Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene 33

image from


Cinemagenic Thirty-Three


“Memories are not the key to the past,
but to the future.”--Corrie Ten Boom

1(three-shot) Wallace & Salina with their backs to the camera--
Buck looking at one, then the other.
2(sound cue) guitar chord.
3(medium close-up) Buck: I’m really not interested at this time.
4(close-up) Salina, eyes flashing: Why the hell not? Right now
you’re waltzing into a rattlesnake nest. Do you really want to
make our situation in this town your fight? You could stay drunk
for a year on what we would pay you.
5(medium reaction shot) Both Wallace & Buck staring at Salina;
not pleased.
6(sound cue) trumpet & Indian seed rattle.
7(medium close-up) Buck, his eyes narrowing: Look, Miss, I
appreciate your offer & your intentions, but I don’t want to get
drunk, & I don’t want to sell my ranch, or ride out, or run from
Bronson. Like I told your father, I’m through with drifting. If it comes
down to it, my bones will be buried on the ranch next to my folks.
8(sound cue) harmonica & guitar.
9(medium close-up) Salina, smiling sadly, looking him squarely
in the eyes: Sounds like you have made up your mind, for now.
We respect that--& if it comes down to it, I will put fresh flowers
on your grave every other Sunday.
10(medium wide shot) She turned & walked past him, smelling like
lavender blossoms & horse sweat. She opened a door behind them,
leaving it open as she strolled out into the back yard. 
11(close up) Buck, remembering--
12(flashback)  the freshly white-washed fences around the Buck family 
plot, & those flowers on the graves.
13(medium close-up) Buck’s face flushed red.
!4(two-shot) Wallace poured a finger of white whiskey into their cups.
--You alright, son?
15(sound cue) violin & soft banjo.
16(angle on Buck over Wallace’s shoulder)
--Yeah, I’m aces. Your daughter seems to have iron staves in
her petticoat.”
17(two-shot) Buck staring out of the open door at Salina.
18(cut to medium shot) Salina near a flower bed, the breeze in
her blackbird tresses, fluttering her Mexican scarf, her hands
on her hips, with yellow, blue, & red flowers at her feet. 
19( extreme close up) Buck’s eyes softening.
20(angle on Salina) bending down to pull some weeds. A chorus
of dogs barked, a high soaring hawk screed. He watched her move
her firm body poking through her riding clothes. 
21(two shot) Buck looking into the camera, with Wallace behind him.
--Wallace: Here, take another complimentary snort.
Buck turned around & accepted the drink.
22(medium close-up) Wallace: Don’t be too concerned about Salina.
I wanted a son. Melissa, my wife, God rest her soul, wanted a
daughter. I guess we were both a bit disappointed. As you can see,
she is very much her own person.
23(sound cue) piano & clarinet.
24(two-shot) over Wallace’s shoulder.
--Buck: You mentioned you knew my father--funny, I don’t really
remember you.
25(two-shot, angle on Wallace)
--You had already lit out, out there galavanting around butchering buff
& servicing Indian maidens--but he used to talk about you often. 
26(angle on Buck)--So you only knew him as a drunk?
27(close-up) Wallace: Bill Buck was my friend--but yeah, I knew him
during the worst years, when you could trip over him any morning,
sleeping on your porch, in your doorway or barn. 
28(cut to medium close-up) Salina weeping, holding a single rose,
staring intently at the prairie horizon between buildings. 
29( sound cue) violin & harmonica.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN

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Thursday, February 26, 2015


image from


“The liberal state is a Mask, behind which there is no face;
it is a scaffolding behind which there is no building.”
--Benito Mussolini.

The face you wear at work          varies a bit
                      from lunch to board room,
                      from the handball court
                              (where you let your supervisor win)
               to the smarmy pithy views you share with Tess
                               (whose husband you went to college with)
                      around the water cooler.

