Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Madre Mia

Betty & Butch

Madre Mia

“A mother is her son’s first god--she must teach
him how to love.”--T.F. Hodge.

My mother passed away
at 39, before silver gathered
in her hair, before I took
my first plane ride on my
way to Navy boot camp,
before I became anything
besides her first son.

My stepfather, before he
died young from love 
of Lucky Strikes, gave me
a plain tattered envelope--
“It’s some of your mother’s
stuff. I can’t look at them
any longer; it makes me
too sad.. Don’t look at the stuff
until you get home.

I found my mother’s
driver’s license,
social security card,
library card,
a book marker with doodles on it,
an 11th grade report card
with straight A’s in a trim line,
(she had dropped out of school
 at 17 to give birth to me),
several snapshots of her
as a young girl, a thin gold necklace
with a cross on it, 
her wedding ring,
and a hand--written note:
Butch--Art & I are playing cards 
over at Lauren & Bob’s. Your dinner
is in the fridge.--Love Mom.

I printed MOTHER 
in bold cartoon balloon letters
on the front of the envelope,
and added two snapshots
I had taken of her

Cancer kidnapped my
mother. It stole her smile and

her sparkling blue eyes.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, February 27, 2017

Giggle or Weep

image from teresekerr.com

Giggle or Weep

“I was brought up by people who tended to
giggle at funerals.”--Emma Thompson 

I heard
a pair of babies
giggling loudly.

This continued
for several
hysterical minutes.

I investigated
and found
my wife staring

at youtube,
playing & replaying
a giggle-duel.

I began 
to watch
the video too.

“This trumps chaos,”
she said--we both


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blackthorne--Scene Fifty-Nine

painting by Marcia Baldwin.


Cinemagenic Fifty-Nine


“A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then 
both part nobly, both subdued & neither party
loser.”--William Shakespeare.

1(medium wide crane shot) Chatawa bucked and
kicked his rear hooves into the angry air. The young
cowpoke was still hanging onto the rope, but was
being banged up--Bronson’s wranglers were good.
They sprung toward their horses. The old one
mounted up.
2(jump cut close-ups) Men grabbing their rope spools
--their horses dancing nervously--the young cowboy
trying to get to his feet.
3(sound cue) Chatawa voicing his frustration, his hard 
hooves clattering into the ground over coronet & drums.
4(medium wide-shot) in slow motion---Chatawa’s 
muscles rippling, mane & tail flying as he leaped and
bucked and spun. Two of the wranglers were now
mounted, one was on his feet--with whirling rope loops
whooshing over their heads.
5(medium close-ups) A whistling loop went over the
stallion’s head, then another, while another snared one
of his airborne rear legs. Chatawa fought them, his eyes
ablaze, foam at his nostrils--until they pulled him off his 
 6(medium wide-shot) Chatawa going down to his knees,
then pulled over onto his side with a great cloud of dust
erupting beneath him.
7(two-shot) Bronson & Thor up against the corral--Cash
with his hands on his hips & Thor pumping his fists in
8(jump-cuts) the mounted wranglers busily wrapping their
ropes around their pommels, cinching up the slack--the
mares in the corral terrified--cowboys clinched jaws--
Buck & the Eagle’s consternation--the young cowboy
on his feet, putting his back into holding his rope--
Chatawa fighting to his feet, kicking the rope off his back 
leg, then majestically rearing up on his back legs, pawing
the hot air, screaming in fury.
9(sound cues) blues guitar licks over French horns.
10(close-ups) Buck open-mouthed with tears on his cheeks
--Johnny as silent as a stone.
11(medium wide shot) Chatawa seeming to calm a bit as 
the wranglers continued to wrap-cinch the slack.
12(close-up) the young cowboy whooping in victory.
13(two-shot) Bronson walked over to Buck, then pulled off
the leather glove on his right hand & extended it.
14(close-up) Bronson, over Buck’s shoulder : I’m impressed,
Mr. Buck, both with the horse & your excellent judgement.
Believe me, you did the right thing here. Now let’s shake
hands like honorable men. No hard feelings.”
15(close-up) Buck, over Bronson’s shoulder. It was obvious
that he was at one with the ferocious anger in the stallion
and Johnny Eagle--that at that moment he would have
preferred to plant a rifle butt into Bronson’s smirk, but instead
16(two-shot) he reached out and firmly shook the baronic
rancher’s had, without a word, without emotion.
17(medium wide shot) Chatawa fought against the tethers,
attempting to rear up again, but the pokes had him fully
secured. He was going nowhere.
18(medium close-up) Bronson: A piece of advice though in
regards to the future. You need to keep a leash on this Indian.
He’s scorpion mean & he might lead you down the wrong 
path. I hope you & I can be good neighbors. I don’t want
trouble, but as you can see, when it comes down to the nut-
cutting, I don’t shy away from it either.  
19(extreme close-up) Johnny’s eyes, brimming with rage.
20(two-shot) Buck, over Bronson’s shoulder: He’s my man.
He won’t do anything that I don’t want him to.
21(close-up) Bronson: Well, young sir, that’s good enough
for me.
22(medium close-up) He pulled right glove back on, and
mounted his regal palomino, swinging his heavy frame up

