t think so. Maybe I am lying about that, you say. Well, maybe I am.

 Most of my life anyway I was told to hide that truth—that’s why you will not see my middle name, Jack, on my books. But Uncle Jack did have a point. My first reaction when I heard Lee Oswald was shot dead was,”thank you, uncle jack, it’s good for the bastard.”

I grew up with television and learned to write history from Crusader Rabbit, Rocky and his Friends, and Fractured Fairy Tales. I believed in Dudley Do Right and Mighty Mouse. When I was three years old, I crawled onto the tenement fire escape and spread my arms to the heavens. “I want to fly like Superman,” I told my mother.

You see, now you are getting closer to why you should buy my books. I believed in fairy tales. I hid under my mother’s skirts when I saw the infamous “Bambi,” in the movie theater. I was shot dead with three – D. Hondo’s rocks that came hurdling out of the celluloid screen to put a dent in my head. I was attacked by King Kong and Godzilla. I am in therapy to this day because they shot John Lennon.

I grew dizzy in the fifties, and I have seen Nazis ever since. Every man should be required to say his prayers about what he has witnessed and what was the cost of the history he bears. I am fortunate to be entering the twilight years, a little wiser and not yet suffering from Alzheimer.

I know I was lied to, and was traumatized by the country I never left, and fought to change, though I heard voices during the hearing test and was deferred from serving our nation. I said, “boo hoo,” that I did not kill or maim anyone in Viet Nam. But I sure wish I could wear a cool hat to say I was a war protestor.

The Olympics are coming—seventy-five years since an outrage occurred. Ghost Runners is about American anti-Semitism and sports. It is about the heart that can conquer hate. It is the same thing with The White Bridge. Why should you buy me?

I am, as old as I am, representative of a new breed of writers that sell our wares by way of a small independent family of authors who are quite good and avante -garde. I have seen that the rest of our little group can pack a mean, competitive pen.

I believe my parodies are vital to the understanding of racism and history; they are, though fractured, but vital about knowing who we are, and where we are going. There is no living room conversation with smart – sets about the Olympics without Ghost Runners. There is not a complete understanding about racist America without The White Bridge. Taken together, you will be inoculated forever.

Buy me because it took me a lifetime to get to this declaration. There is sometimes a great notion as Ken Kesey said. If its warped history you seek—horror, hysterical and uproarious—I think I may be worth the price of admission. If you don’t like my books, I’ll pay you back … someday.

Can’t wait to begin the last book of the series with your support … “in a red – bricked classroom, a little five year old boy crawls under a desk filled with inkwells, trying to protect his little head from the shards of glass of the window that he was told not to view. If I were a good boy, and kissed my dog tag that would survive me, I would go to heaven, the teacher cried, when the nuclear bomb came. This is a drill now, she said, but you willbe dead very soon, anyway.”

The Boy Who Looked Through  A Crack In The Window ends my trilogy. Why should you buy my book? Because you are the future, and I would like to scare you a little—you see, I still see clearly because I have studied the past through Howdy Doody’s eyes.

Robert Rubenstein

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Runners-Robert-Rubenstein/dp/0984621652/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317343885&sr=1-1

http://scribblercom.blogspot.com/


October 20, 2011

JUST WHO IS KENNETH WEENE ANYWAY?

KENNETH WEENE


                                           JUST WHO IS KENNETH WEENE ANYWAY?


Life itches and torments Kenneth Weene like pesky flies. Annoyed, he picks up a pile of paper to slap at the buzzing and often whacks himself on the head. Each whack is another story. At least having half-blinded himself, he has learned not to wave the pencil about. Ken will, however, write on until the last gray cell has retreated and there are no longer these strange ideas demanding his feeble efforts. So many poems, stories, novels; and more to come.


So far, Ken has two novels published by All Things That Matter Press and a third will be out soon.


The first is Widow’s Walk, the story of a woman restarting her life and her two adult children. Widow’s Walk is a tale of love, sexuality, religion, and spirit. A box of Kleenex is an essential accessory when reading this emotional and meaningful novel.


Memoirs From the Asylum is set in a state psychiatric hospital. Full of tragedy, humor, and pathos, Memoirs reminds us that there are many forms of asylums and that it is all to easy to give up the most essential human freedom, the freedom to choose who we are. More than anything, Memoirs From the Asylum is a book for people who love words; it is a book that asks to be read aloud.


Coming soon is Tales From the Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town. The folks who hang out at this neighborhood bar are struggling to know that they too belong. This is a book of intersecting stories that illustrate the humanity of us all and our search for a place in which to belong.


