Poetry from Philip Butera


I am scholarly 
a teardrop between 
and not belonging. 

Like a neglected wound
I am scarred
and imply, 
what I don't say. 
I have no illusions about distractions.
I remain 
a wanderer
waiting for storms to uproot
what I find grounding.

I cannot remember a journey
without doubt 
or a romance
without glossy wings,
beautiful as a rainbow
but always
wind and time
errors in an abyss
refusing to concede.

As I contemplate
the unsettling darkness
of characters I've played
curls about me.

I sought the exceptional,
but found
the visceral.
I have trapped words and used them as lures.
Outlined with silver garlands
they shimmered 
giving me an advantage.
But I
distrusted precautions
and when 
the stakes were the highest
I walked away 

Bells That Toll
Did you hear the bells?
Bells that toll
must have a purpose
like love 
or death.

The bells rang boldly
when I was a child.
I heard the bells
they captured my attention
like America,
like life.
I heard the bells
near a playground,
near a station,
on a back road.
Those bells sounded
and they

My mother heard the bells,
in the distance,
in the future,
she felt the motion inside her 
as she wept
putting fresh flowers on my sister's grave
and my brother's.

Bells sound,
like needs
like intentions
like loneliness.
The bells sound.
They call.
They chime after a tragedy,
after a wedding, 
after a war.

clang and bang
the silence
between rings

I see the Face of my own Ghost

The night is no friend.
It is a heavy black overcoat
hiding away 
the moonlight and stars.
Alone on a cliff,
aware of my misgivings,
I ask for clarity.

I search to 
uncorrupt the darkness
but the cold sea gusts 
and heavy mist
ascend from
the angry waters below
to drench me
in tears.

I fall to my knees
of my fright.
In the dark nothingness
I see the face of my own ghost.
I am,
an unwelcomed guest 
an insignificant wisp 
woven into the night's 

I Slept with Lady Macbeth

I slept with Lady Macbeth 
before the witches spoke.
Her breasts were large- 
milky-white kissed with pale pink. 
Nude and mellifluous, our bodies met  
heat and passion, exploring all desires.
How it pleased her to be touched.
Our intimacy was beyond fault, 
lips everywhere without blushing.
We loved more than all the stories to be,
from time undone to moments to come.

When an author recognized her beauty,
we ran swiftly into tomorrow's distance.
To chivalry, to Arthur, to Robin Hood. 
Guinevere offered us a bed, and Marion wept.
Soon a pen found paper, and we could not remain.

Binding ourselves together, we tangled-
on damp earth and shattered glass, our obsession roared.
I slept between her soft legs, her scent intoxicating. 
Finally, the moon's blueness became the bookmark. 
Fate is never timely, and Shakespeare had no choice. 
I was erased from her thoughts, and she 
became a tragic heroine searching for reality.

A Loss, Nonetheless

I trip, I fall,
I used to be sure-footed,
I am sure of very little.

I turn off the news,
I turn off the noise.
I turn away from what is irrelevant,
all those loud, noisy voices out there.

What I thought was background,
is now forefront, 
birds chirping,
ducks gliding, squirrels scurrying,
rabbits on the run.

I sit and listen
to what is anchorless
to what is subject without a predicate.
Those sounds of life living
and not caring about the lies 
we use for language.
I abandon all those worries
that I wove into myself
and that lightness
brings me to this lawn chair.
To a daily view of simpleness.
The sweetness of belief 
beyond pretense.

The life I was living,
living, what an ambiguous word,
was just waiting 
for the promise of Spring.
But I never recognized the change when it arrived
only the silhouette
in the moonlight as it sailed away.

The ducks scold each other
yet they stay together.
A solitary Egyptian Goose has a broken wing.
She will never fly again
every day I feed her.
She comes closer than the others
but we never touch
I realize a loss can be a win
but a loss,

Philip received his Masters’s Degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. He has published four books of poetry, Mirror Images and Shards of Glass, Dark Images at Sea, I Never Finished Loving You, and Falls from Grace, Favor and High Places. His fifth, Forever Was Never On My Mind, will be out Summer of 2023. Two novels, Caught Between (Which is also a 24 episodes Radio Drama Podcast https://wprnpublicradio.com/caught-between-teaser/)  and Art and Mystery: The Missing Poe Manuscript. His next novel, an erotic thriller, Far From Here, will be out Fall of 2023. One play, The Apparition. Philip also has a column in the quarterly magazine Per Niente. He enjoys all things artistic.

4 thoughts on “Poetry from Philip Butera

  1. I always love Philip’s poetry! It evokes different emotions in me! After a lifetime of being friends, it mostly makes me want to give him a long nurturing hug! Bravo to your poetry! I’m proud of you!

  2. Congrats Philip on these poems and all your success. When one stays true to what they are passionate aboute the rewards are bountiful.
    So happy for you.
    May the river of words continue to flow in your being until your last breath.
    Huge hugs.

  3. You are gifted with the words that interpret the deepest, voiceless tensions of the heart and soul.
    Love your works.

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