Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blackthorne--Scene Twenty-Five

image borrowed from bing


Cinemagenic Twenty-Five


“I always pass on good advice--it’s the only thing to do with
it, for it’s never of any use to oneself.”--Oscar Wilde.

1(sound cue) harmonica.
--Barnes: sure, like rats in your grain silo.
--Buck: why doesn’t this town just hire some gunfighters
of it’s own & checkmate Bronson?
3(medium close-up) Barnes: because he’s the one with all the
damn money, the gunslingers, & the politicians.
4(close-up) Buck: and I suppose your crackerjack sheriff is hard
on strangers & easy on Bronson?
5(wide two shot) angle on the barber:
--Barnes: it ain’t that simple. Joe Hopp is from Abeline, and he’s good
with a gun, has a hell of a reputation. I’ve seen him pistol whip several
bad hombres. He is no coward. 
--Buck: then what the hell is he?
6(tighten the two-shot) the barber keeps trimming Buck’s thick beard
with his nickel-plate scissors.
--Barnes: careful, I guess, patient--been here a little over a year. The last 
two sheriffs didn’t fare too well; one was back-shot, the other went
fishing & just lit out. Hopp is bidding his time. I don’t think Bronson
bought his badge.
7(sound cue) the scissors cutting hair & a clarinet mimicking the squeak.
8(medium close-up) the beard begins to disappear, thick clumps of hair
lying on the barber sheet, a strong cleft chin beginning to be seen.
--Buck: what’s the story on Bronson’s brothers?
--Barnes: he’s got two of them.
9(two-shot) angle on Barnes as he pours some hot water into a fat
black shaving mug, then whipped up some frothy lather from the
soap cube in the bottom.
--Barnes: why do you ask, mister?
10(sound cue) acoustic guitar chord.
11(medium close-up) Buck stares out into the street at the cold-shadow
people moving through the hot dust--and beyond them to the phantoms
of the past.
--Buck: I tossed one of them out of a second story window & I’m figuring
on some trouble coming my way.
12(tight two-shot) the barber begins dabbing the wet steaming lather into
the pepper fuzz that remained, working it in with the brush.
--Barnes: then be smart, ride on.
--Buck: such a friendly town--you’re the second person
in a half hour to give me that advice.
13(hold the two shot) The barber opens a long straight razor
and begins to shave him.
14(sound cue) the scrape of the sharp blade on a face, blended
with a violin mimicking the scraping.
--Barnes: you look like a drifter, just blow back out onto the prairie,
slap leather before we have to bury you in boot hill.
15(sound cue) cello & snare drums.
16(close-up) Buck: thanks, but I think I’ll be sticking around
for a bit.
17(wide two-shot) angle on the barber, the black dog still under
the table watching the door.
--Barnes: plenty of men have tried to take on the Bronsons, our
cemetery is full of them, & old Cash is still the hairy bear. 
--Buck: I’ve got roots here.
18(close-up) Barnes: this ain’t the same town you left, son--
your roots are dead & gone for sure. 
19(tight two shot) angle on the hunter:
--Buck: Bronson is just a man; he bleeds red like the rest of us.
--Barnes: he behaves like a baron & his army of lead-pushers
is like a twenty-headed Hydra.
20(sound cue) pioneer fiddle bar.
21(medium close-up) the razor makes several passes down his
cheek, & the skin shone both pale & pink. The barber wiped the
lather on a towel over his shoulder.
22(back to the two-shot) over the barber’s shoulder:
--Buck: how’d this town get so dog-fucked?
23( tight two-shot) angle on the barber:
--Barnes: Bronson showed up here about ten years ago, had a
carpet satchel full of money & six men with him. He started out
buying the old ACE DUECE, sprucing it up to become the CHINA
DOLL. He made a fortune, & every year he bought up more of
the town, growing more powerful. He lets cowpokes & strangers
have their fun, takes their money, & then his men escort them
out of town. 
--Buck: I’m not a stranger.
--Barnes: so you say. 
24(medium wide shot) the barber wipes the straight razor clean,
and sets it in a tray; the shave is over.
--Barnes:  look, I’m an old man--my son tells me I talk too much.
Maybe you work for Bronson, maybe he’s finally decided to shut
me up, maybe you are my assassin. You do stink of death.
25(two-shot) Barnes had spoken calmly, matter-of-fact, without
emotion. He wipes the excess lather off of Buck’s face. 
--Buck: I’ve seen more than my share of it.
26(sound cue) coronet & clarinet duet.
27(hold the two-shot) angle on the barber:
--Barnes: Paul is the youngest, a chickenshit tinhorn coward,
he hides behind the guns of the others.
28(medium close-up) the barber returns to the hair-cutting,
running a red comb through the hair, & snipping the ends off.
--Buck: And Thor is the bad ass, right?
--Barnes: Uh-huh, he shot a fifteen year old farm kid to death
right here in the street last month. He ramrods the Triple-B
Ranch, & he sticks to Cash like a foreskin; he is the enforcer,
& the worst of the hired killers would follow him into hell.
29(close-up) Buck: well shit-fire, hell will pop open when
I meet up with that wicked son of a bitch. 
30(sound cue) saxophone squawking.
31(medium close-up) Cheewa growls like a grizzly in a 
bear trap, and jumps to his feet.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets OLN

