It takes a great deal of courage to submit a manuscript for possible publication. Many writers spend months, even years, putting down on paper what they feel will be, if not the Great American Novel, then at least a darn good one. They look back with pleasure on the long hours of pounding the keyboard in producing that first draft. With less
               MARTIAN CHRONICLES (1950) I first met Ray Bradbury in the pages of his book The Illustrated Man way back in 1951. His easy flowing, poetic style of writing science fiction and fantasy hooked me into a love of these genres to this very day. From that book came others throughout the Fabulous Fifties and beyond. They were books I had to
THE LILY PAD, THE JAPANESE BRIDGE Painting by Claude Monet (1899); Poem by Sal Buttaci (1994)   Who could imagine what Monet was thinking when he took his brush to this! Ask him what inspired him  and he will no doubt lie, say "The Japanese Bridge" or "The lily pond: the way the lilies sit on the brown river" or "The mood I was in, the feeling  I h
THE CART: THE ROAD UNDER SNOW IN HONFLEUR Painting by Claude Monet, 1865; Poem by Salvatore Buttaci, 1994 The road under snow we ought best not to complain about! Yet we do so every winter, don't we? You say the jostling ride hurts your back or the old horse is too slow or that I see so poorly I cannot avoid the rocks jutting in our path.   As for
BIG JOE HAMMER DR0VE THIS CAR BUT THE HAT HE WORE ON HIS HEAD Yuh want my real name or duh one duh guys gimme back on Grand Street when I wuz twelve or doiteen? My mudder give me names long as yuh arm! "Where dja dig 'em up?" I used  tuh tease de ol‘ lady.. Back in a Ol' Country––Sicily––dey han’ out names  like candy: da more da sweeta.   Dey name
                 ARCHIMEDES IN HIS WOODEN TUB, WORKING ON HIS FAMOUS PRINCIPLE No book about Sicilians would be complete without mention of  Sicily's favorite son Archimedes. However, not content with simply mentioning that renowned mathematician, engineer, and physicist, as the author of  A Family of Sicilians…I tracked him down by spending the be
    Painting by Auguste Renoir, 1876     Poem by Salvatore Buttaci, 1994 This is not the veil I had hoped to wear. You can take that for the God-honest truth! This one is black; the other was white. This is today: a time for mourning. That was long ago. How do you explain a life? Mine, that is. One summer the earth revolved  around the two of us. W
STEMS OF WHITE PEONIES AND PRUNING SHEARS Painting by Edouard Manet (1864) Poem by Salvatore Buttaci (1994)   We play the game sometimes of divining the alter egos of your garden flowers: What they resembled on their tall green stems, what they might have been if only they could have decided for themselves in the pre-garden before they were seeds,
                                   BERTHE MORISOT                      Painting by Edouard Manet (1873)                      Poem by Salvatore Buttaci  (1994) "Too  much yellow!" I tell the painter. "You've made me out to appear  some pasty-looking, half-dead matron who has never seen the sun! Devotees of art one day  will stand before this canvas
          VAMPIRE AND SKULL (Public Domain)                                                  College Freshman, age 22    First of all, I bummed around a lot before deciding to go to college. Even though I enjoyed tinkering with cars, I listened to my father who kept telling me I was a bum, that I needed to get a college education if I wanted to amo
YOUNG BOY LEANING OVER BAKERY COUNTER   Maybe it would have helped if I had raised my hand some decades ago and told my story. “My name is Jeremy and I’m a sugar addict. I’ve come tonight seeking help.” But I didn’t. Nor did I look to psychoanalysis to help me. My father had raised us to distrust “those meddling brainpickers.” In fact, even before
' YOUNG GIRL BATHING: Painting by Auguste Renoir (1890) Poem by Salvatore Buttaci (1994) Not a stitch!   Oh, if ma mere and mon pere could see me now! Their little daughter naked as the day she first saw the light. Let me say Pa Pa would put enough of his belt to me that no artist would ever care to paint me again.   I should tell you I am not a mo
FLASHING MY SHORTS by Salvatore Buttaci A flash of painful remembrance, a memory of a wounded World War II veteran, a tale of Uncle Pete who wasn’t really Uncle Pete at all, and then the darkness of a life once lived in unrestrained laughter.    Encounter    Years of hard drinking had driven him to seed.  He slept under cardboard  on the coldest Ne
        "Cigarettes"  by Anna Cervova (Public Domain Photo)   I was twenty-one when I started smoking. Prior to that I had considered it somebody else’s nasty habit and that I, a wise, independent kind of fellow, would never fall prey to puffing myself to an early grave. Then one afternoon my new brother-in-law offered me a Lucky Strike, explained
                          A BOWL OF PLUMS             Painting by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, 1728;                    Poem by Salvatore Buttaci, 1994     Clarisse was not at the market this morning. What made me think she would be? How many mornings have I walked the dog, battled with him at the leash  because it was not his usual route, a neigh
                     THE IRONING LADIES (LES REPASSEUSES)   Painting by Edgar Degas, 1884. Poem by Salvatore Buttaci, 1994. "I have had my fill, I tell you! This morning I could have slept at least till noon but Claude up early before the geese, raged in another of his foul-mouthed moods, not finding this or that, blaming me-- Can you imagine, Jean
How did the man become trapped inside a jar? Don't let the megaphone fool you. He can scream all he wants, but he will remain trapped, splashing in the briny depths. Something horrid this way comes...   My pet you say? From the door where you stand, perhaps you thought, Old Mr. Svenson has an odd-looking fish or a reptile splashing in that jar.  Th
        You can't see it, but there's a silencer at the end of her pistol.  Does Your Gun Need a Silencer If You Plan to Kill a Mime?   who can hear in the forest who cares if the tree falls there   on the city concrete  the mime bobbing  like a stringless marionette acts out a wordless life    heart beating without sound hands and face dotted with
THE WOMAN IN GLOVES (LA FEMME AUX GANTS) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1891)   What is going through the mind of the woman in gloves? What is she thinking about the man she loved, the man who abandoned her?  THE WOMAN IN GLOVES I have not  blinked an eyesince his train left Paris!Outside the compartment windowthis moment finds him, I'm sure,staring
THE BALCONY (LE BALCON) BY EDOUARD MANET (1869) Whenever I look at a famous painting, I often wonder what the model was thinking about as he or she tried hard to maintain the pose given by the painter. Pressing concerns? Daily problems? Love gone sour? New-found love? And in a still life who owns the dish of fruit, the bouquet of flowers, the wine
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