Thursday, May 30, 2013

Outlaw Wings

image borrowed from bing

Outlaw Wings

“In my writing I am a map maker, and explorer
of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space.”
---William S. Burroughs

I can never perch on a mossy rock
by a raging river without first the vegetation
conjuring up gnomes & sprites who always
dart behind toadstools and thick tree trunks,
as the roar of the powerful volume of water
crashing into boulders and logs produces
an involuntary lid closure--

and within that self-induced blindness,
the absence of outside light, where upon
the cones of the retina are not stimulated,
I still see colors.

Where do they originate or spring from?
Are they chakra-induced, soul inspired,
helix manifestations, dimensional portals?

I only know they are primal, rolling
one into the other,
heart, speech, crotch--
green, blue, red, mixing
like chemicals poured into beakers,
yellow to orange, leading to crown lavender,

all kick-ass six-string blues bleeding
into fireworks jazz jelly, as they pass,
roll, jiggle & slide through willing cortical
passageways, chambers, & portals;

allowing the river to become the sea
with garrulous gulls crying from far off,
flying low over tributaries, alone
and in flocks,

just as kelp snarls the nostrils, driving
out the sweetness of clover
with the sting of iodine & salt,

stirring up primordial memories of deep darkness,
of swimming frantically, inexorably toward the light,
of the mystical transformations,
like the loss of gills,
the dropping off of tails,
the blossoming of fingers from fins,
and the sprouting of mad hair follicles
like a berserk Chia-pet, before deeply
seated lust adventures led to the
inevitable creation of divers cousins; 

stimulating the eyes wide open as imagery
floods our sensorium, words, paintings,
photography, films, games, movies & music,
captured still alive, vibrant, sentient within
every precious moment of our private perceptual
tagging & cataloging, bending our light receptors,
teasing our shadows, tinting our various filters,

reminding me that every time I’m in the presence
of mountains I can hear angels singing, or 
strolling in forests I can smell the Sasquatch
lurking, or on the empty desert on starry nights
I await the next alien encounter,

and every single time I hear a certain tone
of cello strings I release a burst of irrational
inexplicable tears, because fours are always teal
and taste like ginger, and I’m grateful
that a pair of them represent the moment
I entered, or re-entered the beauteous fray,

and even now as I struggle to share
while in the autumn of this lesson,
I remain proud & privileged 
to be a poet, always volunteering

for the pain,
for the bliss,
for the explication,
for the challenge,
for the dancing,
for the silent screaming,
for the resistance;

to forever be a spokesperson,
a chaser of chaos,
a heart surgeon,
a ghost hunter,
a pariah, whistle blower & reporter,
and a loving conscience
for the throngs of brethren
beneath my outlaw wings. 

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

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Saturday, May 25, 2013


abstract photo by Leovi.


“Then I realized I had been murdered.
They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries
and churches--but they did not find me.
They never found me? No.
They never found me.”
--Federico Garcia Lorca

On my island, faces formed on the warm glass
of the small kitchen window, as sweet steam
from my heirloom Spanish china cup
swirled up from Carmencita black tea,
teasing the hard driving rain into fat droplets
as squads of rain men passed in wet parade
on a dull dun day just like many that Raymond Carver
would have stared into out across the white-capped
Strait of Juan de Fuca, sipping whiskey, smoking
and patiently waiting for his words to stir, releasing
poetics, letting it blossom out of the dampness--

but Carver was not there at my special window,
no, as I sipped hot castanet gulps and listened
to the flamenco falsettas, feeling those strong
classical rhythms burst out bullanguero,
thrusting untouched deep into the downpour,

and my thoughts returned to Spain,
to August 1936 near the great fountain
at Alfacar where a thin smartly attired
Garcia Lorca stood with three other men
being called communist faggots by their
Nationalist firing squad, and I wondered
if Lorca was thinking about his love affair
with Dali, or the burly sculptor Adadren
as the bastardo bullets hit his flesh,

did he boldly meet the brass in a passionate
arranque, or did the indifferent fussilade
just thud dully, like a cruel a golpe,
as the beautiful poet slipped away
from his tormenters;

making me ponder as to where his killers
had actually put his riddled husk, for
it is well known that after the death of Franco,
when they dug up Lorca’s shallow grave,
they could not find any human remains;
God, he had even escaped excavation.
So where was Lorca?

