Michael Butz


with only three weeks of summer left

momma reaches for her sleeping pill

hoping to distance herself from the

dry heat bold manners and fat dancing

party hops going on in floods of wine

red white and plenty of gin


mom’s tipsy breath exhales an antique heap of memories

coming unfurled like curtains strewn to halt the moonlight

she only wants to fall asleep in the bottomless abyss

but her own mother dies again in an ashen room

with father seated beside her in grim silence


yet the glow of the present crescent moon   

a pleasant memory of half dome rock

the family vacation to cloud shrouded sierras

counter death’s wallpapered room

and the moon grows warmer

flowing its lunatic beams

kidnapping momma’s soft head

giving her glimpses of a spiraling forest


at last she swallows her sleeping pill

and drinks another glass of crimson wine

stepping outside of her beige draped room

her thoughts begin falling asleep

and she sees the moon again


like a painting the lines of color swivel in night’s shaded pond

familiar memories mixing into this alien moment

she knows her eyes might not see it again

and tears will dry fast in the sweltering morning sun



End of Summer


sterilized linoleum floor hallways

with air conditioners humming

numbed patients stumbling around

I try not to meet their heavy eyes

chemical lobotomies are in the process

anti-psychotic medications


I too am given these pills

but my mind is still swimming

from the rock I held against your head

and the shouting I did out in the front yard

standing on dead brown grass casting away demons

on that strange sunday afternoon


when high strung paranoia

mixed with murderous rage

a violent electrical storm summoning

screaming cars with bright oscillating lights

serious men with guns and syringes who fill the drive way

and these men I’ve never met

are standing tall outside my bedroom

with small black pinhole eyes

their bodies maneuvering towards me


they guide me the mad cornered reindeer

into the back of a shimmering cherry-red ambulance

the frantic siren on top spinning in silence

and I’m strapped down like a mummy

nostrils pierced with oxygen tubes

shuttling me to the assembly line


where I wake up every morning on a robotic bed

and eat chalky pills all day long

the lightning coursing through veins freeze into icicles

on the cold psych ward

where steel silver doors are locked from within

and bleached white hallways go in endless circles

where I sleep every night undisturbed

without dreaming a single dream