Yes, it is the last Saturday of the month, and Open Link Night is upon us.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Last Tanenbaum

image borrowed from bing

The Last Tanenbaum

“Violence in the voice is often only the death rattle
of reason in the throat.”--H.G. Bohn.

Christmas came,
before I left the last time
after our painful disengagement;

one of my last memories was stopping
at the door and looking back
at you next to the tall fir in your living room,

resplendent, laden with the children’s decorations,
colorful blinking lights, strings of yellow-white popcorn,
& those damn silly Simpson’s bulbs--

feeling the rush of recent memory
when we found it on that gray rainy day
out on the bluff among its evergreen brethren
at that unique tree farm that overlooked the Sound,

how it spoke to us:
“Hey, look at me, for I am the one you seek,
the tree that will love you.”

We were four under two umbrellas
while I worked on my knees in the mud,
sawing, sawing with that jagged crosscut blade,

deeper & deeper into its stubborn trunk,
finally toppling it over into the girl’s anxious arms,
before carrying it wet in our eight hands,

ping-ponging through the dripping ragged rows
before hoisting it high onto the rails atop
your silver Volvo station wagon, tethering
it with green & yellow twine--

oh how we giggled, laughed, and caroled
along those several happy miles, listening
to it shift & sway above our bobbing heads.

Later, on a brief coffee date, you told me about
about that night, soon after a lonely New Year’s Eve,
when you dismantled it alone, packing
the decorations gently back into their bright boxes,
and how you kept staring at it, erect, robust--
& for reasons never articulated, you could not bear
to part with it completely, to hand it over to the garbage
man, because somehow this tree was different.

You dragged it outside, and leaned it up on the lee 
of your house, near your bedroom window, where
it rested month after month, until Winter
moved into Spring.

I drove by your place several times & saw it there;
brown-black, brittle, beaten down, yet defiant,
nestled against the siding,

a decaying, 
perhaps forgotten sentinel,
perhaps symbolic of the last gasps
of our relationship,
perhaps being punished, tortured, abused
as bizarre retribution.

Intrigued & saddened, one day
before you came home from work,
I could stand it no longer
& decided to move it.

As my hands slid under its dry boughs,
it was still capable of bleeding pitch,
& unbelievably, on its underside,
some of its needles were still green;
death had not fully claimed it yet.

I cradled it in my arms, pulling
it upright, whereby most of its driest needles
began to fall off, & I swear I heard
a faint whisper on the warm breeze;

“Thank-you, oh thank-you
for coming back, for I could not
have lasted much longer.”

I dragged it for an hour
into the woods
on the east side of your house,
leaning it up against an indifferent alder.
It seemed so frail, so naked that
I had to hug it one last time,
and then sit beside it, holding
the green branch, talking to it softly,
waiting for its final breath. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Farmer's Market

image borrowed from bing

Farmer’s Market

“When tillage begins, the other arts follow. The farmers,
therefore, are the true founders of human civilization.”
--Daniel Webster.

Love the colorful splash
of an open-air market
midst the arsenic-gray concrete
of a fallow-brown urban landscape,

those international flags & flavors,
endless rows & tiers
of fruits, meats, candies, glass art, jewelry,
and apparel;

being privileged to wander along
rough burlywood puncheon planks,
interfacing with ceramic tiles
of cinnabar, cornfower-blue
& terra cotta,

moving past silver racks
of screaming silk scarves;
congo-pink, atomic-tangerine, b’dazzled-blue,
bitter lime, British racing-green,
carrot-orange & heliotrope stripes;

huge jars of jelly beans, pungent platters
of chocolate confections, mossy burlap bags
of exotic coffees & far-eastern teas;