The face you wear at the Credit Union
          as you ask for a personaL loan                 is quite different from
  the one you slip on for the plumber, or
                                      the waitress at Dixie’s, or
                                      the cop who pulled you over for failure
          to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. or
                                       the crippled busker who blows mad mellow
trumpet near the farmer’s market, holding it low, head down,
eyes closed like Chet Baker, or
                                      the drunken Indian, reeking of Budweiser,
           on the beach below the reservation at Toholah, who appeared
                          out of the twilight half-shadows, asking for
                                  more beer or three dollars, who tells you
                          his name is Bear as he melts back into the darkness
            as you shovel angry sand onto the bright embers
of your dying fire.

There are several faces you have perfected even for
your wife, though certainly sometimes
she sees the real one,
                     raw, naked, vulnerable, intense & sensitive,
                     dripping with pain or joy, 
       and more than likely she recognizes You,        flickering past
partially mantled as one of a dozen guises, making
the shuffling sound as a part of a flip-animation notebook,
                     knows the difference, and
has conditioned her responses to each one.

Damn, just consider the face you present to
                                               your siblings,
                                               your parents,
                                               your children & grandchildren, or
                                                   your good friends--
                      each in turn completely relevant
           to who they think you are, or
               who you pretend to be, or
for a moment actually are;

                       for each of us are like the Chinese Mask performers
snapping new faces on instantly
as we turn our head,
or shift our gaze.             Decade standing upon decade,
                       we are all actors superbly playing many parts
like Alec Guiness or Peter Sellers, like Commedia participants
             allowed to wear any of the masks at will.

But while alone
shaving the face in the mirror, or
snipping nose hairs, or
brushing back gray locks
from our actual Face,                            moments elongate,
                         You hear the brakes screeching,
                                        the tires sliding, your vehicle 
out of your control,
as the rainbow scales fall away,
the bark peels back         & You are bathed in a stark realization
                          that one day soon, perhaps
                    even at that very moment, or another,
          without warning, blitzkrieg but brimming with
provocation, punishment & panache,
one day the paint becomes
too heavy for the wall
when you cover it up
so often--
                              & even though your hidden closets
                              & secret drawers are still overflowing
               with colorful lovingly-crafted masks, you find
          that some of them have crystalized    or disintegrated
                                                          or turned to bronze
                                                  or tin or putty or salt, &
You are left with fewer choices each morning.

Your actual Self              smiles defiantly, understanding
that it would soon usurp the folded hordes of imposters
you have habitually carried in your hidden pockets,
one for every occasion;    for in the end, skidding toward the veil,
there can be only one. 

 Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on d√erse Poets MTB
Today jousting as part of Team Brian

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Rawhide Rider

image borrowed from the wild west news


“Round them up & head them out!”--Gil Favor, trail boss. 

Today, for some reason, I’ve got Westerns on my mind--
that would be Westerns of every kind;
pulps, novels, paperbacks, audio books, movies & TV,
dipping deep into all the Cowboy nostalgia I can find.

Why the fascination--what’s the key?
Why the genuflection--why bend a knee?
Maybe because I look good riding a horse.
Maybe because I imagine I’m part Apache. 

I pine for the Hollywood West, of course--
rejecting actual history without remorse;
imagining wearing two silver Colts, joining the cast,
perpetuating the myth, serving the source. 

Daydreams or buckskin hallucinations--just living in the past,
there in the red dust of Monument Valley so vast.
Please don’t shake me too hard, or wake me too fast,
for when it comes to devouring dreams, let me be last.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB
Where Gay has us writing to the rhyme scheme of AABA, BBCB, CCDC, DDDD. 

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Forsaken

image by danny gregory

The Forsaken

“There is no God, no heaven, no angels--
just this hallelujah.”--Danny Gregory.

Danny says     that the church on 4th Street
           has been converted into luxury apartments,
                     & that is not surprising.       It is pretty spooky
to visit one of those huge cathedrals
          after the aged congregation           has died off, 
          & the savvy youngsters have abandoned it,
                      sitting alone on a cold pew
                               in this cavernous structure, as big
          as an airplane hanger, dwarfed by giant stained glass
                      windows & faded frescos on the lofty ceiling,
                      where footsteps echo like sledge hammer blows
           on concrete,
                      where priests cannot hide         their sad eyes
and slumped shoulders, weighed down          by the stigma
                       of pedophilia, mired in the trappings
            of the 17th century that no longer appeal to many.

