Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Beyond Borders


image from impactlab.net 


Beyond Borders

“A modern democracy is a tyranny whose
borders are undefined.”--Norman Mailer.

Walk anywhere in a straight line
until someone or something stops you,
reminding you that no one lives in a space
devoid of parameters.

As you ponder your limits, consider
the complexity of your cage;
        barrier or decor,
           emotional limits versus
                nether regions of redefined morality, like
           red ruffles on an apron,
        wood/plastic/metal edges
     pounded onto Art, or esoteric
stapled-on foreskins & scalps,
or that which constitutes a frame,
or the digital capture of pieces of
the horizon, or those twenty foot rusting girders that
                         stand at rigid attention, part of an
                      unfinished fence erected along
                 our Southern border, or armed
           guards holding sub-machine guns,
       or tall steel parallel fences that
have swirls of razor-sharp barbed
wire strung out like deadly dandelions
for the indifferent wind to blow through,
                                     to draw blood.
                                     to deter,
                                     to confine,
                                     to keep out
undesirables, trespassers, and all those
who might want to do us harm--

or even the unbalanced unhinged state of our
commander-in-chief that borders on madness,
ignorance and xenophobia--or the thin blue line
between us and criminals--or the ton of chrome
trim we used to decorate our vehicles with-or the
fragile membranes between good health and a
heart attack--those polished nails at the end of 
our digits--or the 21 overlapping dimensions 
that are reputed to exist within the space we think
we inhabit--or the humungous hedge we grow 
around our property to create privacy, and to
insulate us from the steady chaotic stream of
flesh & machines that parade past; specifically
the margin, edge, perimeter, frontier, boundary,
circumference, girth, height, weight, periphery,
rim and fringe of
everything.

We exist within our
borders, but do not need to

be defined by them.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gravel Sandwich


image from youramazingplaces.com 


Gravel Sandwich

“Every man is a damn fool for at least five
minutes every day.”--Elbert Hubbard.

My wife and I enjoy road trips in the summer. One
year we were quite ambitious, driving south down
into Montana, through Yellowstone Park, emerging 
east into Wyoming, stopping at Devil’s Tower, before
entering South Dakota; had fun in Deadwood, all
cramped up in its valley between mountains. Mt.
Rushmore was grand, remembering NORTH BY
NORTHWEST. Crazy Horse Memorial was bigger,
still a work in progress.

We made an arc north from Custer City so that we
could see the Badlands, where the topography is
gaunt and primordial, with twisty roads, slowing for
buffalo, sensing the spirits of Apaches & outlaws
around every corner. We stopped at a Trading Post.
My wife went inside to cool off & look at jewelry,
while I wrestled with our cooler & made a sandwich.
I placed the sandwich on the roof & pushed the cooler
back inside, just in time to see the sandwich falling 
past me, landing in the dirt. Two old men sitting on a 
bench in the shade laughed at me. Embarrassed, I 
picked up the sandwich, dusted it off & took a big bite 
out of it, biting hard into a piece of gravel & broke a 
tooth.

I walked past the hecklers, tossing the sandwich in the
garbage, and went inside to get my wife. I was angry 
& demanded we leave. I blamed her for leaving me out
in the heat to fend for myself. After she finished 
laughing at me, she said, “How old are you? You
should have known better than to bite into a gravel
sandwich !” Now this is one of our favorite road trip
tales to tell.

Moving slow around switch
backs in the Badlands, shaggy
bison rule the roads. 

  

Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Love Me Hard


image from imgarcade.com


Love Me Hard

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”
--Pablo Neruda.

In my youth, with discovered raging hormones,
love and lust were interchangeable, inseparable. 
So many exciting & sexy lovers on parade,
as Eros captivated & ruled every waking moment--

and only intensified in my smoldering slumber,
as I was often awakened to throbbing erections
and steaming wet dreams, prancing and dashing
about, fully stimulated, like a young stag in rut.

But then I began to consider serious relationships,
to confine my erotic focus on one woman, to seek
out more meaning, less haze, deeper commitment.

It took three marriages and forty chaotic years
of searching, stumbling, experimenting to finally

find the actual bona fide love of my life--my real wife.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Pets Pub  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ballad of Bathos


image from vinileshop.it


Ballad of Bathos

“I know you need your sleep now,
I know your life’s been hard,
But many men are falling
Where you promised to stand guard.”
--Leonard Cohen.

I know you pride yourself
as an outsider, a maverick,
never trapped on a shelf;
but your very best trick 

was to convince a lot of us
that you felt our pain,
that you understood our fuss,
that we all could ride on your train.