Trained as a psychologist and an ordained minister, Ken knows that the human heart is the most elemental place to begin any story. Having also written a good amount of poetry, he strives to make the language of his books unique. Ken also brings the clear-eyed realism of a born and bred New Englander to his writing. The overall results are books that are especially moving and well-written.


You can learn more about Ken athttp://www.authorkenweene.com

A good link for more about Widow’s Walk is:

http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=wbgzb2yk

For Memoirs From the Asylum visit 

http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=nqm74a8k


Both Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are available in print as well as Kindle and Nook.


October 18, 2011

OANA NICULAE


Healing through laughter is not a dream, but a recipe for survival.



If you were to read a book about Oana's life, you might easily decide it was a work of fiction. 

Born in Bucharest, Romania, Oana lived twenty years under the grotesque dictatorial regime of Ceausescu. After the fall of communism in 1989 she studied languages at the University in Bucharest, then received her Master’s degree at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. English is her third language. 

She has worn many hats, working as a translator, as a teacher, and eventually caring for animals both domestic and wild.Volunteering in both the U.S. and Canada, she worked for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers.

Currently residing in Arizona, Oana continues to dedicate most of her time to her animals and to writing.  

Her first book, The Healings, debuted in November 2010. It is a hard-to-put-down, laugh-out-loud series of adventures of an eccentric duo: a man and his feline partner walking from ‘healer’ to ‘healer’ and hoping to achieve awareness.

Oana’s take on depression is simple and effective: witticism and laughter coupled with the understanding of the frailty of human nature help us heal. An animal companion, real or imaginary, can be very therapeutic as well.

Many a reader – depressed or not -- will recognize the insanity of most of our daily routines and the elusiveness of Truth.

Oana’s current projects include a memoir titled,Romanian Rhapsody, a children’s book, Dr.Schnauzer and Nurse Lhassa, as well as other stories, all written in the same witty humorous style.      

She is also an active member of Central Phoenix Writing Workshop http://www.paloverdepages.com/ and a co-host of Two Unsychronized Souls Radio Show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/monicabrinkmanandoana 

To learn more about Oana, visit her author’s website www.thehealings.net  
To read excerpts from The Healings go to http://www.thehealings.net/excerpts-from-the-healings.html

The Healings is available in paperback on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Healings-Oana/dp/0984615482/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289455146&sr=1-1
In Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Healings-ebook/dp/B004BSH0RI/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/192-1862715-7132302?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1289455146&sr=1-1 

and Nook format
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-healings-oana/1029789781?ean=2940012775313&itm=1&usri=oana#

October 8, 2011

WAKE-UP CALL by Salvatore Buttaci



Once there lived a little boy named Giovanni Romano whose parents came from Italy, a country way across the ocean. They had to book passage on a ship that took more than ten days to arrive in America. Giovanni's parents knelt and kissed the ground at Ellis Island. They raised their arms towards the blue sky and thanked God in Heaven for their good fortune. 

In Italy, a country they loved, it was impossible finding work. The land would not produce healthy crops. Opportunities were nowhere to be found, only frustration, hunger, and even widespread sicknesses. With heavy hearts the newly married Carmela and Francesco Romano emigrated from the land of their ancestors to find new lives in America. 

A son was born shortly after Francesco found a job building city roads with pick and shovel from dawn until nightfall. Yet despite back-breaking labor, he was grateful to be employed, to be earning money for his wife and their new child.

On the job the other workers who were not Italians, and the bosses demanding that he work harder and harder, and the city folk passing by, all of them hurled at Francesco derogatory names like "Dago," "Guinea," and "Greaseball." Still, Francesco raised his pick high over aching shoulders and sank it into the cracking rock, then took the shovel and dug into the deepening dirt. He ignored them, unwilling and unable to jeopardize the few dollars a week he earned by standing up to them. He would take the verbal abuse as long as he could continue working an honest day's work for what even he realized was not nearly enough pay as the others earned for the same labor.

Giovanni grew with the passing years, detesting all things that were not American. He hated the Italian language the three of them spoke. He was ashamed to introduce his friends to his parents because their accents were so heavy Giovanni could not bear it. One day he said to his parents, "Don't call me 'Giovanni' anymore. My name is Johnny." Needless to say, they were hurt by their son's insistence that he was an American and he wanted to fit into American society, not be ridiculed because he was different, and at the same time they understood how difficult it was for their Giov--Johnny. People could be cruel.

Not content with being Johnny Romano, he legally changed his name to Johnny Logan! By then his mother had died of cancer and his father, living alone now in his Brooklyn apartment, hardly saw his son at all. He was too busy. He had no time. Life was short. There was money to be made. When Francesco passed away, Johnny was in the Bahamas. The funeral took place without him.

