Monday, September 30, 2013

Blackthorne--Scene Eight

image borrowed from bing


Cinemagenic Eight


“What we remember from childhood, we remember forever--
permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.”
--Cynthia Ozick

1(sound cue) harmonica & guitar.
2(medium wide-shot) the stranger sitting quietly on his roan
above the ranch.
3(cut to reverse-shot) stranger riding slowly away from the camera
along the road approaching the ranch.
4(traveling shot) the rider passing through the front gates, the dog
running on ahead of him.
5(medium close-up) the swinging sign, ANTLERED BUCK, with a large
set of elk horns nailed to the cross-tie above it.
6(sound cue) dog barking, cat screeching.
7(insert shot) the big dog chasing the black cat under the ranch house’s
front porch
8(sound cue) scratchy violin.
9(close-up) the stranger’s face, smiling.
10(cut to medium wide-shot) ranch house front porch, one railing & 
two steps broken, two dusty wicker chairs on the porch, against the wall.
11(sound cue) harmonica & guitar.
12(cut back to medium wide-shot) the past--a young boy, two years old,
sitting on the top stair playing with a shaggy teddy bear--the child’s parents
in the chairs behind him, the mother knitting a red scarf, the father mending
a horse’s leather halter.
13(a close-up) the present--the stranger’s eyes, moist with remembrance.
14(sound cue) a child’s laughter.
15(medium wide-shot) a majestic old maple tree to one side of the house.
16(medium close-up) a rope swing hanging from a thick branch.
17(sound cue) young boy: Mama, look at me!
18(cut to medium wide-shot) the past--the boy, six years old, perched high
up in the maple tree, one hand grasping a branch, on the lookout for Indians
or pirates.
19(medium close-up) the mother, Sarah Buck, long brunette bangs hanging
on one side of her pretty face, a hand shielding her eyes as she looked up:
be careful, Roddy, hang on tight.
20(cut to wide-shot) the present--panning broken down fences, posts & poles
askance, sheds & bunkhouse in disrepair.
21(cut to medium wide shot) the past--the boy carrying two buckets, running
after his tall father, William Buck, heading toward the freshly-painted
red barn, sleek horses grazing in an adjacent corral, chickens scurrying
out of their way, late afternoon sun low in the sky, with cows complaining
in the barn.
22(sound cue) a woman’s scream.
23(medium framed shot) the present--a bedroom window on the second
floor with a dusty broken pane of glass.
24(cut to medium wide-shot) the past--the boy, 8 years old, standing in
the yard with his arm around a collie’s neck, both looking up at the
bedroom window.
25(sound cue) cello bowing rapidly, kettle drums, and muffled screams
blended over the top of them.
26(overhead crane shot) camera moves past the boy and his dog, up
to & then into the open bedroom window.
27(medium wide-shot) interior of the bedroom, the mother is giving
birth, the father is standing alongside, holding one of her clenched
fists, an Indian woman is the mid-wife.
28(close-up) the mother’s face: oh Jesus, I can’t, I can’t.
29(close-up) the father: I’m here, sweetheart, I’m here.
30(close-up) the mid-wife, Bear Woman: you can do this,
Sarah, just push again, push. 
31(fade to black)
32(sound cues) a terrible scream, a man moaning, a butt being
slapped, a newborn’s piercing have another son. 

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN116

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little Man

painting by catrin welz-stein

Little Man

“Nothing is dead; men feign themselves into enduring a mock
funeral--and yet there they are standing & looking out a bright
window, sound & well, in some new disguise.”--Ralph Waldo

I have always loved the story of the 2 year old sibling
whispering in the ear of his newborn sister:
What does Jesus look like again--I forget?

Some of us, realizing that we are in lesson in this life,
embrace every shred of past memory that may bubble
up anywhere along our incarnate spectrum--although
many resist the truth of these insights secondary
to their conditioning, even rejecting the fact
that there have been thousands of young children
who recalled their past lives, with or without regressive
therapy, manifested as dreams, nightmares, comments,
and remarkable drawings--these behaviors beginning
as soon as language developed. 

Case in point, a story that aired on CBS Primetime
about a young boy, James Leiniger, who at a few months
older than a year was given a toy plane with a bomb attached
beneath it: No, Mommy, not a bomb, that is a dwop tank.

At 2.5 years old he began having terrible nightmares,
and when awakened he always said:

Plane on fire! Little Man can’t get out!
Who is the little man?
What is his name?
Your name is James, son.
No, I am James 3.
What kind of plane are you flying?
Who shot down your plane?
The Japanese!
How do you know it was the Japanese?
The meatball had a big red sun on it.
Where did your plane come from?
A boat.
What kind of boat?
One that carries planes.
What was the boat’s name?