So here we are 6 months in,
with so many bodies under the bus,
with empty platitudes creating a din,
as America shops for a truss.

My God, sir--Nazis are marching,
and people are dying,
as you take refuge in your tower,
kiss golden toilets & stroke your power.

It is sad so many of us are already old
and will not live to actually see
your piggy mouth fill up with mold
as the country regains sweet liberty.



Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, August 14, 2017

Love Capture


image from pinterest.com


Love Capture 

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”
--Harriet Tubman.

As a poet.
I’m as much 
a dreamer,
as I am a witness
to the full spectrum
of my perceptions
of life,
the universe
and breaking news.

Love
is the common
denominator.

For my part.
I’d much prefer
to catch rainbows
rather than

klansmen.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Shades


image from christimcguire.com


Shades 

“We may sit in the shade of a tree today because
someone planted that tree a long time ago.”
--Warren Buffett

Shade is made up of deep shadows,
a multiplicity of shadows
clinging to each other, overlapping,
pushing and shoving
in joyful play, 
in fellowship--
shades of boisterous bliss
that yearn to cool our sweaty brows.

A beautiful place for picnics,
                                 romance,
                                 contemplation,
                                 siestas,
                                 sanctuary & 
                                 meditation--

yet not all shadows
comprise or provide shade,
much like bees are insects
but not all insects are bees.

Shades often companion curtains, or stand in for 
them, or sometimes replace them. Pencil drawings 
are flat and one dimensional without shadings. 
Personalities would be shallow & colorless without 
diverse complex emotional shadings--even the sea
contains shades of change within its fathoms.

Shade is more than a
blanket as it spreads below 

the mighty maple.


Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eyes of Fire


image from  rileybrad.wordpress.com


Eyes of Fire

“Only with a leaf, can I talk of the forest.”
--Visar Zhiti.

Too often, it seems to me, here in the north/south--
west, we seem to experience more summer wild-
fires than the folks on the east coast. Perhaps we
pay little attention to their news, or don’t receive
the reporting--but the fact remains that our grand
and sprawling spacious forests always seem to be
a lightning rod for fiery episodes.

Hardy firefighting smoke jumpers are truly some of
our bravest souls. Watching recycled old military
planes & stout double ended helicopters dumping
tons of reservoir water & huge clouds of blood red
fire retardant on exploding valleys, foothills and
screaming mountain sides is both fascinating and
terrifying.

Trees are essential
to sustain life; we must safe-

guard our sweet forests.


Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lessons


image from pinterest.com 


Lessons

“Learn as if you were going to live forever.”
--Mahatma Gandhi. 

Can anyone really be a poet
only writing in sumptuous free verse,
or can one be boring & not know it?

I used to think Walt Whitman was a god,
but sometimes I try a different form
to tighten my verbose style,

to insure my poetics aren’t lukewarm,
threadbare, shallow or shop-worn.
I say we should never stop learning,

from first poems in the beginning,
to successful forays into classic forms;
from poetic haze into those perfect storms

of words descending as our message pierces
all those readers very receptive hearts,

becoming targets for cupid’s loving darts.


Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Is This The End


image from coatingservices.biz


Is This The End?

“The killer awoke before dawn. He put his
boots on.”--Jim Morrison

I swear GOD is
   a politician; his explication and
         rebuttal to our accusation that he
               could not possibly love us as much as
         he claims--otherwise why do we 
   have to face death with every
breath--why in hell do unspeakably
tragic things happen regularly to
good people--you know, like concentration camps,
                                              bullies & batterers,
                                              genocide.
                                               patricide,
                                               dire hopeless poverty,
                                               serial killers,
                                               plagues,
and way too many assholes in charge of everything
--is that hey, man was given
free will & a road map from
the Get, and simply all those
who choose to disregard        morality,
                                               honesty,
                                               decency,
                                               equity,
                                               equality,
                         & the rule of divine law
                are just choosing to exercise
            their God-given right
        to be themselves in
the humane heart of an
extant Celestial Democracy;
dig it. 

The kicker, the egress from all this negative stress
is that a titanic ton of us choose to believe that yes,
all things wear out, so there will be an end to our
husk, but our essence joyfully shifts, skipping and
singing rap hosannas to our next adventure as 
easily as one travels through a revolving door. 

So, as this poem ends,
actually, the poetics only pause;
this pregnant portion of my poetic
continuum will be finished for now;
I tell myself that these words will find
closure, that my depleted creativity
will have to be recharged before the
next prompt, the next Muse’s call
for my response--that as a poet, my
words will live on, unstoppable, 
regardless of what may happen to me

--that is until Morrison’s naked Indian
spirit guide shows up in my dreams;
feathers tied to his phallus, wearing
blood red warpaint, and he walks right
up to me & says:

“Dude, don’t be stupid;
we both are aware that right

now--this is the end.”