Then, as it happens, Johnny too grew old and alone. His wife left him. Took his children. Johnny Logan had become a very lonely man. He'd spend his time watching TV late into the night. Shows like "The Sopranos" and later on "The Jersey Shore," though he watched them, made him sad. His parents were nothing like those people. They were honest. They went to church on Sunday. They never used foul language. Never wanted anything that did not belong to them.

Perhaps one can say it bordered on stupidity that Johnny Logan who had fought against his Italian roots all his life would in his final years decide to become Giovanni Romano again. He thought back on the stories his father would tell about what he went through, the name-calling Americani who looked down on him and all his paisani as if they were all gangsters, fools, the very dirt they walked on.

It was a late wake-up call for Giovanni, but better late than never. He joined Italian American groups in their efforts to fight media prejudice against their ethnicity. He finally realized that what his father had suffered, along with the millions of immigrants who came here from Italy, was a gross injustice. A slap in the face to the people who gave the world Columbus, Michelangelo, Fermi, Garibaldi and thousands of others who helped shape the world and our country.

Now when Giovanni lays his head down to sleep, the old nightmares are gone. Sometimes he dreams his mama carries to the kitchen table a hot steaming dish of farfalle topped with her rich red meat sauce. "What does 'farfalle' mean?" he asks her. She smiles as she spoons the macaroni into his plate. "Butterflies," Mama says. "Like a miracle they leave the flowers and come to rest in my delicious sauce!" 

And the two of them--Papa as well--laugh before grace.

#


Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two short-short story collections available at Amazon.com: Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, both published by All Things That Matter Press. He is also in the process of editing his novel Carmelu the Sicilian, about a man who fights back against the biased media and wins. 



















September 13, 2011

WHAT IS A PUN-KU ?



Poetry today continues to entertain readers, inspiring poets to write a greater number of poems according to the requirements of established poetic forms. The sonnet, for example, did not die with Shakespeare, Milton, Petrarch and the other masters. It is still being written according to the required iambic pentameter and rhyme patterns set down centuries ago. In most instances all that has changed is that poets write sonnets without the antiquated language of the past. 

Because poetry is dynamic, because we are not restricted to reading only the works of famous poets, most of whom are gone from the literary scene, modern-day poets are creating new forms. 

Here is a partial list of them with poet-inventors’ names in parentheses:

ALLOUETTE       (Jan Turner)
ARAGMAN         (Salvatore Buttaci in 2005)
BINA                    (Bob Newman)
BLITZ                   (Robert Keim)
BOP      (Afaa Michael Weaver)
CAMEO               (Alice Spokes)
CASCADE            (Udit Bhatia)
CLEAVE              (Phuoc-Tan Diep)
DETEN                 (Johnn Schroeder)
ETHEREE            (Etheree Taylor Armstrong) 
HAY(NA)KU       (Eileen Tabios) 
JORIO                   (Niels Stegeman)
LEFT-HANDED POEM     (Johnn Schroeder)
NOVE OTTO       (Scott J. Alcorn)
ROTHKO             (Bob Holman)
SEVENLING      [Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966)]
ZENO                    (Pat Lewis in 2009)

I would like to add still another new poetic form which I call the PUN-KU. Here are the requirements for writing one.

(1)    Unlike the haiku that allows for a less than strict adherence to the 17-syllable rule, the pun-ku must be exactly 17 syllables long. 

(2)    It contains only four (4) lines arranged syllabically as follows:
Line 1: 4 syllables     Line 2:  5 syllables      Line 3:  4 syllables    Line 4:  4 syllables

(3)    As for the end-rhyme pattern, Lines 1 and 2 do not rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 do.

(4)    The pun-ku must contain a pun on one or more of the words used in the poem.  The subject matter deals with human nature, is light, humorous, or witty.

(5)   The title of the pun-ku can only be one- or two-words long (or short).

Here are two of my pun-ku for examples.


LOVE’S MYSTERY

nothing is more
paradoxical
around these parts
than two cleaved hearts

#


TIMBER

strong lumberjacks
locate forest trees
then saw their bark
despite the dark 

#

In the first example, the pun is on the word “cleaved,” which has two opposite meanings: “to cling together” and “to split apart.” In the second example, the pun is on the word “saw,” which can be defined as “a tool for cutting” and “the past tense of the verb ‘to see.’ “

You might have fun writing a few pun-ku of your own!

