September 8, 2014


My older sister Anna Buttaci Coppola was born September 08, 1936 and passed away of uterine cancer on October 22, 1999. Needless to say, I miss her everyday. What keeps me from the snares of constant sorrow is my belief that she is in Heaven, her reward for loving God and serving Him all her life.

These poems and pictures celebrate her life. 

First Holy Communion: 1943


I will remember you each day
In all my prayers and words I say.
Anna, how could I forget you
and all the happy times we knew?
It hurts to know you could not stay.

Those childhood years we filled with play,
The faith you had each time you prayed
And how my own faith you renewed.
  I will remember!

The time flew by-- too fast away!
And left our lives in disarray.
This much for certain will be true;
This much I swear in life I'll do:
    I will remember!

© 1999 Salvatore Buttaci

 Sal, Anna, and Joanie: Brooklyn 1948


I dreamed of you last night.
You appeared to me, young
again, healthy, and like when 
I'd tell funny jokes in the old days,
you were laughing uncontrollably.
That same laugh I heard throughout the dream; 
that laugh I remember most of 
all about you. Then I awoke
and tried so hard to hold onto 
the dream, but it flew away like
a bird homing towards its morning sky.
Dear sister, I can look up and
know you're safe up there
cradled by the night stars, my angel
walking freely  in the day clouds,
sharing laughter with the universe.

© 2000 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna and Godmother Jennie Coppola: 1948


This morning again
I remembered you
and that same old 
something in my heart
grew weary of our separation.

It was the morning air,
the autumn breeze brushing
behind me like a passing soul
with your walk, your presence:
another day empty of you.

I remembered you 
again this morning
and your voice clear 
as rain said, brother, 
how can love ever die?

I remembered you,
prompted by this sigh,
this trembling, these tears
clouding these eyes--

I say to wherever you are
No way can love die!
then I lighten the weight
that pulls me down to sorrow
by lifting my head and smiling. 

I remember the two of us in 
a long-ago October free of grief 
and parting.  What of that day 
have I forgotten?
Which of us said what
to double us over in laughter?

© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna and husband Ciro: 1957


in my early years
you took me under your wing
and taught me how to read

in my later years
you helped me spread my wings
and showed me how to hope

two years ago
you lay in a white nest
small, thin, featherless

before you tumbled skyward
on your last day
you said how much you loved me

© 2001 Salvatore Buttaci

 Mama and Anna at a picnic: 1995


These are the tears
Wrung from a body
Stretched on the rack
Of a torturous disease.

I saved these tears
This water that’s holy
That flowed from the eyes
Of my sister, a saint.

© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

 Anna's seven children: Michael, Julie, Josephine, Louisa, Grace, 
 Anna Marie and Sal: 2014


My dear sister, gone from eyes yet weeping 
in this cruel decade of separation, 
still you visit my gray sleep and slay
demons with your beatific smile. 

In these slumber visitations, 
pretending sorrow never pierced my heart, 
I delight in your voice again,
clear as the memory of our 

joyful yesterdays. In sleep country, 
dying is an empty threat that leads nowhere. 
Fearlessly we two souls sit here
recalling those happy years together, 

how love is eternal––God’s sweet breath!––
Sister and brother hands clasp as one.

© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

Salvatore Buttaci is the author of Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, two short-short story collections published by All Things That Matter Press and available at He lives in West Virginia with his wife and love of his life, Sharon.

May 28, 2014


It is so hard to believe twenty-five years have flown by since our young brother Frankie is gone. Of course, we miss him everyday. We hope to reunite with him in Heaven when it comes our time. 

I wrote these poems and post these photos in remembrance of Frankie: brother, godson, and friend. 

My sister Anna and I: Godparents of Baby Frankie: 1955


that January 4th you were born
I served the 7:30 morning mass
at Holy Family Church and then
when mass let out
I distributed bubblegum cigars 
to all my classmates
before the morning bell sent us
scurrying to our eighth-grade classes.