Later the parents, after some research, discovered
that a WWII aircraft carrier, the USS Natoma Bay,
CVE-62 did serve off Iwo Jima in 1945, and that
a James Houston, a member of Squadren VC-81
was shot down & died during a battle.

At 3 years old, little James began drawing furiously,
and the pictures were all of violent plane battles.
His father bought a book about the War in the Pacific.
James pointed to a picture of Iwo Jima and said:
Daddy, that’s where my plane was shot down.

They took him to a plane museum, and he kept
trying to get closer the WWII fighters--Mustangs,
Spitfires, & Wildcats.

They would buy him toy planes, and he would always
crash them into the furniture, tearing off the propellers.

At 4 years old 20/20 did a taped story on him, taking
him to another plane museum, showing him a Corsair.
He was allowed to get close to it, and he showed
an astonishing familiarity about the plane, pointing
to the tail hook, explaining that meant it was a 
Navy fighter.

One day he told his parents that he loved them, that
they were good parents & that is why he picked them
that day in Hawaii at the pink hotel. His parents were
stunned. They had never told him about their anniversary
trip to Hawaii 5 years before, staying in a pink hotel
just six weeks before the mother found out she was 

At 5 years old he was allowed to meet the Houston
family. He knew all their names, knew that James Sr.
had been an alcoholic, recalling intimate details
of James Houston’s boyhood. The 85 year old sister
sent little James a box of her brother’s things. It
contained a model of a Corsair; sniffing it, he said:
It smells like an aircraft carrier,
and it did have a slight oder of diesel oil.

At 6 years old he was taken to a Natoma Bay
crew reunion, and he recognized many of them,
recalling their names & exploits.

At 8 years old a Japanese production company
paid to fly the family to Iwo Jima, and James
recognized the exact spot where Houston’s plane
had crashed. In tears, he stood up in the long boat,
saluted the spot, said his good-byes, and finally
let Houston go. 

I believe there is a sweetness to this tale,
a bright ray of genuine hope, glad that some
of us can accept it as truth, even though others
condemn it as delusion, as demonic fairy tale.
The truth is out there,

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, September 26, 2013


image borrowed from bing


“A guest and a fish, after three days,
are poison.”--Proverb.

is a grouch
who lives under
my porch.

from the smell
that wafts up
from his den,

he lives on fish,
earwigs & earthworms.

I never have 
actually seen him;
he may be a troll

or possibly that dwarf
mini-bus driver that
disappeared last summer.

I decided to
just leave him

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Gerrymander Is A Pit Viper

image borrowed from bing

Gerrymander Is A Pit-Viper

“I’m very grateful to live in a country where I can really
believe in my elected officials, in their ethos & competencies.”
--Chelsea Clinton

Somehow we survived the 21 hour filibuster
delivered by GOP Senator Ted Cruz, covered 
completely by cable news, who succeeded 
in creating more confusion & skepticism 
about health care reform, on the tired heels
of the stone-aged Tamany-Hall Boss Tweed
Republican elected officials who still threaten
a complete government shutdown in order
to somehow defund Obama Care, & the
rabid Tea Party Patriots have eagerly slipped
into full fundraising mode, applauding as
Cruz went directly from the Senate chamber
to an interview with Rush Limbaugh. 

Bill Clinton appeared on CNN with Piers Morgan,
& he tried to convince us that he had no clue
as to Hilary’s intentions toward running for
President in 2016, but he lost no time in
extolling her virtues, “She shows up for work
every day, gets stuff done, & is very strong about it.”,
telling us that Hilary is still a good bet for the immediate
future, but down the road apiece we need to look
at his 33 year old daughter, Chelsea, who is
“So smart that she takes me to school each time
I talk with her about anything.”

Today the Iranian press hailed President Obama’s
UN speech as “hopeful”, even though we still live
in a “messed-up broken world.”

Barack Obama spoke eloquently to the UN Assembly
for over 20 minutes, proud that all of our troops
have been pulled out of Iraq, where we were
shown that “Democracy cannot be imposed by force.”,
that by next year some time all of the American troops
will have been pulled out of Afghanistan, but then added
“America is prepared to use all elements of our power,
including military force, to secure our core interests
in the region”--so how long before American brogans
will be on the ground in Syria, Egypt, or Iran?

We have been told incessantly that America cannot be,
nor should it be the World’s Police Force, that we are not,
nor have we ever been, empire builders, that we are no
longer dependent on Middle East oil reserves, that as
a nation we are not, & will never be controlled by the
wealthy 1% with their mammoth corporations, armies
of lobbyists, conclaves of banks, choke-holds on
Wall Street--that the government is not, & will not
listen in on American conversations with their cell phones, 
nor will it be monitoring all our chatter on social
networks & personal blogs--that the entity that is
Homeland Security is not a Black Ops, just another
version of SS troops or government secret police--
and that by God, “America should not, cannot disengage
in the Middle East, because this would create a terrible
vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.”