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, July 31, 2017

My Friend Fear


image from olabodeskills.com 


My Friend Fear

“A man need not fear death, but rather never
beginning to live.”--Marcus Aurelius.

Fear wears
a bad reputation,
since most of us
have learned
that to be fearful
of something,
and reveal it

to others,
is a sign of
weakness
and cowardice--

but the truth
is that fear
is our friend;
albeit hyperactive,
and often
somewhat

illogical.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blackthorne--Scene 67


image from fineartamerica.com


Blackthorne

Cinemagenic Sixty-Seven

Slaughter

“History is comprised of one slaughter after
another. We talk about it, but no one is really
listening.”--Fred Ward.

1(overhead medium-wide crane shot) Buck lying 
on his buffalo pelt making preparations--the ten 
bison grazing 150 yards from his hillock. He 
would be firing down onto them.
2(sound cue) two cellos, jazz snare brushing.
3(medium close up) Buck loosening the copper 
thumb screw & adjusting the aperture disc to the
first notch, slowing bringing the Sharp’s front sight
even with the backbone of the largest cow. He
waited until she turned broadside.
4(tight close up) his eyes, left one closed, the right
one steely & unblinking.
5(close up) he squeezed off a shot with the thick
trigger.
6(sound cue) the thunderous clap of the Sharp’s
lethal discharge, echoing for a moment.
7(medium close up) the bullet hit a little low, tearing
her lungs apart--her legs caved in a second later as
the lead passed through her a kicked up dust on the
other side of her. Her brown bisonic bulk thudded 
into the knee-high grass.
8(close up) her head on the ground, eyelids closed,
gasping for air as thick red foam dripped from her 
black lips.
9(sound cue) Indian seed rattle & banjo.
10(medium wide shot) Time stood still for a moment 
as the small herd froze in shock.
11(medium close up) Young Buck jammed another 
tall brass cartridge into the Sharps.
12(medium wide shot) The albino patriarch danced 
and leaped about, straining to locate the hunter, 
sniffing the air, pawing the ground, grunting and 
bellering & moaning in fear, raising dust. The other 
bulls & cows formed an oxen circle, butt to butt, 
heads down
13(medium crane shot) behind & above Buck. We 
can see the buffalo in the distance as the hunter 
pulled down on one of the younger bulls and 
squeezed off another shot.
14(sound cue) the Sharp’s discharge over coronet.
15(medium close up) the young bull suffered a 
spine shot, and his hind quarters went down,
making him appear to be sitting. The old albino
roared & headed straight for Buck, gathering speed,
its tufted tail erect like a lion.
16( medium close-up) Buck fired again, sending a
fifty caliber message toward the charging bull. 
17(medium wide shot) The bullet struck the bull in 
the chest at sixty yards, shooting for the lights, thus
ripping a hole in its lungs. The albino went down like
a tree had fallen on it, skidding to a halt in the dust.
The other bull broke formation & headed for a nearby
gulley--four cows & one calf followed, rolling up white
dust midst their panic.
18(angle on Buck) loading another cartridge into the
smoking Sharps.
19(sound cue) cello, piano & harmonica.
20(cut to an overhead drone shot) Six bison running
away, Buck prone on his pelt, the albino down, and
one older black cow standing still near it.
21(medium close up) The cow stood as a statue, 
with the albino calf between its legs, confused, both 
waiting for the white patriarch to get up.
22(sound cue) another loud shot from the Sharp’s.
23(medium wide shot) Buck had gut-shot the last 
bull at two hundred yards, knocking him down--but 
then it jumped up again, dragging his entrails. The 
young bull stopped & stood, its shoulders quivering, 
glassy-eyed--the world a red mist, with blood every 
where in the yellow grass. The others stopped 
running, & trotted in small circles around the bull.
24(sound cue) bass fiddle & snare drum over a loud
rasping bellow.
25( medium close-up) Buck’s eyes jerked to the right.

   


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trout Hunting


image from basspro.com


Trout Hunting

“Fishing is much more than fish.”
--Herbert Hoover

I was twenty
as I pole-axed 17 miles
of trail, massaging the steepness
like a polished gigolo,
sieving the sweet, cold
creek water, flexing my kidneys,
flushing my cramping molecules
with rushing ice-cubed swallows,
pre-salmonella,
pre-smog,
pre-registering the hike--
burying my eyes in frozen bliss,
as the August sun spanked my brain,
and the fifty-pound wooden Trapper Nelson
pack kissed my spine.