Too many Januarys have come and gone 
since that May you caught the fast train
and I wonder how sweeter life
might have been if you had stuck around
and trusted the words you read each night
in the Sacred Book of psalms and gospels
if you could have found new laughter
to buoy the sorrows that drowned you

© 2009 Salvatore Buttaci

Papa. Mama. and Frankie: 1980

Frankie and I in 1979

Frankie on Christmas Day, 1965


in the photo you sit on your new bicycle
the Christmas tree behind you
its lights nowhere as bright as your eyes
and you are wearing a smile 
I would give all I own to see again

in the photo you are ten years old
Mama mails it to me all the way to Sicily
I show the relatives my little brother
on his bike and Uncle Frank says
how proud I am of you

the photo sits in the palm of my hand
it is my favorite memento of you
who rarely smiled in your grownup life 
our eyes dimmed by failed dreams
twenty-five years of Christmases gone

and I still miss you, young brother...

© 2014 Salvatore Buttaci


he sits for hours
strumming chords
picking twangs
up and down
guitar strings
blue eyes closed
lips working
ad-lib lyrics
about broken hearts
castaway promises
ugly sneers of The Man
for hours 
his fingers 
twang notes
along the fretted neck
and all around him
the rest of his life
on mute.

© 2009 Salvatore Buttaci

Pamela Brown & Frank Buttaci: July 19, 1981
Frankie, 1986


These are pebbles
loosened from a rock sky
tumbling from the heights
of heart into abysmal greyness
unlike hail that pelts the earth
or rain that mimics tears

These pebbles
soundlessly free-fall
through the cloudless expanse
bloodlessly beyond the main
far from arterial reefs
–– misshapened chips
of gravestone
sculpted by sorrow's
mallet and gouge chiseled 
against the cold block
of a beaten heart

These are pebbles
in the mourner's throat
rock-confetti stars
hurled from stone skies
hurled from a diminished heart
still mercilessly beating
   paths to doors ajar:
granite Hansel crumbs
mark   and   mock   and   mask
  a shifting underfoot,
  a faulting that is blameless.

© 1990 Salvatore Buttaci


Cemetery Sunday after mass 
you buried that last photo
deep in the hard earth
just before autumn ended
and another winter exhaled
its first white breath

Like a relic under the marble
floor of some cathedral
the last photo of your son
blesses the dark dirt
keeps away destroyers
sanctifies this place

You touch his name
chisteled in the gray stone
the dates of his life & death
pat the ground where the photo
rests below in cellophane,
then, eyes closed, you kiss your fingers

© 1991 Salvatore Buttaci


You called him an angel when he died;
it didn't matter that angels 
were created en masse
and God announced to all of them:
"That's it.
No more angels!"

You called him an angel when he died;
you talked of how Frankie's new wings
might need some getting used to,
how his long white robe was,
like St. Paul said,
"Whiter than snow."

You called him an angel when he died;
you said how Frank's angelic face
beamed beneath his red hair
and all angels and saints
marched around him.
"Welcome home, Frank!"

You called him an angel when he died;
it didn't matter I called him
another saint up there,
but you rejected that,
saying, "He was always
an angel to me!"

You called him an angel when he died;
you spoke of how he had been a gift
to you, a son on loan,
an angel on leave from heaven.
You said, "Believe what you want ––
He was –– yes! –– an angel!"

© 1996 Salvatore Buttaci


I remember how the world changed you;
how the fire burned out your eyes, a cloud
hid you, collapsed your head orange and empty, 
your brain scraped raw by perilous enticements,
your former life forgotten, a blemish 
on the acned face of racing time.

a memory returns you to me: 
you are seven, marching in a procession
for First Holy Communion. I'm standing sideways 
in the church pew, heart swollen with pride
as you pass by in your white suit, hands folded, 

eyes uplifted, stepping towards the threshold 
of reason, a young boy full of promise.
The last time I saw you, sound asleep, 
you wore a dark suit,
your hands again folded prayerfully.