Here are a few sites to visit if you’re looking to learn more about poetic forms. You can also do a search of “poetic forms” or type in a form and search for it.

http://www.poetrysoup.com/poetry_forms/index.aspx?Letter=D    

http://www.freewebs.com/itllnever/poemstylesandterms.htm 

http://www.poetrybase.info/forms/origin.shtml 


#

Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two flash collections published by All things That Matter Press and available at Amazon.com in book and Kindle editions. Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts.


September 9, 2011

POEMS OF 9/11/01

                                        (c) 2001 Sharon Bateman Buttaci




FOR THE VICTIMS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

beneath the rubble and debris
down the shafts of steel and concrete
far from autos yet abandoned
past grey clouds of soot and dust
below the boots of feet still shuffling
crushed against the tumbled walls
only God can hear the moaning
see the souls drift to the light

someone calls out to an old friend
but the old friend can't reply
and the day grows old to nightfall
all the weary trudge on home
but down beneath the broken sidewalk
in the darkness of ground zero
only God can hear the moaning
see the souls drift to the light

one by one He guides them upward
past the billows of thick smoke
one by one they say, "Forgive them,"
and like night birds fly to freedom
fly these souls above the city
to a heaven celebrating
someone calls out to an old friend
to an old friend recognized

oh, the joy of souls rejoicing
as they dance in God's Good Light.

               #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci


SAVED

How blessed you are to have found God again!
Eighty-four stories high in what was once
the World Trade Center. Outside your window
pulverized stone hailed down from clouds blazing
red-blue on a Tuesday morning, and slabs
of concrete falling from the upper floors
you learned later were trapped workers
who would not wait for death
hand in hand plunging from fiery windows.

For the first time in years you said your prayers,
called God's name, prayed away your fears
of perishing there, then with the others
calmly took to the stairs down towards
ground-level freedom. Through the smoke and dust
you imagined you saw angels, ghostly
white, ascending the stairs towards you,
but they were firefighters crowned with
sooty helmets, oxygen tanks strapped on
their backs like wings-- heroes racing to their deaths
in a desperate futile rush to save lost lives.

You don't say much in your mourning.
Memories are painful to express.
It will take time before you walk
those New York streets again,
but in all your quiet moments
safe at home, you thank the God
Who saved you. You pray. You pray.

                         #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci




 RESCUERS

Don't say, "It's over now. Leave this place.
Go home." Don't shake your heads convinced
we won't find a living soul beneath
this man-made hell. We will go on
passing buckets hand to hand.
We will not leave the wounded buried here.
With all our strength we'll go on digging.

Underneath the surface of the street
lost in a tall heap of collapsed floors
tower victims are waiting to be saved.
They hear our shovels clang against
the glass and steel of tumbled walls.
They're holding on; they know we're near.
With all our faith we won't stop digging.

Don't say how we sacrifice our time
and sweat sifting through the rubble
as if we, not these buried, were true heroes.
We do not dig because we are brave;
we dig because we are afraid
to walk away. At night in sleep
we hear their pleas and we tremble.

There are people still alive here.
Don't hold your breath that we will quit.
With all we've got we'll stand our ground;
we'll go on digging

                   #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci 




REMEMBRANCE HOUSE

In a room dark as cobalt blue
Lady Sorrow will sit
with the gentleman Grief.
From the same deep cup
(inconsolably)
they'll sip with quivering mouths
the bitter tea of loss and longing.
"My heart breaks again,"
Sorrow will say to her love,
but Grief will not reply.
With trembling hand he'll toss
away a waste of words;
he'll remind here where they are.
How misfortune sealed their love.
Then into the empty cup he'll pour again.

                         #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci




HOW PROUD WE ARE

America, how proud we are
to be counted among your children!
Mother and father to us all,
you have nurtured us since birth.
When we fall, you raise us up,
tend to our scrapings, teach us right
from wrong, make us unafraid.

America, how glad we are
to be your loving sons and daughters!
In history's darkest hours
you have placed upon our shoulders
the stars and stripes forever.
Like a shawl against the elements,
your flag has kept us warm and brave.

America, how blessed we are
to walk the streets of this great land!
Protector of your citizens,
you turn back the brandished swords
upon those who try to steal our freedom.
Sweet America, angel mine,
under your wing, keep us free from harm.

                  #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci




THAT TUESDAY

A flag in the window,
some candles on the step.
A neighbor cries easily now.
He tells us, "I cannot leave
my brothers resting there.
I will pick my way past
jagged steel and listen
for their whispers climbing
from the ruins."

A flag in the window,
some candles on the step.
A little girl kisses
the framed picture of
her smiling father.
She and her brother
want to know,
"When is Daddy coming home?"
In the other room Mommy gags
her tears into a handkerchief.

