Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fear is my Co-Pilot

image borrowed from

Fear is my Co-Pilot

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy in life is when men are afraid of the light.”

I get up to fear
fixing my breakfast, & then
plotting my whole day.

How can those horrible hordes
of pious pugnacious patriots ever break out
of the mucus-lined terrible trenches
of scintillating sonorous sorrow,

finally elude the fallacious daydream of mink-gloved 
garish greed, whereby their red-necked pitiful palaces,
located dully dead-center in the vacuous wasteland of
vast rust-bucket trailer parks, 
                 their shaved-head vicious visage, 
                 their colorful prison/biker tattoos,
                 their White Supremacy bilious booklets,
                 their brutish benevolence, &
                 their mandatory attendance at KKK kamikaze camp-outs
& asinine Aryan Nation rallies all along the Idaho prick’s panhandle,

ALL seems to be rigorously righteous
       within their fascist fallacies &
                 their American Nazi fantasies,
       wherein Donald Trump could lead,
                     Jeb Bush could rig an election,
                     Glenn Beck could advise,
                     Sarah Palin could govern, &
                     Michelle Bachmann could join the Supreme Court.

I swear, every damn day, it seems
another mad dog murderer walks into
                     a bustling super mall,                     or
                     a full movie theater,                        or
                     a rural elementary school,              or
                     a starched recruiting office,            or
                     an unsuspecting Navy yard,           or
                     a slumbering military base              or
                     a commonplace commuter train      or
                     a salami-scented delicatessen        or
                     an infidel’s cartoon convention.
armed with a Russian AK-47 &
a dozen crammed lethal killer clips                      & sprays
                       soft-nosed brass-headed bullets like
                   demon rain into random bystanders;
              furiously fueled by Islamic deadly double-speak,
                                       by chest-splitting hate-mongering mentally
unstable conditioning,    by sadly surreptitious other-directing,
                                       by deceitful vacations to Syrian sack-of-shit
combat training camps   by pissy-promises of beauteous martyrdom,
                                       by too many moronic choices, 
                                       by unfortunate easy access to firearms,
                                       by trading Jesus for Allah--

although the dark dastardly denizens
that speak for either of them have twisted
love into larceny,
compassion into terror,
insecurity into paranoia,
stupidity into pride, &
dimples into death.

Yet in my idealist’s heart, I hope/believe/pray that the insidious insanity
of misplaced nationalism, the larcenous lure of fictitious personal power,
the rise of punk-bitch pride & thuggish bullying, grinning cruelty, limitless
capitalistic kopecks--could be somehow redirected onto a brighter sun-
dappled landscape, into that socialistic democracy as espoused by
Saint/Senator Bernie Sanders, where every unrealistic dream of equality,
perfect equity, unfettered freedom, & unharnessed honesty could come
true, where our fabulous fantasies of brotherhood could create heaven
in Helena, could reverse global warming, could curb billionaire’s choke
holds, defeat lobbyists & paid-for politicians, or actually practiced as 
good deeds by the dying Jimmy Carter.

I would love to just
awaken in a world where love
outranked hate; amen. 


Glenn Buttkus

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From Baltimore to Anacreon

image borrowed from

From Baltimore to Anacreon

“If you forget the words to your own songs, well, you
can improvise--but if you forget the words to the national
anthem--then you’re screwed.”--Lyle Lovett

Oh, say can you see
by the dawn’s early light, what
so proudly we hailed

                                        at the twilight’s last
                                        gleaming, whose broad stripes & bright
                                        stars, through the peri--

--lous fight, O’er the ram--
--parts we watched so gallantly
streaming? and the roc--

ket’s red glare,
Bloody fare
the bomb’s bursting in air
Claws of the bear
gave proof through the night
Vicious fight
was still there.
Pugnacious pair
Oh, say does that
Pesky gnat
star-spangled banner yet wave
Freedom saved.

                                       O’er the land of the
                                       free & the home of the brave:
                                       End of the first verse.