© 1999 Salvatore Buttaci


Look at the wounds that sorrow makes:
The battered soul, the welts, the scrapes.
Look at the wounds that sorrow makes:
The tearful eyes, the sighs, the shakes.
The dreamer asleep who will not wake.
Look at the wounds that sorrow makes:
The lonely years that grieving takes.
Tomorrow’s dreams wiped from the slate.
The dreamer asleep who will not wake.
Look at the wounds that sorrow makes:
The lonely years that grieving takes.
The frozen smile chipped to flakes.
The trembling hand, the heart that breaks.
Look at the wounds that sorrow makes.
© 2000 Salvatore Buttaci


I wrap the blanket of those years
we walked as brothers once
under dream memories
flimsy as the opaque wings of mayflies 

too soon you were gone from this world
leaving us in dark sorrow
I pray one day we’ll all meet again
on richer ground than this earthly plane

we will again know laughter there
our souls shining in God’s Holy Light
two souls far from tears and heartache
alive without the need to dream

© 2009 Salvatore Buttaci

Salvatore Buttaci first was published in The New York Sunday News in 1957 and since then has seen his work in print numerous times here and abroad. 

His two short-short story collections, published by All Things That Matter Press are available at

He lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.  

April 18, 2014


Mama kisses Papa on his 80th Birthday


I used to think in the photo
sometimes your eyes 
would blink, your lips
tremble slightly.
I would stare hard and long, 
Waiting for miracles,
for you to wave
your hand at me.

In dusky light, in morning sun,
I stared away,
pretending life
had never changed,
that death had failed to conquer you,
that you had found
a place to hide 
far from Death’s wrath.

I told myself to keep the faith.
You would return,
absent yourself
from the spring scene
of that photo, leave behind trees
and your sidewalk,
and suddenly
come back to who

you were to me,
father and friend,
not a snapshot anymore, not
old memories
poured into this broken heart,
not a shadow
but flesh and bone.


© 2007 Salvatore Buttaci

My father Michael at age 2 in 1907

Papa at 16

Papa at 20


Today I gave my father back his face,
Returned dark brown eyes, a voice,
Graying hair, that smile lost in time.
I lifted him from the flatness of a photo,
Brought his appearance into focus 
So that in his familiar shape and form
He would somehow come to life.
Why punish myself like that?
Why disturb him from a decade's sleep?

At Sunday mass during the consecration
I should have contemplated Christ's Passion.
Instead I resurrected my father –– not his ghost!
The flesh and blood of him! The father
I had kept at bay since death, his face
Freed from the stillness of photographs, 
I had allowed  my mind to conjure dangerously:
A likeness much too painful to recall.
But I was lonely; I missed him.
All at once, ashamed of my irreverence, 
Afraid my prayer would be answered, 
I blurred  the vision of his transformation
Except for a hand waving in misting memory,
Except for the voice of that gentle father spirit
Attempting to speak words of forgiveness
To a son tottering between wishing him and wishing
Him away. Then an old photograph circa 1952 
Flashed in my memory: on a porch a young boy and his father.
It is summertime forever. The sun is shining. They smile.


© 1997 Salvatore Buttaci

                                                           Papa and I in 1955


My father’s hands
fluttered like bird wings
when he told stories

they felt gentle around my shoulders
made me know without doubt he loved me

applauded life even in his pain
trembled in those final deathbed days

and when I look at these old photos
Papa is waving at the camera, as if death…
as if it never happened.


© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci


Despite these twenty-seven years 
empty of your laughter,
I can still see you 
smiling at the camera,
cake knife in hand,
slicing that first piece
of your birthday cake
Mama baked
(after the click and flash)
you gently let fall
into her plate.


© 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

Mama, Papa and I in 1975

Mama and Papa in 1932


My father never missed a day of work
In all his years of labor: from dishwasher
When he was a teenager new to this land
To welder at the Curtiss-Wright plant
In Woodridge where daily he inhaled
The noxious fumes that in the end proved
The cause of his sad passing.
We sons and daughters learned from his example:
Pretend we were too sick to go to school?
Why, we wouldn’t dare!  