A flag in the window,
some candles on the step.
A survivor races
from the fallen tower
like a grey statue come to life,
then races back to save
a stranger. "She was lying there,
dazed and bleeding," he says.
"I carried her out but
she died in my arms."

A flag in the window,
some candles on the step.
A Tuesday-morning moment
changes our lives forever.
Now we question our own laughter,
we own up to our mortality,
and while the TV flashes
scenes from hell, you and I hold hands
to keep from feeling lonely.

                   #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci




IN THE MADNESS OF A MORNING

I will remember you
for as long as I live
though your footsteps
are silent now

once I could know you
by the sound of your walking
I could expect soon
there would be laughter

who would've believed
our world would change
that in the madness of a morning
I would lose you

in the clearing of smoke
in the smoldering ashes
the small voice of hope
says only this: Life goes on

I will remember you
for as long as I live
though your photographs
are all I have

who would've thought
death could force itself
upon our joy
hush forever the kindest heart

the patter of footsteps
laughter loud as song
echo down the twists and turns
of my courage

I will never forget you
I will live on
though I walk alone
I will be strong

          #
© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci


Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two short-short story collections published by All Things That Matter Press and available at Amazon.com in book and Kindle editions.
Flashing My Shorts:   http://tinyurl.com/6772fps    
200 Shorts:               http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e

Buttaci lives in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia with his angel wife Sharon.

Prime time for crime

Prime time for crime

September 5, 2011

LAST BLOOMING

         
he watches her now
birdlike
on the rack
quivering with pain


dying


last moments crawl by
studded
with sharp thorns
on blooms bleaching white


dying


how will I go on
he asks
the women
(mother, sisters, friend)


dying


she’ll be gone from me
hordes of
nightmare beasts 
reminding me she’s 


dying 


she’s crossing the bar 
into 
forever 
one last kiss before 


dying


#

Salvatore Buttaci is the author of 200 Shorts, a collection of short-short stories, published by All Things That Matter Press and available at Amazon.com in book and Kindle editions. 
http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e 

June 16, 2011

200 Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci



 200 Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci
200 Shorts  by Salvatore Buttaci
Master of the Flash is back! In his new collection of 200 short-short stories, Salvatore Buttaci introduces us to characters hard to forget. In less than 1,000 words they tell stories of humor, hidden emotions, love, nostalgia, violence, time and space travel, and downright horror. The author’s flashes appeal to all readers in search of a good read worth the purchase price. It won’t be so easy putting this book down.

Order your copy or Kindle edition at Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e


About the Author
Salvatore Buttaci is a retired English teacher who has been writing since childhood. His first published work, an essay entitled “Presidential Timber,” appeared in the Sunday New York News when he was sixteen. Since then his poems, letters, short stories, and articles have been widely published in The New York Times, Newsday, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Cats Magazine, and elsewhere in America and overseas. In 2001, Pudding House Publications included his work in the Greatest Hits Series with his chapbook, Greatest Hits: 1970-2000. He was also the 2007 recipient of the $500.00 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.

What Others Are Saying:


A Fun and Unpredictable Collection,
Short ‘flash’ fiction is a tricky art. A writer has to be able to incorporate the potency of poetry and the plot and character development of a short story. Well, if you want to learn how to do it well, read Buttaci’s book. Likewise, if you just want a book of 200 dynamic and riveting stories for sheer entertainment, buy Buttaci’s book. It’s a great collection for anyone who enjoys a good short story (or 200 of them).   
–Jen Knox, author of To Begin Again and Musical Chairs


Salvatore: a beautiful writer
Drawing on his Sicilian heritage and his experience as a writer and a teacher, Salvatore Buttaci has excelled in this presentation of 200 Shorts (flash fiction).
In bite-sized stories, and with humor and grace, Salvatore treats us to a compilation which has us laughing, crying, smiling, thinking.
He’s a beautiful writer! His last book Flashing My Shorts won much acclaim. Go on: add these books to your reading lists – treat yourself and buy one, or two, or three. Friends will love you and will love the gift you give!
Well deserving of the five stars awarded.
–Eliza Earsman, author of A Collection of Verse  + 3 other books.

Flash Fiction at Its Best 
Sal Buttaci is a master of flash fiction, those short prose pieces that tell a story in two sentences or two pages. This is his second publication of short fiction…In these 200 stories the reader will discover the talent of the author to narrate a story that keeps the reader with him all the way. This is a collection for those who enjoy brief stories well told, and who will finally come to the close of the book hoping for a third collection by Sal Buttaci.
–Jean Rodenbough, author of Rachel’s Children: Surviving the Second World War.