When you pull the patriotic scab off of our colorful History,
in 1814, we discover young FranKKey, a nineteenth century
poet, standing on the tilted deck of an American frigate in
Baltimore harbor watching the British night bombardment
of Ft. McHenry, while he scribbled four stanzas of poetry
on the wet backs of cotton ledgers--& it remained just a
popular poem, until it morphed into popular music, using
the melody of a well known drinking song, called 
                          TO ANACREON IN HEAVEN, 
created by the folks at a Gentleman’s Club of amateur 
musicians in London.

Then in 1916, during WWI, President Woodrow Wilson
began having military bands play it to spike patriotism,
& during the early years of the Great Depression, in 1931,
after an Act of Congress, the song was officially designated
as our national anthem. 

                             How many sporting
                             events, or school assemblies
                             have we all

found ourselves at, with our right hand over our heart, after a
flag salute, & recitation of the pledge of allegiance, & praising
God--singing the national anthem? Maybe a hundred or so
before we were twenty--where for me in 1964, I encountered
something called the inception of the Viet Nam War, just as
the shaggy-haired Beatles started another British invasion,
with free love, sex/drugs/& rock-n-roll just around the bend. 

I love my country;
can’t help myself, regardless
of politicians.

Glenn Buttkus

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene 44

image borrowed from skip


Cinemagenic Forty-Four


“The power of patriarchy has been to make men feel that its
better to be feared than to be loved.”--Bell Hooks.

1(three-shot) Lisa touched her wet puckered lips with a forefinger,
then placed it on Johnny’s cheek. She rose gracefully, floating off
his lap & away from the table, melting into the thick shadows.
2(two-shot) angle on Buck, his intense eyes locked on the Indian’s
face--Tell me, old Caballo, what’s the story here?
2(reverse shot) angle on the eagle:--Nothing. I am your man. There 
can be no one else.
4(medium close-up) Buck: A few weeks ago I didn’t know I was coming
back here--yet somehow many people in this town seemed to expect
me--just how in hell does that cinch up?
5(two-shot) angle on Johnny: Because your father loved you.
6(sound cue) harmonica & piano.
7(flashback) A young Rod Buck standing in a crowded smoky saloon. 
Bill Buck sat among others at the bar, his back to the boy. 
8(hold the wide shot/sound cues) thirty voices, glasses clinking, coughing.
9(medium two-shot) Bill Buck, at another’s urging, turned around & saw
his son standing there.
--Bill: What? WHAT?
The boy said nothing, hands in his pockets, staring up at his father, a single
tear running down his cheek.
--Bill: Get out of here! What the fuck’s wrong with you? What do you want
from me?
The boy did not respond.
--Bill: God damn it, Roddy--get back to the ranch. Quit following me around
like a whipped pup (pointing to the swinging doors) So get the fuck out of
here! Tell the squaw your problems--she’ll take care of you.
10(two-shot, the present) angle on Buck: My father was a falling down
11(sound cue) guitar chords
12(medium close-up) Johnny: Your father is dead, but you are here, very
much alive--& now you are the Buck. That’s all there is; simple. 
13(medium close-up) Buck: I’m sorry--but I still don’t savvy
14(two-shot) angle on Johnny: --You wrote letters to your father?
15(sound cues) bull bison bellowing, train whistle in the distance, several .50
caliber rifle shots, & pounding hooves.
16(medium  close-up) Buck nodded Yes.
17(flashback) Young Buck at a small campfire at twilight, writing a letter on an
overturned wooden bucket.
18(close-up) Johnny: He read them to everyone.
19(medium close-up) Buck, after a moment, a beat: 
--He became a damn fool.
20(two-shot) angle on Johnny: Yes, he was a drunk, & he died alone,
but he was not a fool.
--Buck: After Ma died, he was never the same. I could not stay here &
watch him kill himself.
--Johnny: No one judges you.
21(angle on Buck) Not even him?
22(medium close up) Johnny: Especially him.
23(sound cues) clarinet, coronet, & banjo.
24(medium close-up) Buck: Wallace, Salina, you, Mateo, probably even
Bronson knew I was coming; damn.
22(two shot) over Buck’s shoulder:
--Johnny: True, big Ciervo, many did know that you would come, but there
was no “when” on their lips. A man comes home. 
25(reverse shot) angle on Buck: Just feel bone-busted tired. It is hard to
recognize things, because everything I ever knew is dead, turned to blow
sand ghosts & scorpions in my boots.
26(sound cue) trumpet & harmonica.
27(flashback) sunrise over the foothills above the Buck ranch, two black
collies chasing a squirrel near the barn, dark smoke rising from a stately
rock chimney, with the lovely smell of bannocks, bacon, & strong coffee
on the breeze.
28(two shot) the Present, angle on the Eagle: You know, your father
always had a dream?
29(reverse shot) angle on Buck: When I last saw him, he had no dreams
30(medium shot, flashback) on a truck crane, dollying in to the open hay
loft doors, with a large snowy owl on the end of the red pully-bar, staring
with its large yellow unblinking eyes into the camera.
31(sound cue) the owl’s soft Whooo, Whoo shifting hard into the Who’s
rock guitar chords, singing WHO ARE YOU?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Call Me Butch