into his Spanish saddle, his silver accoutrements clanking.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Burbs Blurb

painting by Jason Brockert

Burbs Blurb

“I live in the suburbs, outside the terrible cities.
The suburbs are the final battleground of the
American Dream.”--Harlan Coben.

As a boomer,
I have witnessed the creation
of the suburbs,

as the returning servicemen
from WWII got married and
wanted to move out

of the crowded city
neighborhoods that they
grew up in, raw boned,

playing stick ball & skate hockey,
dodging traffic, bloodying their
knuckles on those mean streets.

I fondly remember those glossy ads
in Life & Look & the Saturday Evening
Post for that new sensation--

suburban housing developments located
in outlying districts, billboards of smiling 
families so very happy to reside in

a rambler home behind a white-washed
pocket fence on wide tree-lined streets
with two-car garages & separate bedrooms

for the kiddies, walking distance from lovely
parks & safe schools, rife with milkmen,
postmen, & door-to-door salesmen.

70 years later, disillusionment has set in.
We are tired of mowing lawns, stressful
commutes to work--tired of the damn

cookie-cutter ticky-tacky blandness of
the housing, new developments stretching
clear to the horizon, blurring city limits,

becoming a sea of lights from the air,
creating traffic snarls, road rage, and
general apathy, as franchises sprung 

up on every other corner & strip malls
& vast shopping malls clog empty lots.
So many turn their eyes back into the

inner cities, embracing urban renewal,
embracing apartment & condo luxury
minus the tedium of yard work & worries

about new roves, sump pumps & gardeners.
Everything comes full circle if you live long

enough & happen to notice it.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, February 20, 2017

Feeling Free

image from fineartamerica.com

Feeling Free

“All my life I thought air was free, until I bought
a bag of chips.” --Anonymous

Yeah, true that--the best things in life are free--
and so are the worst. Some feel that the mere
sight of a .357 Magnum pistol is a joyous moment--
but for those who are raped, robbed or murdered 
by it--not so much.

A steep forest trail that winds & rambles in & out of
golden larch & majestic fir deep into the foothills can
seem exhilarating--unless you’ve become, or always
were disabled; for us that trail is the gorgeous woman
we’ll never make love to, the red Ferrari we’ll never
drive, the mansion we’ll never own.

A lovely deep pond at twilight, serenaded by lunes and
bullfrogs, its cattails swaying, its lily pods jiggling like
the breasts on a jogging woman’s track team seems
intoxicating until the hungry swarm of mosquitos &
gnats descend upon you, & a chill wind slaps you
in the face.

Many wonderful
things cost nothing, but bee stings

ruin morning meadows.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Goddess Descending

expressionist painting by Kurina Llergo Salto.

Goddess Descending

“Art! Who comprehends her? With whom can one
consult concerning this great goddess?”
--Ludwig van Beethoven.

It was the late summer of ’68.
  I was getting out of the Navy, even
       though the war in Viet Nam was still
           raging on. A week before my discharge, I was
       enjoying a halcyon late afternoon high
  up along the Angeles Crest, leaning hard
against a red-barked jack pine,
like the ones you see on Bonanza,
    partially napping while peering out over a gray-blue
                           noxious smog cloud that mantled the 
                           cites below, slowly turning golden red
                           from California sunshine, beginning to
                      look like napalm, like the zealous
                 spark in Charlie’s eyes as he rushed
               over our deadly concertina wire while
             we barely slept, hugging our rifles and
          whispering our mother’s names.

I was lulled into floating
in some kind of honied
mist, propelled by warm currents, paddling in deep
                                     champagne, bubbles rising
                                     like schools of wishes, when
I first saw her, dropping
down in sensual descent
directly in front of me, her eyes closed, her long blond
                                     tresses floating provocatively, 
                                     reaching back up the surface,
with some kind of pink chiffon Grecian dress swirling
and billowing around her
like a randy parachute, her ample breasts partially
                                      exposed, her long naked legs
                                      undulating slowly.