I smiled broadly then, for on that day
Lorca had appeared just for me
as a quicksilver bust in motion,
straight down the heated glass
of my many paned window,
to the fervent sad strains
of a zorongo, a liquid lullaby
in 2/4 time, as his gypsy verses
echoed in the warm corners
of my kitchen, and in the rare
Spanish corridors of my heart. 

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lenny Wept

image borrowed from bing

Lenny Wept

My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn’t write
What the night penciled in.
--Leonard Cohen

I am moved by broken flower stems, by
the patina pock-marking all the iron that
surrounds us, abandoned machinery, chipped
and bent gears lying in fat precarious piles
in dark corners, wood beautifully aged by weather
on those east/west walls facing direct sunlight,
hand-hewn rail fences twisted like arthritic limbs,
with deep verdant moss adorning tops & corners;
but my mere words lack any substantial bite;
my page was too white. 

I do capture images with my mechanical lens
that later might arouse my slumbering poetics;
classic hood ornaments, jets, rockets, & archers,
toothy or snarling chrome grilles, wide white wall
tires, moon hubcaps, torn leather seat covers,
faded brand names on some old cans of tin, 
Buck Rogers, Howdy Doody, & Gene Autry
action toys, and painted metal lunch boxes;
very hard to imprison with words meant to win;
my ink was too thin.

I love to stoop and peer into steel-ribbed culverts,
hoping to greet another pair of eyes in the shadows,
reading aloud the city and year that certain foundries
cast on manhole covers and fire hydrants, staring
lovingly at every kind of window and door, all different
styles, colors, materials; different sizes & height;
wandering the harbors, marveling at the thick ropes
that tether the ships & boats, while always searching
the motley skies for those wings of might
the day wouldn’t write.

Artist, performer, photographer, & poet--
all sweet monikers I proudly wear while
processing this marvelous world through
my personal filters, describing the tastes,
sharing the emotions, creating the tableaus
before revealing who actually was the assassin;
still pleased that others appear interested in
my unique views, perspective, & compositions,
while never fearing the specter of oblivion--
what the night penciled in.

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets FFA

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Saturday, May 18, 2013


image borrowed from bing


“ Zen is not philosophy, it is poetry. It does not propose,
it simply persuades. It does not argue, it simply sings.”

The slave’s rut, worn smooth by countless feet,
was never really my soul’s domicile, though
I labored there with my chained brethren--

surrounded by those leaden-eyed, gray-skinned
worker bees, who at the end of each shift, gleefully
unsnapped their harnesses, and raced home
to their mind-numbing technology & toys--

whilst I , always the first to arrive & last to leave,
savored the puffy dandelions poking their sassy
heads out of the cracks in the concrete, marveled

at the mirth of the dust that danced in the perfect
bands of light, enjoying the horseplay between
sun & earth, shadows & radiation there on
the red linoleum of the employee restroom, smiling

at the fat hawk’s nest perched atop the phone pole
at the head of my alley, and always when I strode
gently across my back yard I longed to be

the magnificent Maple in my neighbor’s yard, just
supremely solid, tall, immovable, unblinking with
branches as thick as elephant legs, always
receptive but never judgmental, rooted
firmly in the Now;

bearing, wearing luxurious leaves without pride,
shedding them by the tubful when Autumn’s
death was upon them, within them; plugged

pugnaciously but not perniciously deep
into the spiritual girding of axis & reality,
the colonic cycle of Life, unafraid

of the woodsman’s axe, sweetly oblivious
to Homeland Security, the IRS, jihadists,
big screen plasma televisions, and war
games--both video & visceral;

and it has taught me without words,
now that my servitude has ended
and I busily tread the path from bondage
to freedom, I can immerse my self
in my Self, celebratory and joyous

that this time I eluded both faith & devotion
and have emerged from the chrysalis 
unscathed, still curious and creative;

barking like the vicious dog on the other side
of my Sears chain link fence, still seeking
some tiny particles of the greater Truth;

that which eternally defies definition, regardless
of how many lifetimes I have pursued it,
or of how many karmic pitfalls I have stumbled
into and pulled myself out of, or through.