I fished with my Remington .22 pistol,
its chromed hot barrel flash-barking
pleasantness as it spat brass,
hitting several curious fat rainbow
trout in the head, as I gauged the shots
relative to the parabolic bending of light.

So my grandfather and I had flesh rainbows for
dinner, their brightly colored sides blackening in
bacon grease, bubbling to a charred crackle, its
meat pope-white in the golden light, fin deep in
the cast iron frying pan--no fishing pole in sight
there in that verdant twilight, midst ankle-high
clover in a angelic valley at the foot of a glacier.

Later Mt. Stewart
squatted to join us around

our smiling campfire. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at   dVerse Poets Pub

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pluviophile


image from picturescollections.com


Pluviophile

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you have to put up with the rain--Dolly Parton.

The heat has turned Navy gray,
clouds cover day.
I heard the rain,
coolness the gain.

Temps at ninety in the Northwest
are not the best
way toward comfort,
much sweat to court.

My eight tomato plants do smile,
sipping awhile--
me on the deck,

breeze on my neck.


Glenn Buttkus


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Sanctuary


image by glenn buttkus


The Sanctuary

“Each of us has an inner room, a sanctuary where
we can visit to be inspired.”--Glenn Buttkus

It was an old bachelor’s apartment
      with liver, onions & fish still prevalent odors
adhered to the paisley floral wallpaper,
      with cigarette burns & tattered rips
freckling the 50’s turquoise carpet,
      with what might have been blood stains
under the narrow single bed,
      with very tall ceilings that were pock-marked
      with greasy popcorn plaster bumps,
an asbestos-ridden affect from the past, rife in
every dirty cluster,
       with ornate steel steam radiators against
two of the walls, dark blanched spots behind them,
        with a small kitchen that had several cupboards 
too high to reach without standing on a chair,
        with a squat noisy refrigerator that had a deeply
dented door & bent rusty shelves,
        with a cracked porcelain sink that had dark
mysterious stains & no plug,
         with a large bathroom, resplendent
         with an ancient lion-legged bath tub, and a 
six foot tall narrow vertical window
         with smoked glass to provide privacy.

From the alley outside, one could see the cheery
wrought iron barred gate that covered that window,
as if there were valuables or treasure inside, and 
the red ladder for the fire escape, within easy reach
if egress was ever a necessity.

The price was right--this
apartment would suffice as

a writer’s sweet den.    


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flicker Fun


image from youtube.com


Flicker Fun

All writing is about the same thing--dying; about
the brief flicker of time we have here.”
--Mordecai Richler.

Flickering
indicates motion
more than life.

Movies
flicker fast
fast enough
to appear
as clear images.

Insects
& bird’s wings
flicker
so rapidly
they hum.

I imagine that
at the point
of death,
reality flickers
ever so slowly
before
it finally

fades to black.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blackthorne--Scene 66


image from fineartamerica.com


Blackthorne

Cinemagenic Sixty-Six

Talons and Horns

"When a fish-hawk strikes its talons too deep in 
fish, beyond its lift, he is carried under and
drowned."--Christian Bovee.