But the whole picture, the lowdown on the
            Almighty, AllThatIs, Good God Jehovah,
            Elohim, Elah, El Supremo, Om, Gayatis,
            Yahweh, Allah, Adonai, & Baha
suffers from the regional,
                          familial mind sets, locked into place
             during childhood, never offering clarity, logic, or truth,
substituting that with the faith of the ignorant, 
mandating edicts, elitism, condescension, witch hunts, excommunication,
whippings, scourgings, stonings & beheadings, 
             fully supported & promulgated by Protestants,
                                                                    Bahai, &
                                              to name just a few, with
                         God on one side, then the other,
            as we become flotsam on the sea of chaos
while exercising our free will; allowing/promoting/
supporting/causing/or ignoring            the harsh reality that
           Bad things can/do happen to good people,
                    that the media is saturated hourly
by the blood of innocents;

just this morning they are fully fixated
on the reported death of Kayla Mueller
           at the cowardly zealous hands of ISIS,
           (as I find irony in the fact that the Islamic
black battle flag always reminds me of the black
pirate’s flag with its skull & crossbones);

                      that the latest set of Crusades reflect
            the deep-seated animosities & religious conflicts
            that span 15 damn centuries;
                      that there is no big stick, panacea,
            proclamation, edict, jihad or peace talk
                      that will make much of a dent
in the various Radical Islamic Terrorist’s
           plots, missions, or plans--

as way too many disenchanted, impoverished, ignorant
          denizens of home-grown Islamic converts
                     are pulled from their farms, suburbs & ghettos
                                 & transported to the Middle East
                     to learn how to become holy warriors, 
          martyrs, suicide bombers, assassins & sleeper cells--

just as the killer of Chris Kyle stands trial,
          shaving his head,         hiding behind his insanity,
       as Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film sweeps the box office
                   & his own son, Kyle,         plays sad jazz riffs
as tribute to the other terrorists           among us,
the carriers of PTS             (they dropped the “D” since disorder
carries a negative connotation),
          as our wounded warriors search for normalcy
                    in the bosom of pain, too often seeking
                    succor & sanctuary within the religious beliefs
          & institutions that, in part,          set them upon
the military road to begin with--

                    So, I certainly do not weep as churches
are demolished & replaced
by apartments, condos, & strip malls. 
             The staunch notion that God can only be found
                      in a house, cathedral, church, temple, or mosque
             has always been tragically absurd.
I, for one, find Himself daily
in the bright loving eyes
of my own reflection. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thespis Was A Pimp

image from putegnatheatre.weebly

Thespis Was A Pimp

“I have certain kinds of personal secrets that I only let the whole
world in on, just for a moment, when I am acting.”
--Marilyn Monroe.

Every time I watch the SAG Awards,
                  I imagine myself sitting at one of those tables,
                                  with the cast of some film I was in,
                                  during the opening sequence, 
                  looking wryly into the eye of the lens, & saying:
“I received my SAG card while still in training at university,
working on CINDERELLA LIBERTY. I was in three nice scenes,
                  none of which were left intact in the released film.
                                  I have been angry at Mark Rydell ever since.
My name is Glenn Buttkus, & I am an Actor.”

I was a callow star-struck youth,
in love with the movies in the 1950’s;
bitten by the acting bug, 
cursed with the thespian virus
after receiving the Best Actor Award in 1962
at Sealth High School.

I envisioned myself as a modern Thespis,
                    who won the first Best Actor award in Athens
                    in 535 BC, essentially inventing Theatre
                    as he toured the country, carrying his masks,
                    costumes, & props in a horse-drawn wagon.

I was absolutely positive, after following
                    several of my acting friends to Los Angeles,
                               taking up residence in the ghetto heart
                                              of Hollywood, not very far from the
                               ornate famous iron gates of Paramount Studios,
                     that I would set the movie world on fire
              with my incredible enthusiasm; armed with my
SAG, AFTRA, & Equity cards,
                      my talent was inexorable,
                      my professional training impeccable,
                      my ego was a behemoth, &
                      my energy was inexhaustible.