At this juncture, imbedded in this moment,
I have fully accepted Leonard Cohen
as my personal prophet poet, Jikan, who

after several years of seclusion & meditation
on top of Mt. Baldy, came down and returned
to smoking,
to alcohol,
to women,
to song,

because he finally found the strength
to inactively enter the Zen dialogue:

“What is mind?
No matter.
What is Matter?
Never mind.”

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on sVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Scrivener

image borrowed from bing

The Scrivener

There is not a particle of life that
does not bear poetry within it.”
--Gustave Flaubert.

Wandering the width & breadth of landscapes
shared by the busy and the blind, I tend to
record tiny moments & events with my digital
lens & my poet’s quill; captured as my personal
tableaus of truth.

On some ancient barns and buildings,
where all trace of stairs & porches have crumbled
to dust, I am fascinated by those naked doors
to nowhere, extant but providing no access.

Wildflowers sometimes sprout out of bare brick,
clinging to life high above the street, creating
nourishment out of thin air and mist. 

On a tombstone I read that this man died
the year I was born, so we must have passed
each other in the dimensional ether, soon
forgetting the encounter. 

Rimless, but still geared, the rusted clutch
pressure plate seemed paralyzed at parade rest;
restrained by thistles it could only shift
the inert cogs of nothingness. 

Most clouds caught & mirrored in fresh puddles
love to dance a wicked shimmy. 

Piles of discarded signs in deep grass on empty lots
are where many politicians end up after the hurrahs. 

A toddler’s red tennis shoe atop a bright blue refuse
container makes me wonder why it was never retrieved. 

A twisted log, once a wave rider, now lies near the high tide
mark, unable to crawl any further, content to allow the sand
to weave it a warm blanket. 

Dead flowers left on the graves of dead loved ones,
still sustain a proud beauty when compared to
the dusty plastic ones alongside them.

When a wide city culvert becomes choked
with thriving weeds, it remains a reluctant
garden as growth trumps flow. 

I see far too many homeless picket fences,
no longer white, no longer functional, just
so many broken yellowed teeth in a sad wooden smile. 

Fire’s passionate embrace on flesh or other combustibles
invariably leaves deep dark scars forever, permanent
badges of courage or chance encounter. 

In Autumn I love to seek out the pumpkin dwarves
that cower in the cold shadows of their giant siblings.

Why is it that new windows recently installed in
empty houses do not spark inquiry?

Totem thunderbirds, eagles, & gulls possess
great spiritual power, but they reject all bread crumbs. 

Behind glass, the hot house ladies always dress up
in their most colorful attire for their club meetings. 

So many moments & significant things frozen
for future review and contemplation; they are
part of the cornucopia of discarded and hidden
treasures that are never-ending, and I will not
presume to effect change on them--for I am
but a humble scribe, and it is enough to notice
and acknowledge them. 

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Dust Be My Destiny

poster borrowed from bing

Dust Be My Destiny

“Tempt not a desperate man.”--William Shakespeare

When I consider 
my life-long love affair 
with movies, and 

my frenetic decade of pursuing a presence within them,
I tend to tromp upon objectivity
and too often am very tempted to regard
my mere eyelash of a career as an actor,

as pivotally more substantial than it was,
my talent as Herculean,
my bad luck as baleful,
my blink-and-you-missed it movie moments
as pure apex, as achievements, 

whiling away my retirement in vivid daydreams,
imagining that there never was more than
six degrees of separation between me
and artistic cinematic success--
playing the game, getting from

Matt Damon to Lauren Bacall

Damon in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN with Harve Presnell.
Presnell in PAINT YOUR WAGON with Lee Marvin.
Marvin in THE COMANCHEROS with John Wayne.
The Duke was in BLOOD ALLEY with Lauren Bacall.