image borrowed from

Call Me Butch

“If I’m going to tell a real story, then I’m gonna
start with my name.”--Kendrick Lamarr.

Growing up in Seattle, I attended ten elementary schools in six
years; kind of amazed that most of them were built the same--three
stories, wide stairs, hall lockers, smelling of hardwood floors, strong
cleaners, wax, chalk, eraser dust, urinal soap, lunchroom tuna casserole
& macaroni slathered in cheese, rubber balls, & baseball mitts.

Before I made it through sixth grade, my young mother had married twice
more--the first husband was divorced before my first day in kindergarten
in 1949. My last stepfather had a vicious temper, so he quit a lot of jobs,
& we moved multiple times, pushing me into permanent outsider status--
always the new kid, forcing/molding/allowing me to rapidly develop into
a type-A overachiever, having to assert myself intellectually, emotionally,
& physically to be as facile with my fists as I was with my quips & homework.

I was the one in
the first row, my hand in the 
air, first with answers.

Early on that first day 
           in the first school
        with the first teacher, I had
                my first life lesson, as I quickly learned to become
        my own advocate, being subjected to something strange
                labeled as Roll Call.

Arnold Bryden”, the lady teacher sang out.
I just sat there staring out the window at a dog pissing on a bike.
She repeated that odd name.
I remained unresponsive.
She bustled up to my tiny desk, as I was
checking out the odd doodles carved into it.
“Why are you not answering to your name?”
I looked up at her with angry eyes.
“That’s not my name.”
“Of course it is, young man, it’s right here on my roll card,
Arnold Glenn Bryden.”
“My name is Butch--call me Butch.”
“No, your first name is Arnold. Butch is just your nick-name.”
“My what?”
“Your nick-name, what your family calls you.”
“That’s cuz my name is Butch.”
“No, you must learn that we do not use nick-names in school.
I will call you Arnold, because that is your proper name.”
After a moment of contemplation I said,
“Arnold is a dumb name, I don’t like it. My Mom will be mad at you
too, cuz Arnold is my Dad, but he was mean to us, & he is gone 
now, so just call me Butch.”
“OK,” she said, pondering the situation,
“Then what about Glenn, your middle name?”
“Yes, Glenn--that’s a fine name.”
“OK, you can call me Glenn. I like that name.”

It is hard to know
who you are at five years old,
but somehow, I did. 

Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, August 13, 2015

On the Stump

image borrowed from Facebook

On the Stump

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything.”
--Joseph Stalin.