But, alas, poor Yorick,
the flights of angels did not recognize me, for
                      the Theatrical & Film establishment was unimpressed,
not amused, cold, condescending, ignorant, crass,
littered with half-wits & homosexuals; & so, as the story goes,
                          the blazing comet of vocational pursuit that I rode upon,
                          streaked across Griffith Park & crashed & burned
                                         not far from the Hollywood Sign, 
                                         & the observatory 
                          where the rebel never found his cause, 
                          where James Dean pretended to have a knife fight. 

But, what the hell,
I did have a decade of actually pursuing my dreams,
& no one ever has taken that away from me.
I just had to find another way to be alive, another dream--
like being a teacher & working with the blind,
yeah, I could do that. 

Glenn Buttkus

My apologies to Claudia for taking her dVerse prompt & pushing the poetic 
envelope, taking the 10 nouns & verbs, & expanding them exponentially. 

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snow Blind

image borrowed from 

Snow Blind

“Genius is an African who dreams up snow.”
--Vladimir Nabokov.

Snow is like scotch--
you instinctually love it or hate it. 
A lot of people adore snow,
                        become impatient waiting for it,
                        praying for it, doing snow dances,
                        before playing in it, never losing 
              a child’s sense of wonder about winter,
              using arctic foxes & snowshoe rabbits as their totems. 

Descending the stairs
on my snow-covered deck,          I slip,        cracking my tailbone
                                  during my painful journey to the icy sidewalk. 

A snowscape looks blissful, beautiful, peaceful on
                      a Grandma Moses painting,
                      a Norman Rockwell magazine cover
                      a Hallmark greeting card,
                      an Ansel Adams photograph,  or
                      a ski resort poster, but while

Lying on my back in 6 inches of hard-packed snow
mantling a sheet of ice on the street,
putting on tire chains          so that I can get out of my driveway
                       & negotiate my side street, only to take them off
                       in a parking lot before driving on the freeway,
wearing rubber angler’s overalls
                                       to keep my slacks presentable, 
                       the metal on the chains
                       blistering my bare hands because
my bulky snow mittens were too clumsy--
it doesn’t look too pretty to me. 

In the northern part of our state,
near the Canadian border,             the Mt. Baker ski area
                      holds the world record for accumulated snowfall
                      at 1,140 inches, or 95 feet.
Skiers & snowboarders consider it Nirvana. 

There are over a half million
homeless people in this country         and every damn winter
                       2000 of them die of hyperthermia
                      as the polar vortex has its way with them,
                      partly because the shelters were full,
                      or didn’t open their doors until the temps
were freezing, so a third of the homeless faced the snow
without any shelter at all. 

I wouldn’t say I suffered from Chionophobia,
but it seems that I have always detested snow,
                                       actually dreaming of strangling snowflakes,
                                       all six sides of them, while
                         spraining my back shoveling snow, or
                   losing track of my car in the 6 foot drifts created
by the roaring helpful snow plows.

Did you know that snow falls at 3 m.p.h,
that every winter, one septillion snowflakes fall,
(that is one with 24 zeros),
that snow is actually clear & colorless, 
that an average snowflake is made up of     
                    180 billion molecules of water?
                     Neither did I.

Residing, as I do,       hemmed in by two nearby mountain ranges,
                      with more than half the population nestled
                 on hillsides, with steep driveways--just 6 inches of snow
turns everything into a tortuous mad carnival ride,
                 causing thousands of wrecks, injuries, heart attacks
                       & mental breakdowns.

But the snow gods do not touch me
as much now that I am retired, 
sitting warmly in my hovel watching
the traffic snarls only on television,
                  having the leisure to be haunted 
                              once more by the sepia photos shown to me
                                                by an older friend,
                                          of nude Swedish women skiers, 
                                          when I was ten, &
knew very little about women 
& still enjoyed snow. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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