So what can we believe?
Is the Truth always so devastating
that it needs to be splintered & camouflaged,
so amorphous, so convoluted that at all times
on any day, only tiny portions of it can be
carefully sprinkled on the public; we must

face the fact that whatever leader we have elected
will be praised & vilified in equal portions, & that
today we are so accustomed to getting our news
on full-spin that we no longer have any need for
those motion-sickness bracelets while watching
CNN or Fox News--and hey, what the hell
is the deal with this new American Al Jazeera
that promises to offer us “Unbiased, fact-based,
in-depth coverage of global events.”

At least now we can quit worrying about, can take our
focus off of global warming, since we are immersed
in a 24/7 shit-storm that continuously rages all around
the planet, and I know for a fact that special
BS Head Gear can be purchased on 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


image by glenn buttkus


“Just before the death of the flowers, before they
are buried in snow, there comes a season when
nature is all aglow.”--anonymous

I heard them say that it is always better to burn 
out rather than passively fading away. 

October is a rock star of riotous colors, dramatic
solstice-shifts, and barrels of European ale & beer.

Isn’t it odd that the Gregorians made it their
tenth month, while the Romans used it as
their Octo eighth month, and for the Anglo Saxons
the full moon that month signals Winter to appear,
as the chilly night skies become so clear that
one nearly needs smoked glass to view the
brilliant fields of dead stars.

For those who pay attention to such things,
I got out of the Navy in October 1968, became
engaged in October 1980, and was divorced
from my practice wife in October 1985, and
I might be one of the few people who can tell
you that its birth flower is the Calendula, 
a kind of a yellow daisy. 

October proudly crowds its calendar with
National Breast Cancer, SIDS, Down Syndrome,
Infertility, Lupus, Domestic Violence, Spina Bifita,
Blindness & Pizza Month awareness celebrations,
& of course is capped with Madison Avenue &
Hallmark’s cash child, Halloween.

Libras & Scorpios share all the days, 
and did you know that
Hilary Clinton & Sting,
Henry Winkler & Julia Roberts,
Kate Winslet & Viggo Mortensen,
Julie Andrews & Snoop Dogg,
Tom Petty & Hugh Jackman,
Christopher Lloyd & Matt Damon
all have birthdays in October?

So pull your gear up,
wear your leather thigh-high boots
& Gucci silk scarves, carry plenty
of strawberry lip balm, buy a red umbrella,
and never find yourself without clean underwear
because handsome October is pounding
on the front door, with flames in one fist
& ice cycles in the other, and it does not
give a damn whether you love it or not,
or are actually ready or not--for it has
that autumnal glint in its bright eyes
and extensive exterior decorating
on its mind. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on Poetry Jam