          200 Shorts
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (April 24, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0984639241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984639243
 Order your copy or Kindle edition at Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e



200 Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci


 200 Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci
200 Shorts  by Salvatore Buttaci
Master of the Flash is back! In his new collection of 200 short-short stories, Salvatore Buttaci introduces us to characters hard to forget. In less than 1,000 words they tell stories of humor, hidden emotions, love, nostalgia, violence, time and space travel, and downright horror. The author’s flashes appeal to all readers in search of a good read worth the purchase price. It won’t be so easy putting this book down.

Order your copy or Kindle edition at Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e


About the Author
Salvatore Buttaci is a retired English teacher who has been writing since childhood. His first published work, an essay entitled “Presidential Timber,” appeared in the Sunday New York News when he was sixteen. Since then his poems, letters, short stories, and articles have been widely published in The New York Times, Newsday, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Cats Magazine, and elsewhere in America and overseas. In 2001, Pudding House Publications included his work in the Greatest Hits Series with his chapbook, Greatest Hits: 1970-2000. He was also the 2007 recipient of the $500.00 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.

What Others Are Saying:


A Fun and Unpredictable Collection,
Short ‘flash’ fiction is a tricky art. A writer has to be able to incorporate the potency of poetry and the plot and character development of a short story. Well, if you want to learn how to do it well, read Buttaci’s book. Likewise, if you just want a book of 200 dynamic and riveting stories for sheer entertainment, buy Buttaci’s book. It’s a great collection for anyone who enjoys a good short story (or 200 of them).    
–Jen Knox, author of To Begin Again and Musical Chairs


Salvatore: a beautiful writer
Drawing on his Sicilian heritage and his experience as a writer and a teacher, Salvatore Buttaci has excelled in this presentation of 200 Shorts (flash fiction).
In bite-sized stories, and with humor and grace, Salvatore treats us to a compilation which has us laughing, crying, smiling, thinking.
He’s a beautiful writer! His last book Flashing My Shorts won much acclaim. Go on: add these books to your reading lists – treat yourself and buy one, or two, or three. Friends will love you and will love the gift you give!
Well deserving of the five stars awarded.
–Eliza Earsman, author of A Collection of Verse  + 3 other books.

Flash Fiction at Its Best  
Sal Buttaci is a master of flash fiction, those short prose pieces that tell a story in two sentences or two pages. This is his second publication of short fiction…In these 200 stories the reader will discover the talent of the author to narrate a story that keeps the reader with him all the way. This is a collection for those who enjoy brief stories well told, and who will finally come to the close of the book hoping for a third collection by Sal Buttaci.
–Jean Rodenbough, author of Rachel’s Children: Surviving the Second World War.


          200 Shorts
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (April 24, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0984639241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984639243
 Order your copy or Kindle edition at Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/3o5w84e



A & W Radio

A & W Radio

March 16, 2011

SAL'S PLACE: MAMA AND ST. JOSEPH'S DAY by Salvatore Buttaci

SAL'S PLACE: MAMA AND ST. JOSEPH'S DAY by Salvatore Buttaci: " St. Joseph's Day, March 19, was always a day of celebration in our family. It was my late mother's saint's-name ..."

MAMA AND ST. JOSEPH'S DAY by Salvatore Buttaci















St. Joseph's Day, March 19, was always a day of celebration in our family. It was my late mother's saint's-name day, and we would eat dishes to which my mother would give a traditional touch, like red-sauced spaghetti sprinkled with muddichi, toasted breadcrumbs, instead of the usual grated cheeses. For dessert, unpeeled oranges were cut into thin slices. Of course, Mama baked her delicious cream puffs!

Mama's parents named her Giuseppina, Josephine, in a deal they made with Sicily's patron saint, San Giuseppe, Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus. It was a difficult birth and my grandparents needed all the prayers they could get. They prayed St. Joseph would join them in those prayers. Several years before, they had lost their young daughter Rosalia, named after the infant's paternal grandmother, and now they chose not to give that same name to my mother. Years later, when Mama and Papa lost their first daughter Giovanna, who was only three, they chose instead to also name their third daughter Giovanna, but they called her Joan, rather than Jenny, “the baby we lost.”

I also remember the Happy St. Joseph's Day greeting cards my mother received, which she displayed on top of the TV. My Aunt Fannie Giambrone and Aunt Rosie Palazzola never forgot my mother's special day. The cards came from relatives and friends, here and from their old village in Acquaviva Platani, Sicily.

My mother had a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary and to several of the saints. St. Joseph was just one of them. San Antonio di Padua, whose feast day is June 13, was another favorite. My middle name is Antonio because she too made a deal with a saint on the day of my birth, June 12. A healthy baby to carry the name of a saint!