1(medium wide shot) Young Buck, twenty miles out
of camp, mounted, his blood & mud soaked fringes
on his buckskin shirt dancing in the breeze, his back
to the camera, his new .50 caliber Sharps crossed in
front of him.
2(sound cue) cello & French horn.
3(smooth crane shot) rising up over the hunter’s 
back, revealing a small herd of buffalo between 
arroyos below him; landscape looking like a mini-
badlands; they were out in the open, feeding at a
walk like antelope.
4(close-up) Buck’s eyes--laced with sadness.
5(close up) the Bison monarch’s pink eyes.
6(dolly-shot pulling back) the old bull was a prairie 
behemoth, easily more than a ton of hair, bone & 
meat--twitching his tail, his hump more than six feet
from the grass, his pelt pure albino.
7(stop at medium wide-shot) a tiny herd of ten--two
young bulls, six cows, & two calves--one of them 
also an albino--a spot of adolescent snow in the 
yellow-green grass
8(sound cue) clarinet & coronet.
9(cut to two-shot) Buck dismounted, his Sharps in his
right hand. Over his deerskin shirt, at his narrow waist,
he wore his cartridge belt. A dozen brass rifle shells 
rowed across the back of it; pistol shells in the front on 
both sides. He unlashed a burlap sack from behind his 
saddle; a worn thin buffalo hide to lie on, several stick 
yokes to put the hex-barrel into, a dark brown box of 
cartridges for the Sharps.
10(sound cue) Voice-over (VO)--Buck: Stay loose, 
Rod; stay calm & bag all the adults. If I chase them 
on horseback, I’d be lucky to put down two or three 
of them. That albino pelt will bring high dollar over at
Fort Anderson.
11(medium wide shot) from behind him, the bison out-
of-focus in the distance. Downwind of them, he 
moved slowly on foot. He stopped at about 100 yards 
from them, pulling his tools out of the bag, lying down 
on the pelt.
12(sound cue) soft guitar chords under Buck’s (VO):
You’ve seen this before; deep breaths--you know 
that the ole’ bull will not run. The youngest bull 
will break herd formation & lead the cows & calves 
off in another direction-while the old albino, and the 
other  bull will stay & stand; possibly even charge 
me.
13(medium close up) Buck worked twelve .350 grain
brass-jacketed shells out of his belt, placing them in
a lethal row on the pelt. He wore the sawed-off by
then--taking it out of its snap-holster, & placing it
alongside the bullets of death. He picked up a pair 
of cavalry binoculars, & peered into them.
14(sound cue) high notes--viola & guitar.
15(cut to round telescopic image-medium close-up)  
The taurine was scarred up, covered with ancient 
angry horn gashes, one back leg was crooked after
being struck by an Eastern iron horse; hanging
from one white flank was a broken Comanche lance,
it’s twin crow feathers fluttering. 
16(close-up) Buck--thinking: You old monster. You’ve
lived long & beat the odds. I will hum your death song
because this morning will be your last wake-up.
17(slow rising crane shot) up to a seamless cut to a 
drone shot, rising a hundred feet higher, then static 
hold as Buck prepared for the kill
18(sound cue) hawk scree over violin screech.
19(hold wide-shot) two beats before a hawk drops
through the frame in steep dive; one blink before
fade to black.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Have Mercy


image from pinterest.com


Have Mercy

“For those who expect to reap the blessings of
freedom--they must undergo the fatigues of
supporting it.”--Thomas Paine

To the coal miner,
who has been out of work for years,
now addicted to heroin,
who voted for Trump:
“Blessings be upon you.”

To the 25 year old veteran,
losing three limbs to a roadside bomb,
who now only has the VA 
to count on for help
to repair his mangled body
and tortured soul:
To be an American is to enjoy the blessings
of liberty, freedom, and justice for all.”

To the truncated Syrian family
living in a huge refugee camp,
having their single meal of the day--
moldy bread, rancid rice, & grass soup:
“Oh Allah ! Bless this food you have 
provided us.”

To the 12 year  old
newly initiated gang member,
who helped beat an old woman
to death for her tattered purse,
forced to go to church
by his grandparents
who he lives with,
since his father is in prison.
and his mother died of a drug overdose,
who is taking communion:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good--
blessed are the ones who take refuge in him.”

To the 15 year old girl
who is pregnant
after being raped by her father,
who no longer can be helped
by the under-funded Planned Parenthood:
“God bless America. You know I get things
done--and in the end, everybody likes me.”

--Donald J. Trump.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, June 26, 2017

Morning's Dance


image from upcscavenger.com


Morning’s Dance

“Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.”
--Cat Stevens.

6:45 am, awakened by the ping of the sprinklers
being activated--and the thrush-thrush-thrush of the
sweet water sings me to my feet. Our temps already
in the the 90’s, the Pacific Northwest is sweltering,
and tender lawns need watering before the heat
blasts. With my wife traveling in Europe, I am the
one who must tend to our old tomcat at the back door
at the first sound of stirring within. His guttural plea
wafts like a crowing to neighbors.

I sit for a few precious minutes on our deck, sipping
tea, enjoying the brisk breeze, stimulating the lovely 
leaves to dance on the huge old maple across the 
fence. I shower quickly, wolf down some fruit and
yogurt before heading out the door, I have planned
a photography junket up valley in old town Kent,
before the onerous heat & oppressive traffic will
drive me back to my a/c & waiting computer.

The large maple leaves
dance & undulate in the

early morning’s stir.


Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Last Journey


image from deviantart,com


Last Journey

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself
is home.”--Matsuo Basho.

Most of us will die at night. 
We clutch at hope during the day--
in darkness we give up the fight.

Whether it be wrong, or it be right,
somehow our soul finds a way;
most of us will die at night.

No matter our deeds, or how very bright
our inner flame, or how much we pray,
in darkness we give up the fight.

We hope to be greeted by the sight
of loved ones & friends, whose smiles are gay.
Most of us will die at night.

Yes, as we walk slowly toward the light,
in transition we will find our true way;
in darkness we give up the fight.

Moving up we approach the heights,
leaving our many demons at bay;
most of us will die at night--

in darkness we give up the fight.  


Glenn Buttkus