He was a fine man of principle who refused
To follow the work antics of the sheepish crowd.
“I do what’s right,” he’d say. “To hell with
who likes, who doesn’t like! Remember this:
Give an honest day’s work for an honest 
day’s pay. Don’t look to fool the boss.
He’s a worker too. You want him to be fair?
Then you be fair with him!”

My father conducted his life strictly 
by the rules. Into his 80s, he still walked
straight as a soldier, his head lifted high.
That man was unafraid to stare life in the eye.
He taught us there’s no shame in hard honest work;
Still, he encouraged us to go to college
So we would earn more, working with our minds.

“In your success,” he’d tell us, “never look down
on those who work with their hands. We workers 
built this country!” and you could hear the emotion, 
the pride, choking in his throat.
His voice would tremble when he’d say,
“In the walls of every tunnel, 
down in the dark subways, all those miles 
across every single bridge,
you’ll find a piece of us. God bless the working class!
We made America what she is today.”


© 2004 Salvatore Buttaci

Papa posing as a farmer: 1932

Papa hunting in Pennsylvania: 1928


Dear Papa, when images of you tiptoe 
to mind and suddenly I think you standing there,
once more in flesh and bone,
my heart's desire is to embrace you
listen to your voice speak tenderly,
together spin technicolor spheres of laughter
in that quiet meeting hall of memory.
It is a temptation to which I gladly would succumb
to hear you once more say how, though gone,
you live on in sweet Paradise, but I am too strong,
too weak, unable to disown the world of breath
and stone. Instead, like a boy unsure, lost, confused,
in the gray of this joyous reunion, Papa,
I hesitate and you are lost.


© 1999 Salvatore Buttaci

Papa in 1969

Papa in 1984

Papa and Mama renew their vows 50 years later:1982


I can still hear Frankie ask, 
"Why didn't we save at least one 
of Papa's horses?" as we all
gathered together that sad old 
April Papa passed away.
Those little horses Papa sketched
in the margins of his papers,
those little horses with reins
and funny-looking cowboys 
sitting on saddles, booted feet
in stirrups, tall wide-brimmed hats
above mustached smiles ––
"They look like dogs," I told him.
"They look like horses, dummy,"
Anna said.  "Horses are bigger,"
I said. "They're dogs," Then Papa
took up his pencil again, this time
stretching the little horses' legs,
thickening them down to wide hooves,
fattening their bodies and their heads.

"The cowboys look too small now,"
I said, to which Anna shook her head
disgustedly. But Papa was patient.
He sketched some more, his hand
rounding out, elongating, shading in
the faces, extending boot size, giving
the cowboys twenty-gallon hats that
would've buried their heads had Papa
not allowed them to float in the air 
above his cowboys' eyes. Papa's horses.

We all remember them. How can it be
in all his notebooks not one single
little cowboy rides one single
little horse inside the confines 
of the paper's red margin?


© 1998 Salvatore Buttaci


I saved my father in a book,
wrote his marrow and his bones
on blue-veined lines
and delighted how he walked
through the stanzas of my poems.

I saved him in a book,
traded sorrow for sweet songs
sung in happier times
and recited all his wisdom
inside the pages of these poems.

I lured my father to this book,
enticed the fellow from his stone
with magic rhymes
inviting him to stay
in the shelter of these lines.

I saved him in a book
in the comfort of these poems
in the heartbeat of my verse
in the cadence of these words
in his dance across the pages
where he lives forever ageless
I saved Papa in this book


© 1997 Salvatore Buttaci

Michael Buttaci was born July 05, 1905, and died April 20, 1987. I was blessed to have had him for my father. He taught me the importance of being honest, honorable, and true to myself. By example he showed me how a good man loves God and family and others. 