Another favorite of hers was Santa Lucia, St. Lucy, patron saint of the physically blind. Every December 13th, on the saint's feast day, she would not eat anything made from regular flour. Instead, she would cook wheat flour and make a dish she called cuccia. She said she made that small sacrifice so that all of us would enjoy good eyesight. In fact, I believe I made it through three laser eye surgeries because Mama and good St. Lucy were looking out for me.

Mama prayed constantly. Growing up, I would tease her about her rosary, how she would say five of them a day! Once I told her, “Ma, you should've been a nun!” then thought, How dumb. Where would I be if she had been Sister Giuseppina instead of my mother!

One of the proudest memories I have of both my parents is walking in on them one early evening. They were kneeling before their huge crucifix in the living room, reciting the rosary, Papa beginning the prayers in Latin and Mama completing them in Italian. No way did I expect them to stop their prayers, so I sat on the sofa and read the newspaper.

And all those nights we kept her up worrying and working those beads. She couldn't sleep until we walked through the door, but I am certain before letting herself drift into dreamsville, she prayed an additional string of beads in thanksgiving prayers.

Once my cousin Betty told her, “No wonder you're up all night, Aunt Josie. You're praying for everybody! Why not just say, 'God bless us all,' and let it go at that,” but my mother said she preferred naming each of us by name in the prayers she offered up to Heaven. She prayed for the people she knew, the people she did not know, the so-called enemy nations of our country, and for the poor souls in Purgatory. I asked her in her last years, “Ma, who will pray for me when you are gone?” She smiled and said, “I will go on praying for you and all my family until we are reunited in Heaven!”

In my godless days in college and beyond, I had little use for church and religion. I had fallen into that old trap where I felt competent enough to look at the world's sorrows and blame God, or worse, question God's existence. After all, would a good God allow genocide or infant deaths or a host of so many other unexplainable misfortunes? But like St. Monica who prayed for her atheist son Augustine, later a saint of the church, to change his unbelief in God, Mama prayed for me. If I ever reach Heaven and they let me in, it will be because of my mother's prayers.

This is the first year for as long as I can recall that I do not send Mama a St. Joseph's Day card. On September 18, 2010, she left her pain and suffering behind and winged her way to the God she loved with her whole heart and soul. We miss her terribly, but now when I pray and ask my mother's favorite saints to pray with me, I include Mama among them. After all, who, more than my mother, knew precisely how to pray, how to ask for graces and then end all her prayers with, “Your will, not mine be done.”

                                                 ###

Salvatore Buttaci, author of Flashing My Shorts
and the soon-to-be-released 200 Shorts

March 9, 2011

MY BROTHER ALPHONSE by Salvatore Buttaci

My brother Alphonse, our mother, and I (1995)


MY BROTHER ALPHONSE


He was my big brother. In a family of eight children, he was the oldest child; I was the middle one. He spent his early years in the Great Depression while I was born six months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Nine years separated us. We called him “Alphonse,” and sometimes “Al,” but my parents called him by his birth name, “Alfonso.”

We were hardly close back then.

During those 1940s Brooklyn days gone by, Al was studying to be a priest, a straight-A student at the Pallottine Fathers Seminary in Sag Harbor, New York. I can still vividly remember those long train trips from New York City, past Poughkeepsie, and finally the taxi ride that stopped at the main hall. We'd visit with him, take black-and-white pictures of the family with Papa's old Kodak camera, and take the train back to our tenement apartment on Graham Avenue.

After three years at the seminary, Al decided against a religious vocation. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and we saw even less of him than before. Upon his discharge from the service after four years, he took a salesman's job selling magazines in various American cities, one at which he met his future wife Celia Ann Hitechew. Together they had four children: Michael, Jodi, John, and Alfonsina.

Al was an excellent believer in the old adage, “Believe in yourself.” From magazine salesman he advanced himself up the executive ladder until finally he was a vice-president in a leading janitorial maintenance corporation that boasted offices all over the country. He had a knack for winning friends and influencing potential buyers. A super-keen sense of business helped him earn money for himself and for the corporate people he worked for. We were proud of him.

It was not until the 1970s that we two brothers seem to meet on common ground. I was no longer the kid brother. He had become less distant. What brought us together was the fear of losing our mother to a serious brain tumor. He had come to visit; we talked, perhaps one can say, we bonded. As for Mama, her brain tumors miraculously disappeared! About that same time, Al became a Born-again Catholic and looked at life in a much different light than ever before. For me, he was easier to talk to. He cared about the important things in life. He put his trust in the Peace of Christ and life became more meaningful than ever before.