Oh Christ, Presidential Politics are upon us yet again.
We hear all the candidates yowling like tomcats.
We do wonder where in hell is the actual truth?
They attack each other like starving rats in a maze.
Too many of us are filled with disgust.
Some of us never even make it to the polls.
So do they even have the right to complain,
When they choose not to practice democracy?
Can we stumble & elect a demagogue?
Or will we elect the First Madam?
Will Trump pick Palin for his running mate?
Sanders tells us what we have desperately needed to hear.
Personally, I really do feel the Bern.
His Turn.
How can a blowhard clown like the Donald
Gather up such a tremendous head of steam?
Trump has all the finesse of a schoolyard bully.
Is our government so completely broken?
Will 1% billionaires ever be willing to share with us?
Allow the reinstatement of the middle class?
Ever quit putting Congress in their pocket?
Sock it.
Can any political promises come to pass?
Kiss my ass.
Well, we will find out in 2016.
Ruptured spleen.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


image borrowed from


“Nothing exists longer than an instant except the thing
we hold in memory.”--Sam Savage.

When we behold Art
in any of its many forms,
we question our roots.

Antiquity is rife with grandiose
               statuary & architecture,
               mysterious paintings,
               oriental rugs,
               medieval tapestries,
               Native American dolls & dream catchers,
               hand-painted vases & urns & pottery,
               tattered scrolls & parchments,
And scraps of paper containing poetic lines left unsigned--
          all fabulous to behold, to discover & share.
          all anonymous, carefully, maddeningly cloaking 
          their creators,                  as well their motivations,
                                 muses & back stories.

                                 For me, historical relics,
                                 knick-knacks, furniture & art
are just a magnificent particle     of a much larger mosaic,
                                  a cosmic mandala.

Recently, my brother & I stood on a high ridge in the jagged foothills
below Mt. Adams, taking photos of the mountain, & as we zoomed
tighter for close-up shots we both were delighted to find three faces
formed on the edge of a melting glacier--where the exposed boulders
had formed a perfect rendering of a trio of distinct physiognomy.

I remember thinking about all the other faces
        and animals I have seen in the vermilion cliffs of
                 Utah & Nevada, or powerfully poking up out of dense
                          forests everywhere for some of us to marvel at, or
                  marching out to sea, broken off of continents, worn into
        wondrous shapes by wrathful waves--some into graceful arches,
others to stand alone or in groups, but who/what is the
                  magnanimous Muse that enjoys the creation of
                  these artistic & poetic anomalies, these elephants,
                                                                                  covered wagons,
                                                                                  bulls, horses,
pyramids, geometric shapes & human faces? Because some men
are so fascinated by Nature’s handiwork,
that in South Dakota, they have
transformed mountains into Art,
imprinting their visions into sheer cliff sides.

You know, whether we believe in Genesis or Evolution,
                                                     Scripture or Anthropology,
                  there was a time that we worshipped Nature,
                  & accepted it as divine--but today we have
        allowed our technological hubris,
        greed, pride, & ignorance
to plunge our entire planet into peril.

I think that somewhere
out in the vastness of void,
midst the star-choked swarm
of a billion-billion solar systems,
there are eyes watching our fatal folly,
merely observing, unwilling to intervene,
perhaps even making wagers on the
eventual timeline for our
destruction & extinction. 

If we co-created
this planet, let’s revisit our
own motivation.

Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blackthorne, Scene 43

image by Lalia Jamaica


Cinemagenic Forty-Three


The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every
string is a different color & different voice.”
--Andres Segovia.