Once when I was a teenager, my father was relating a story about his mother who had passed away in 1939. Throughout the story he held his white handkerchief, dabbing his eyes and blowing his nose, until finally I said, "Pa, Grandma's been gone for twenty years. Why are you still crying?" He looked at me, flashed one of those enigmatic smiles and replied, "If I live another two hundred years, I'll still be crying." 

Oh, Pa, in your absence, I know exactly what you meant. Time heals, but it leaves scars. And wonderful memories too.

Salvatore Buttaci writes poems, stories, articles, and blogs everyday.

His two flash fiction collections were published by All Things That Matter Press and available at  

His book about Sicily and Sicilians, still selling copies after 16 years: A Family of Sicilians...

He is the author of two recent chapbooks:  
What I Learned from the Spaniard...  (Middle Island Press) 
and Boy on a Swing...  (Big Table Publishing)

A retired teacher, Buttaci lives in West Virginia with Sharon, the love of his life.

January 26, 2014



invited me to participate in the Blog Hop Tour. Keep an eye out for Sandra's upcoming release Bluebonnets for Elly.

I was asked to respond to four questions about my own writing process, and then tag three authors at the end of the post who have joined us in our hop.

What am I working on?

I wish I could be the writer who manages one thing at a time, completes that task, then moves on to the next. Sadly I am not. I tend to several irons in the proverbial fire, doing my best to give equal heating time to each. 

Marketing is a time-consuming but essential part of an author’s responsibilities. Books do not get written by themselves; neither do they get sold without buyers. I promote my own writings and those of my author friends. Writers may ply their craft alone, but they need to promote their finished works in community with other writers.

I write everyday so that writing becomes easier for me. Whether it’s a poem, a flash, a short story, a blog –– it doesn’t matter. The ideas and plots that swim in my head need to reach dry land.

In addition to marketing and writing new material, I am editing two of my novels, working on an upcoming e-book called Flash Reflections, as well as a short teleplay called Hazy, Hot, and Humid.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

No two writing styles are ever alike. Writers bring to the creative scene their own reading, learning, and life experiences. I once read several crime books by Andy Stack and several by Anne Rule. It dawned on me that the style was too close to be two different writers, so I wrote to Anne Rule and asked her if Andy Stack was her pen name. Hardly believing one could discern that, she admitted they were one and the same crime author!

In my writings I have three objectives: 

(1) to use precise words to create images that readers can clearly see, allowing them to move along with my plot;
(2) to deliver some degree of emotional impact. If it’s meant to be funny, I try to make them laugh. If it’s sad –– hey, crying is not so bad. 
(3) to weed out unnecessary words, phrases, sentences, and clauses that slow down a story, particularly in flash fiction. 

Why do I write what I do?

My first love is writing poetry, the craft of which I take very seriously. As an English teacher for nearly thirty years, I made it my business to come to class prepared. I could not dare teach students about poetry writing without knowing and loving poetry myself and imparting that love to them. I studied the forms, the meters, the history –– whatever touched on the subject of poetry, so much so that all these years later I am still reading books about the poet’s craft and poems by famous and not-so-famous poets all over the world. Why? Because I still hold the belief that poetry elevates the inner person to a greater appreciation of God’s creation.

Flash fiction is another favorite of mine. To feast the eyes on he quick read, the collection or anthology of short-short stories often on only a page or two is inviting and quite entertaining. They say writers should write what they know. I’ll add to that by saying writers should write what they enjoy reading. 

Both Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, my two flash collections, provide readers with the entire gamut of story types and genres from A to Z: adventurous to zany. In this fast-paced society we live in, they can read a few different stories in the time it takes to read a chapter of a novel. Each story contains a beginning, middle, and ending. Small bites to delight like in a smorgasbord where diners manage to try everything, and may I add, go back for seconds and thirds. Many who have read my flash fiction books have told me they read those stories over and over again. That’s what I call “more book bang for the buck.”

How does my writing process work?