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Blackthorne--Scene Seven

image borrowed from bing


Cinemagenic Seven


“Shake it until the moon becomes the sun.”
--Vada Nobles

1(sound cue) saloon glasses clinking, a woman’s laughter, a dog barking.
2(medium 3-shot) the three loafers staring after the stranger.
3(medium close-up) the hatless man: there’s something about that man.
4(close-up) the beanpole: something besides the fact that he is one scary
5(3-shot) the hatless man: just seems like I seen him before.
6(close-up) the fatman: hey, I think we would have remembered a guy
like him.
7(sound cue) guitar strumming, then a long slide.
8(close-up) the hatless man: No, it will come to me--must have been a
long time ago.
9(medium 3-shot) the three men exchange confused looks.
10the fat man: I got a bad feeling.
11(sound cue) cello, elongated bowing.
12(cut to a wide shot) a road winding through the foothills, bordered
with pine, scrub oak, aspen, & thick brush.
13the stranger rides into the frame, loping smoothly with the black dog
trotting alongside.
14(sound cue) violin & harmonica.
15(medium shot) the rider reins up.
16(cut to a low angle shot) as the proud roan stallion dances & prances,
red muscles rippling, eyes flashing. 
17(medium close-up) the stranger is staring off into the past, thick memories
rising up in his blue eyes; a soft breeze ruffling the back of his long hair.
18(sound cue) Indian snake rattle.
19(medium wide shot) the tall rider turns off the main road & starts climbing
up a steep twisting side road.
20(smooth crane shot) the stranger traveling up the hill, moving in & out
of the thick patches of trees.
21(medium close-up) shivering aspen leaves.
22(sound cue) lonesome wind becoming harmonica chords. 
23(medium close-up) a cougar high up on a rock shelf.
24(close-up) the puma’s yellow eyes.
25(cut to reverse shot) the cougar swishing its tail.
26(sound cue) Indian flute, short reedy bursts.
27(pull back to medium wide shot) the rider in the distance passing
below the mountain lion.
28(cut to medium close-up) the black dog has stopped,
and is staring up at the rock shelf.
29(medium wide shot) the rider passes through the frame,
behind the dog.
30(sound cue) a cougar’s growl.
31(close-up) the dog’s brown eyes
32(sound cue) the dog’s growl, followed by a distant 
cougar’s cry.
33(medium shot) the stranger stops his horse, and looks up,
scanning the rocks above him.
34(close-up) the stranger’s hand resting on the stock of his
scab-bored Sharps.
35(sound cue) cello being strummed fading into a hawk’s
36(overhead traveling shot--crane, helicopter, CGI) moving ahead
of the rider around several bends in the road, past a huge rock
shaped like an Indian head, out into the open where the
topography leveled off, revealing....
37(wide shot) an abandoned ranch.
38(hold on shot for a 3 count)
39(sound cue) horses whinnying, chow bell clanging, children’s
joyous laughter.
40(medium close up) entrance to the ranch, wide gates open, one
hanging broken on it hinges, thick timber center posts with a gunshot
sign swinging under the cross-tie on top that read ANTLERED BUCK.
41(sound cue) piano playing sweetly.
42(traveling crane dolly shot) into the ranch yard--we see a two-story
ranch house, a long low bunkhouse, a large red barn, several sheds
& three corrals.
43(medium close-up) a black feral cat sitting on the front porch.
44(close-up) the house cat’s yellow inquisitive eyes. 

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN115

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?

Saturday, September 21, 2013


"peace in the city"--painting by simeon gonzales


Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.”
--Pope Benedict XVI

We have been told & taught many things about
the principles of peace--that every one of us
carries an innate genetic trait to seek freedom
first in order to extol the virtuous dignity of all
rational beings, becoming someone who embraces
both beatitudes & existentialism, with a willingness
to accept sacred responsibility for our own actions;

as the plastic smiles of beauty contestants freeze
their faces, standing there under the hot lights in bikinis,
wishing for “World peace in our time”,

even as we rise from our fitful slumber on this
September 21st, this International Day of Peace,
knowing full well that august body of the
UN General Assembly piously proclaimed
this Day in 2002, yet

the television news blares over my breakfast
that a vicious gang of Somalian gunmen
have just attacked innocent civilians at
a shopping Mall in Kenya, killing dozens,
wounding hundreds, and the egregious echo
of a madman’s shotgun that slew 14 people
and wounded 50 at the Washington Navy Yard
is still ricocheting in my head & heart,

so once more I am callously confronted with
the ancient perpetual dissonance, that peace
surely is not a utopian dream, that it is possible,
albeit transient as distinct dystopian notes
alternate within the blipping beat of the
wondrous symphonic cacophony playing
loudly outside all of our windows today;

for we clearly see the actual price of technological
globalization, & witness the violent conflicts,
the threats of war, glacial shrinkage, ocean pollution,
congressional partisan bickering, escalating urban
crime rates, international police & military murdering
protesters, the truncated state of our cost of living,

and we just wonder exactly how should we celebrate
this Day--perhaps promote peace within ourselves
& with our neighbors & with the earth itself? I mean
how do we lovingly & peacefully confront the blatant
inequality between the rich & poor, terrorism,
international crime, genocide--as fundamentalism
& fanaticism darkly distorts the true nature
of our familial, educational, & religious teachings?

The Dali Lama, the Pope, priests & presidents tell us
that all we need is Love, but hell, at the same time
we must keep in mind that anyone who loves peace
cannot tolerate attacks & crimes against life, liberty,
and the God-given pursuit of happiness, that yes,
potentially within every person there is a genuine
desire for peace as an essential aspiration
that will lead to a full & happy life--and that we must
always pursue the common good, the whole man,
for we are, after all, just one human family. 

A very tall order, wishful thinking, a blessed yet
tentative beatitude, a correct assumption, the right 
road--sure, yeah, damn rights, but

my neighbor’s stupid dog still needs a bullet to quell
its incessant barking, my boss is still a bilious bully,
too many women are still raped & battered behind
closed doors, and CNN still informs me of 
more chaos,
more injustice, 
more heartbreaks, 
more hypocrisy,
more dishonesty,
more dangers,
more in-climate weather

that can be expected in the hours to come,
so the irony of today’s global celebrations
mixes freely with the frothy milk on my cornflakes,
and my smile is as much sadness as hope,
twisting my wet lips

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this peaceful poem to you?