1(two-shot) the two entered the establishment through a sturdy oaken
door, with an Aztec calendar's symbols carved in the middle of it.
2(sound cue) heavy door, creaky hinges, several voices, a woman laughing
& glasses clinking.
3(medium wide shot) the interior of the cantina as the two men walk in, with
the Eagle in the lead.
4(reverse shot) their backs to the camera; the walls were gray-yellow adobe
with a foot wide orange stripe, like a painted ribbon near the ceiling, no
windows, with an earthen straw-covered floor. There was a modest half-bar
with a jack pine plank top, no railing, no stools, & two clay spittoons.
5(sound cue) soft tweets on a trumpet & clarinet.
6(dolly shot) approaching the bar. Behind the bar was a short, but husky,
Mexican, with a brown towel draped on one shoulder.
7(medium close-up) He had a rope-burn scar on his muscular neck, his hair
was shiny black, worn Apache-long, tied in back, with Indian bangs, a droopy
thin mustache grew like wild grain over his upper lip, partially covering his
bad teeth as he smiled.
8(reverse medium wide shot) his back to the camera as the men walked up.
9(sound cue) soft castanets & Indian seed rattle.
10(three-shot) angle on the bartender;
--El Aguila! Welcome, do you want mescal?
11(reverse shot) angle on Johnny:
--No gracious, Mateo--today is whisky. I have money from Graff. Bring the
bottle to us.
--Mateo: Se, Graff, one gorda bendejo.
--Johnny: Sure, sure, one sad pinche hijo de puta.
12(sound cue) Spanish guitar, sweet strumming chords.
13(cut to overhead crane shot) the Cantina had ten round tables of varying
sizes, with well worn wicker chairs. Three well-dressed charros sat at a table
in the back, while several mestizo peasant farmers, still wearing huge straw
sombreros over their silent tanned faces, sat at other tables, sipping their sweet
mescal. Johnny & Buck walked up to a large table near the wall under a peeling
faded colorful mural of a bullfighter. 
14(medium two shot) at floor level; a young handsome charro sat on the sooty
ledge of the cold fireplace, playing a beautiful guitar, his soulful eyes met those
of an older buxom whore who was sitting next to him, one of her fleshy hands
on his shoulder, one sculpted foot perched on another chair, a bracelet 
of tiny silver bells around her ankle. She wore a big ruby ring on the third
finger. She smiled at the two newcomers, but her lids were partly-closed,
with her head slightly back, listening to the music, & the young cowboy
humming soft & low. 
15(sound cue) a string of beads colliding, a tambourine shaking.
16(medium tight shot) a colorful beaded curtain being flung aside by a
young saloon seƱorita standing with her arms on her hips in the dim
smoke. She glided into the room & headed right for their table. 
17(medium close up) Johnny grinning & Buck smiling.
18(four-shot) Mateo arrived with a dusty brown bottle of whiskey & three
glasses at the precise moment the lovely cantina bird did. 
--the young whore: sliding smoothly onto Johnny’s lap:
--Cogeme, muy hombre.
18(angle on Mateo) That’ll be four bits for the burn. 
19(sound cue) soft coronet. 
20(close-up) Johnny plunked a new silver dollar onto the table. Mateo
scooped it up, flicking it with his thumb & smiling:
--And who is your big companero? 
21(three shot) over Mateo’s shoulder--
--Mateo Valdez meet Rod Buck.
22(close-up) Mateo: Ay Carumba!
23(three-shot) The two men shook hands. The Mexican’s grip was firm
as he smiled his bad smile & winked at Johnny.
--Mateo: So, he has come at last.
--Johnny: Se, he has come.
--Mateo: Good--& just in time.
24(sound cue) fast but subdued guitar strumming, soft snare drum beats.
25(cut to medium wide shot) Mateo drops a fifty cent piece on the table 
& walks away, still smiling.
26(three shot) the prostitute had wrapped her shapely arms around 
Johnny’s neck. Buck was silent, sipping his strong whiskey.
27(two-shot) with Johnny drumming his fingers on the table:
--Well, Liseta,my pretty bird, what is it you want from old Aguila?
28(close-up) Lisa’s hazel eyes shining, flashing her perfect white teeth:
--First your fine cock, & then your pesos. 
--Johnny: You really tempt me, woman, your scent is in my nose--but
please fly away--I must talk with this silent buffalo across the table.
29(sound cue) guitar, snare drum brushing, & Indian branch flute.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Would you like to hear me read this cinemagenic poem to you?