In the 80s, he, my friend Aldo, and I began collaborating on country and gospel songs. Al and Aldo wrote the music and Al and I, the lyrics. In fact, four of our country songs were used as background music in a B-film called Fortress of Amerikkka. We were Saldo Music, ASCAP members!

By the time 1990 rolled around, Al and I decided to spend three weeks in Sicily, visiting the Sicilian mountain village of Acquaviva Platani where our parents originated. We went again in 1995, and those two vacations were filled with such happy memories: two brothers rattling off our Sicilian, drinking homemade wine, singing in the streets, laughing with our Sicilian cousins. Those days were priceless.

Alphonse died one year ago today. He had beaten cancer in 1999 when the two of us struggled with it and our sister Anna had died from hers, but it came back and took his life. Sharon and I drove from West Virginia to the hospital in Hackensack, New Jersey, hardly expecting to find him in his last hours. Though he was unconscious, I spoke to him, told him how much I loved him, said prayers with Sharon and the family gathered at the sides of his deathbed. All the while I kept thinking of an old Janis Joplin
song line, “Take another little piece of my heart now...” Papa, Anna and Frankie were gone. Now Alphonse. One more heartbreak.

Two weeks before, Al and I were talking on the phone, something we did quite often. He was explaining how the cancer, first in his bladder, now showed up in his lung, and the doctors suspected it had also traveled to his liver.

“I'm worried, Al,” I said.

“No, don't worry.”

“If the cancer's moving--”

Then my brother said something that reflected his strong faith in God, his trust in God's Will, that same trust our mother had taught us would see us through all things.

“Way I look at it,” Al began, “if it spreads and I'm meant to die, I'll die. If not, I'll survive. Either way, I can't lose.”

It's been a year, March 10 again, and I miss him terribly, but I know one day we'll all meet again. Whatever made us joyful, whatever made us laugh, will do so again, but in that timelessness of life beyond this finite one we shall dance and sing in the Light of Christ!

                                                                           #

Salvatore Buttaci, author of Flashing My Shorts





February 18, 2011

DEAR OBJECT OF MY PINING by SALVATORE BUTTACI


In darkened rooms throughout the world, away from hives where crowds assemble to exchange malicious slander, pining hearts are prey to horrid loneliness, lives rearranged
by lovers versed in saying, albeit kindly, “No, I do not love you.”

Alone, they harbor deep resentments as do I. Worn down by a failed affair, devoid now of boundless faith in love, these malcontents lack the strength to fight despair. They prefer instead the darkened room to rail against the false allure of light.

This heart of mine, beyond repair, accepts its doom. In solitude now, I still wish for love to shine. For me I won’t believe it’s much too late.

Imagine me, Catherine, on life’s stage tonight attired in white suit and black mask, a Punchinello in classic pose. In white-gloved hand I strum a lute to thunderous applause. I bow: a brute who masquerades a gentleman without sorrow. The world sees my façade, only what I show, not this tormented fool riddled with the stabs of heartbreak. They see the friendly comic Mr. Punch whose fall elicits belly laughs, not the man you threw away. The stick with which I whack those on the stage is hardly humor. A second encore brings me back. I bow and they say, “How sleek!” No one, least of all, you, dear Catherine, can delve beneath this suave veneer and see, not Punch, but Punched, Laid Low, Victim of Unrequited Love.
How dark a time, you ask? The weight that crushed my heart, how heavy? None can say in prose nor poetry what words describe the void you left. What slush of wordy drivel could dare speak of my lament! Verses, paragraphs, hardly come near the telling. The love of my life has closed the door to heaven. You have dismissed me with a wave of your once healing hand. “I do not love you,“ you said from lips I have kissed and dreamed I would press with mine forever. “I do not love you.“ The door was shut. We disappeared from each other. Life that only days ago was filled with warm celebrations, now leaves me cold. No longer can I speak the language of my heart that in mourning lies silent. And what could my heart say? Whirling once in the eddy of love’s madness, your estrangement jolted it to dazed stillness. It merely beats to keep me alive to pine away.

Yesterday from afar I saw you in your garden, red roses in hand. These misty eyes delighted in stealing a glimpse of you. Your face, your form… The usual fantasy took hold of me and I imagined true love grew wings and battled victoriously against unrequited love, and this dream to have you mine came true.

I saw you, roses in hand, and wished to take their place, feel your gentle kindness. In your presence the summer breezes hold their breaths and time stands still. Only in my mind we kiss and bid goodbye, not to each other, but to the lonely past, the wasted loveless time in whose vise I am prisoner. I pretend our love is a flower no frost can kill.

I make believe you will read this letter and recant. I wait humbly for your reply.

The man who loves you,

Vincent