If it’s poetry I’m writing, I first get a feeling, a few first-line words rhythmically flowing, or an image that propels me into the poem. I let the feeling and the image keep me on track as I write the poem. Once the poem is down on paper or screen, I ask a few questions of the poem. Is the point of view most effective or should I change the “I” to “you” or “he” or “she”? Does the form match the mood? Can the poetic feet be lessened or increased, determined by the effect the poem might have on readers? Will internal or end-of-line rhymes help or hinder the poem’s delivery? These questions are typical ones I ask in the revising stage. Sometimes I am lucky and leave the poem as it is first written, but not so with flash fiction.

First of all, my flash stories begin as scenes in my head, and I never sit down to write a flash until the scenes move from the beginning hook, to developing scenes, and to the final closing scene. The scenes in my head I allow to become clearer as I start mentally seeing the character or characters –– their faces, hair coloring, walk, talk, height, weight. 

Dreams also present me with possible plots. For this  reason I keep a notepad and pen close by during the night because I know from experiences if I don’t jot something down it will vanish by morning.

Once I see all this and run through several “rehearsals” and am content with what I have up there, I sit and write it all down in a first draft. It’s at that point I come up with names of characters, setting, personalities via dialogue and actions. Lastly I let my wife Sharon read the flash and make constructive comments. An avid reader, she has no problem finding the weaknesses in my flashes and I have no problem making her suggested changes.


Salvatore Buttaci was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Thinking Ten, Pen 10, and Six Sentences.

      Look for Sal's latest collection of short-short fiction in 200 Shorts, Flashing My Shorts, his collection of flash stories; and A Family of Siciliansa collection of his poems, letters, and stories. 

     Sal lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia. 


At this time I would like to invite the following three authors to join our Blog Hop Tour next week:

Monica M. Brinkman believes in stories worth telling. A poet at heart, she delved into novel writing when it became apparent this was yet another venue to bring readers entertainment along with opening minds and hearts to books that held much meaning and thought, long after the read was completed. 

A member of The Missouri Writers Guild, Writers Center, Columnist for Authors Info, Ms. Brinkman received the reward of one of the best books of 2011 via Readers Choice.  The highly rated reviews of The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, embrace both her creativity and unique story line. You will find her articles and short stories in A Word With You Press, Enzine Articles, Broowaha, and All Voices, to name a few.  Monica Brinkman is currently working on the sequel and final book of the Karmic Wheel series, The Wheel's Final Turn

Along with writing, Monica hosts a weekly radio show, It Matters Radio with co-hosts Kenneth Weene and Kerry Hall.  Each broadcast showcases talented musical artists as well as authors, non-profit organizations, political/news figures or celebrities. If we find something important and meaningful, we will bring it to our listeners. You may visit the web-site for more information:

An advocate in funding research for the rare, incurable genetic disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, Ms. Brinkman donates a portion of all sales of her books to EBMRF, a foundation that uses 98% of all funding on actual research. Her website – Meaningful Writings and blog site – A Touch of Karma, reflect her deep-rooted passion in opening eyes and minds to injustice, E.B., and provide inspiration to all who visit.

After living in the East Coast and West Coast for many years, Ms. Brinkman now resides in Missouri with her husband, five cats and Harry the dog. 

Linda Hales is retired and devotes her time to writing in various genres for both freelance and pleasure.  Her greatest passion is writing motivational stories for young children.  Linda has two Sunshine books, an Activity Story Book and Andy-Roo which was recently awarded the 2013 Kart Kids Book List award for Creative Storytelling.   

Learn more about Linda and her books at:
All books are available on Amazon 
And Clayton Bye’s Online Store 

Marta Merajver-Kurlat is an Argentinian novelist, essayist, translator and psychoanalyst. 

Her vast production of fiction and non-fiction can be found on her Amazon Author Page 

Her official website features the philosophy of her writing and showcases other writers and works.

Gracias por la muerte, her first novel, published in 2006 and translated into English as Just Toss the Ashes, has been selling steadily ever since.

Marta is a regular guest lecturer at Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina and Escuela Freudiana de Buenos Aires and a contributor to