bunny-dust grime on steel-wheeled carts,
carrying stacks of Egyptian-blue plastic carriers--
signs of every size with barn-red, lemon butter, 
& saffron letters advertising fat salmon slices,
falu-fallays of pale white trout,
cerulean-frost sides of sea bass
on steaming beds of sparkling ice,
sharing the chill with squads of
cadmium-orange crab legs
& beach-sand clamshells,
surrounded by zip-locked sweating baggies
of cerise-chopped clam-bites;

where Asian, Indian, & Caribbean skin pigments
glisten on barkers in cyber-grape hats,
apple-green & mustard-yellow shirts,
khaki aprons with raspberry-stained sashes,
announcing their wares in several accents;

always finding buskers sprawled out 
on goldenrod blankets, Bulgarian-rose prayer rugs,
& cobalt-blue pillows, playing their acoustic guitars,
mahogany violins, chrome harmonicas, ivory accordions,
& brass saxophones, their blood-stained
blizzard-blue eyes smiling as the street strains
of music weave claret mists & beaver-beige moments,
as upside-down black-bean hats & lipstick-red
coffee cans gather liberty-green bills & silver faced-coins
with copper hearts, as grizzly & liver-brown dogs
sit patiently at their sides, their gray-green eyes
begging convincingly,--strumming & bowing amazon-green
strings with bone-ivory white fingers poking out
of black leather cut-off gloves, plunking 
with carnelian red & coquelicot electric-orange picks,
blowing hard into spit-soaked reeds, pressing
the brass keys lovingly;

wearing cyan, puce, apricot, & Hollywood pink
dress ties, festooned with ruby, jade, & emerald
stick pins, with their red-white-& blue velvet-lined
instrument cases, peeling sadly with faded
flaxen & falu leather strips, leaning against
golden gate-orange pillars & Islamic-green curtains;
most of the musicians in worn denims, tractor-green ball caps,
& eggplant lens sunglasses, many with
Honolulu-blue or jazzberry ear rings;

where even the walkers-by were decked out
in Mardi Gras finery; magenta, watermelon, 
& mango jeans, with lemon curry stains
on their licorice t-shirts, ginger sticks
in their playful grips, padding along
in Barbie-pink & crayola-red tennis shoes.

As I exit, I clutch to my chest
the strobe-light rainbow wild-flower emotions
conjured by prolonged immersion
in a passionate palette of pigments,
hugging them for hours, until they fade, 
begging sweetly for replenishment.

Glenn Buttkus 

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


artwork by george wright


“I existed from all eternity, and behold I am here, and shall be
to the end of time, for my being has no end.”
--Kahill Gibran.

It reappears like gestures-obscene written
in invisible-ink, always after we become
tumult-tired of our gods & lords,
our bile-bankers,
our philosopher-kings,
the piety-privileged;

final-fatigued by temple-promises,
dream-hollows, mandate-mangling,
we have the clarion-dawning, 
& find ourselves wonder-willing
to topple the gold-tables of the greed-hungry
money-changers, after nausea-waves
lead us to nothing-worship.

Perhaps the dust-prophesies,
myth-misinterpretations of antiquity
were not really folly-misinformation,

perhaps the chaos-blossoms surging up
in this moment-presence in each hidden
corner-crumble of this planet, though
most certainly not fresh-budding,
are truly the blood-flowers heralding
that the age-of-axes has returned,
with its peace-destroy, hope-cleaving
buzz-saw at full-rev, because

it does not require angel-eyes
to witness 
children murdering their parents,
mothers killing their infants, 
as incest-waves sin-swirl,
brothers slaying brothers,
street thugees wilding-gone,
border-blindness, sect turning
upon sect, country upon country,
& sadness-worse, upon
its own people;

for most of us lip-serve consent
& knowledge-accept that the oceans
are rise-rapid, that the sea itself
is dying from garbage-ingestion--

soon, too soon I fear,
we will force-hear the hoot-horrible
of Heimdall blowing taps on the blood-brass
of the Gjallarhorn, as mythos-Norse
performs an ice-blood encore, 
& the Gotterdammerung  will lion-leap
upon us again, & the dream-twilighting
will suffer terminal day-loss, where
no one will be solid-safe, as madness
dark-devours our mind’s-eye,
and the armies-many will become two,
before massing-murderous on the divers-deathly,
eternal-vast fields of Vigrid--

where the mingled-white Aesir will be led
by Odin, one-eyed, wolf-flanked, raven-hovered,
thrusting his god-spear Gungnir toward

the Armies-Evil led by Loki, monarch death-fist,
who will gladly unleash the Frost Giants
& Mountain-Trolls of Jotunheim,
the hell-hound called Garm,
the tenfold-terrible serpent of Midgard,
flanked-fierce by the Fire-Giants led by Surt,
spilling magma-scald out of Muspelheim, 
before sending the dragon-dun Nidhogg
to hunger-knaw at the root-sacred bones
of the indispensable Yggrasill;