Tim Blake Nelson to Glenn Buttkus

Nelson in THE ASTRONAUT FARMER with Billy Bob Thornton.
Thornton in PRIMARY COLORS with Rob Reiner.
Reiner in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY with Jack Warden.
Warden in NIGHT AND THE CITY with Eli Wallach.
Wallach in CINDERELLA LIBERTY with Glenn Buttkus.

Tony Shalboub to Humphrey Bogart

Shalboub in MEN IN BLACK with Tommy Lee Jones.
Jones in THE BETSY with Laurence Olivier.
Olivier in SPARTACUS with Peter Ustinov.
Ustinov in WE’RE NO ANGELS with Humphrey Bogart. 

Tina Fey to Glenn Buttkus

Fey in DATE NIGHT with Steve Carell.
Carell in HOPE SPRINGS with Tommy Lee Jones.
Jones IN THE ELECTRIC MIST with Ned Beatty.
Beatty in THE DEADLY TOWER with Kurt Russell.
Russell in THE LONGEST DRIVE with Glenn Buttkus.

Ted Dawson to Charles Laughton.

Dawson in DAD with Jack Lemmon.
Lemmon in GRUMPY OLD MEN with Burgess Meredith.
Meredith in ADVISE AND CONSENT with Charles Laughton.

Warren Oates to Glenn Buttkus

Oates in MAJOR DUNDEE with Charlton Heston.
Heston in THE BUCCANEER with Lorne Greene.
Greene in EARTHQUAKE with Lloyd Nolan.
Nolan in MY BOYS ARE GOOD BOYS with Glenn Buttkus.

Dolly Parton to Tuesday Weld

Parton in RHINESTONE with Sylvester Stallone.
Stallone in COP LAND with Harvey Keitel.
Keitel in THE TWO JAKES with Eli Wallach.
Wallach in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with Steve McQueen.
McQueen in THE CINCINATTI KID with Tuesday Weld. 

Chris Rock to Glenn Buttkus

Rock in DEATH AT A FUNERAL with Peter Dinklage.
Dinklage in THE STATION AGENT with Patricia Clarkson.
Clarkson in DOGVILLE with James Caan.
Caan in CINDERELLA LIBERTY with Glenn Buttkus.

Otto Kruger to Petulia Clark

Kruger in THE LAST COMMAND with Ernest Borgnine.
Borgnine in THE WILD BUNCH with William Holden.
Holden in SABRINA with Audrey Hepburn.
Hepburn in FUNNY FACE with Fred Astaire.
Astaire in FINIAN’S RAINBOW with Petulia Clark.

Bernie Mac to Glenn Buttkus

Mac in SOUL MEN with Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson in SUNSET LIMITED with Tommy Lee Jones.
Jones in BLOWN AWAY with Jeff Bridges.
Bridges in WINTER KILLS with Ralph Meeker.
Meeker in MY BOYS ARE GOOD BOYS with Glenn Buttkus.

I tell you if a man is desperate enough
he can visualize himself as someone significant,
even though the truth reveals him to be
first a glittering speck of dust on some
pieces of celluloid, then reduced further
to a microscopic grove-blemish
on several digital discs;

no matter--
for posterity and the imp of ego
have in fact

provided him with standing room
at the back of a low dusty shelf
over at the Internet Movie Database,

where temptations tend to be reduced
to silent whimpers, dream-drool,
and blue font. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hell On Seymour Avenue

image borrowed from bing

Hell on Seymour Avenue

“Everyone wanted answers that I was
not ready to give.”--Lucy Christopher “Stolen”

Ariel Castro behaved like a pitiful scared
teenager in court today, tortoise head down,
eyes down, mute, frightened--after he dared

imprison three young women, stripped & bound,
making Amanda, Gina, & Michelle live out his
sick fantasies, until at last they were found

and liberated from a tortured life that is
finally revealed; beaten, restrained with rope,
raped, impregnated, assaulted, miscarried--tis

a miracle that they survived, or could even cope
throughout a decade of stygian darkness--
and now they cling tenaciously to the hope

that they will ever forget the beastliness,
surmount bitterness & really find happiness. 

Glenn Buttkus

May 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets FFA

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