Butterfly Effect

Chaos on a shoe string

Alit, photo digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel
Alit, photo digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel

This piece is part of a series of experimental writing I worked on in 2013. This hybrid-flash has a relationship to surrealism, automatism, Robert Bly‘s leaping poetry, and chaos theory. If you want to explore some of my tangential associations, hover your mouse cursor over the links in this post and see what pops up—follow the links if you wish to engage in a hyper-text non-linear reading. Don’t forget to come back! Such a reading might be determined by initial conditions, and thus fit chaos theory very nicely…


Surrealism: Below the Snow, digital photo / art montage ©2013 Michael Dickel
Surrealism: Below the Snow, digital photo / art montage ©2013 Michael Dickel


Butterfly on a shoe—a constant bliss, elated and surreal, some automatic writing made from fresh warm milkdreams of rain. The desert sunset signifies peace to the gopher writing its manifesto far from the Saskatchewan railroad’s violence. A nasty sherbet left a taste of forgotten hypocrisy like a flashbulb memory in his mouth, burnt like boiled-over soup on the stove top. The moon mirrors his face, its shadow-craters another dimension.

Greed spills blood through the nun’s hands, nuclear waste pouring out her fingers. What bread will she eat, this stench of death in her nose? Lady Macbeth knew blood and hands and death. The ocean breeze ruffles her hair like forest leaves, while the sea’s salt walks the dog like sweet coffee travels through the night, Mercury retrograde, with nomadic drivers hustling the highway for spare change at the pool table.

The tulip knows cold winds, playing Scrabble®, drinking mint tea under the snow, waiting for the cardinal’s lonely, red, winter vigil to leap up into spring. The spirit needs rest. Karma suffers bouts of cold and sweat; hot, dull space drips its indigo cello-blue into Luce Iragaray’s recursive folding of flesh away from the center, touching and brushing together moments of possibility.

The cat in the sky sits on the green roof, thinks, “time to go.”

—Michael Dickel

Chaos Water Digital art ©2013 Michael Dickel

Michael Dickel’s most recent book, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, which collects series of experimental writing and some more “conventional” narrative, all flash fiction, that I’ve written over the last few years. 

This originally appeared on Michael Dickel’s blog in 2013.



Jamie Dedes is a Lebanese-American poet and free-lance writer. She is the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and currently a co-manager editor with Michael Dickel. Ms. Dedes is the Poet Laureate of Womawords Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press as well. Her debut collection, "The Damask Garden," is due out fall 2020 from Blue Dolphin Press.

5 thoughts on “Butterfly Effect

  1. What a delightful collection of thoughts and ideas. Surrealism is unnerving, but it cannot be argued at how effective it can be as a communication tool – making abstract connections and leaving the reader/observer free to make even more connections. I especially enjoyed the legend of the red bird, and marvel at the courage of Sister Rice – we should ALL be such ‘world citizens’. I really like your last photo, as it has some interesting textures, movement and plays of contrasting light and shadows.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post. It caught my eye as my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous at the age of 23. The one thing that caught the doctor’s eye at the time was a butterfly like pattern on her face. They call this the Butterfly Effect, oddly enough, which is the title of your post. I liked the read very much. Thanks again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you! This style is something I’ve developed. I felt a loss when taking the experimental-surreal pieces in my latest book to print because I couldn’t transfer the links. I’m happy to see that you followed some (all?) of them. I want to integrate them into eBook formats…someday.

    Liked by 1 person

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