God-demise will bubble-burst wound-open
like fruit-rot--Odin will be alive-swallowed
by the great were-wolf Fenrir, 
mighty Thor swinging-savage his war-hammer
would ultimately kill the serpent-humungous 
Jormungandr, but even he would hero-stagger
those nine-steps before poison-perishing,
just as Surt sets the entire world ablaze
with his flame-sword as the earth
in panic-recoil endeavors to sink back
into the sea to extinguish its anguish-blue,
as the burning heavens split open
and the insect-people scurry from their homes,
the dim dwarves stand weeping at their stone doors,
the sun turns ashen-black, and every land mass
silent-sinks into the sea-maw, creating
steam-clouds that hiss-holy as they quell
the flame-prodigy that had been sin-licking
the tendrils-tender of Heaven’s-Gate. 

Yet, even yet, as the pulpy-prophets
& the high-holy dead-scroll texts espouse,
ALL will not, cannot be forever-lost,
for as a species we survived the Great Flood,
the sinking of Atlantis, the loss of Lemuria,
& the Ice-Age, so even after Ragnarok
new-life will triumphant-rise out of the 
gestation-boiling womb-wetness of the

and as planned, 
the survivors-two, whether
Lif & Lifpucir,
Eve & Adam, or
Sid & Nancy,
will repopulate the Earth-clone,

& their descendants will enjoy a new era,
a full century of peace,
where gods & men will live
without wickedness,
all of them dreaming the impossible dream,
attaining the unachievable--
or not. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


artwork by sunita khedekar


Bluebird said to me, “get up,
my grandchild, it is dawn”.
--Navajo song.

Bluebird was the town,
not found on any map.
“Happiness found here.”
read the sign along the country lane
where one entered, and
“May happiness accompany you
upon leaving; thanks for sharing--
come again.”  read the hand-painted
sign as one exited. 

“What a presumptuous place I thought,”
Why had the blue bird captured the laurel
of happiness, from the Tang Dynasty to
Dorothy warbling about rainbow riding;
why not a red bird, a yellow bird?
B.B. King doesn’t sing about happiness
when he sings the blues.

On the day I visited, there had been
a vicious thunderstorm dogging me
for hours, & yet within the township,
there was only sunshine, warmth,
fellowship, a song on every lip;

Every house & building was painted
in bright cheerful colors, rainbow-drenched,
electric, shimmering, crushing cynicism,
dodging depression; it was like strolling
the streets of Brigadoon.

In a cove, somewhere on a seashore,
built on the banks of a beautiful blue lagoon,
with seafood restaurants, fish shops,
and sailor lore everywhere along the west side,
dozens of fishermen’s dories stacked
in the white sand, yellow-blue fishing nets
drying over racks in the steaming sun--

and everywhere
               there were wonderful
                                blue kites of all sizes, 
all of them winged,
                               like azure eagles, 
                           cobalt hawks, 
                indigo owls, 
drifting in the warm thermals, 
their silken blue tails 

There were three strange blue birds
wandering about town, tame as chickens,
proud as peacocks, part parrot, part jay,
fanning their aquamarine tail feathers 
their voices seductive, 
their songs siren-like; 
rich, syrupy 
& eerie.

After a few stolen hours
I could not bear another moment
of beauteous blue-bliss--
God, I actually missed
my natural negativity,
my sinful sarcasm, so

I zipped up my black slicker
& thrust myself headlong
back into the storm,
back into
the real world,

& oddly as I sped out of Bluebird,
gleefully greeting the grayness,
I felt genuine relief, not remorse;

for one needs the darker shades too
it seems, as day must have night,
in order to be 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Otto Wolfgang Maximus

image borrowed from bing

Otto Wolfgang Maximus

“Man is a dog’s idea of what God
should be.”--Holbrook Jackson.

A couple
in California

their 13 year old
tied to a post
a pet shelter.

“He needs care.
We are seniors,
sick & broke;
have no choice--
please put him
to sleep.”

Leave No Paws Behind
stepped in,
provided Vet-aid,
then re-united
with his

a happy ending,
for once. 

Glenn Buttkus

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