She was a dream girl,
               a mermaid,
               a silkie,
               an apparition, but somehow emanating a
               tragic sadness, appearing joyous, lusty, 
               but with a tinge, a vibe of suicide.
                                  I awoke with a start and a snort,
                            as if I had not been breathing, and
              found two red & black Monarchs fluttering,
         perhaps mating, on my face. Taking a
      moment to regain my bearings, her
features seemed etched into the
      scarred chambers of my soul, her
          presence was palpable. I witnessed her
                opening her eyes in my mind, and
                             they were violet-green. She cupped
                             her breasts in front of my lips,
brushing her nipples across my mouth
as gentle as dove’s wings

Who the hell was she--a portent,
                                     a herald.
                                     a warning,
                                     a messenger, or
                                     a succubus,
                                     a demon,
                                     an angel or
                                     spirit guide?

I got to my feet & shook off her wondrous hold on
me, grabbing her sweetly but firmly in my trembling
hands before flinging & releasing her out into the
cerulean-blue sky that framed the Sierras.  As I
headed down to my SS Impala awaiting me, I felt
stronger, lighter, enriched--even

Golden goddess poised
in a daydream, touching me;

my heart fortified.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


image from businessinsider.com


“Most people who appear heartless are just
protecting themselves from more pain.”
--Sonya Parker.

Homeless ain’t what it used to be.
     too many families now--he thought, 
              lying on a bench in a tiny urban park,
     staring up at lighted windows in many
apartments; his brown paper sack 
wrapped around a tall bottle of
Thunderbird beside him.

Alcohol had ravaged his body,
destroying the vigor of yesterday,
attacking his weakened heart and
several other organs.

He tried not to blame her, but there was no
disputing that she had shredded his heart
more than a decade before. She lived in that
corner apartment on the third floor in the old
Chestnut Arms right across the street. He lie
there, his breath a ragged, fetid, malodorous
rasp beneath the brittle bones in his chest, 
almost alive, but closer to being just a dried out
husk barely covering the rot within.

He was with Sadie now, who always 
found a way for them to get wine--in
a crowded dangerous homeless camp
under the 410 freeway. She knew where
he was this Valentine’s Eve--below Kate’s
                window, hoping to get a glimpse
                of the brave woman who had once
                loved him, booze & all. Their son
                had died at three, and so did their
marriage. He had crawled inside a bellicose
battalion of brown bottles, She divorced him
& moved on to a new life. She had three kids
now, had married a carpenter.

Christ, a carpenter, He always chuckled when
he thought about it. He used to be a car sales-
man when he still had a life. His old patter, con,
smile & personality kept him out of trouble for
several years--but one dark morning he realized
all that had abandoned him too. Joy became a
dream bitch, not real, like all those young women
he saw on the streets. He became a thief,
                                                        a thug,
                                                        a mugger &
                                                        a felon.
There was this man he had robbed for thirty bucks
several years ago, who had been seriously injured.
His street name became Mac the Knife. He tried not
to think about it. He knew he wouldn’t last another
year--which released him from worry.

Broken hearts, like can-
cer, have their own agenda;
never a good time.


 Glenn Buttkus

posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, February 13, 2017

Espiritu Santo

image from medjugorje.org.br

Espiritu Santo

“Without the spirit of God, we are nothing--
ships without wind--useless.”
--C.H. Spurgeon.

I was
raised in Seattle--
was gone
for a decade;
I found only

No one
had a ghost
of a chance
to buy
and I found
chasing ghosts--
friends & family
had died or

moved away.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q26

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Blackthorne--Scene Fifty-Eight

image from horseartists.blogpot.com


Cinemagenic Fifty-Eight


“What is called resignation is really confirmed
desperation.”--Henry David Thoreau

1(sound cue) blues guitar slide.
2(close-up) Bronson smiling--showing his teeth.
3(medium crane wide shot) above & behind the 
three horses in the corral. Buck is walking toward 
them. Bronson is dismounting from his palomino in 
the background. Johnny is moving now, falling in 
behind Buck.
4(reverse crane shot) above & behind the men.
Buck stopped at the pole gate, fiddling with the lariat.
5(sound cue) piano & banjo.
6(medium close-up) Buck, his face rife with stressed
7(close-up) the face of the stallion--Chatawa.
8(two-shot) Johnny catches up with Buck. They both 
stand for a moment with their arms over the fresh 
poles.The men, all walking their mounts close up 
behind them.
9(close-up) Johnny, over Buck’s shoulder:
A sad fucking day.
10(sound cue) Indian branch flute.
11(close-up) Buck, over Johnny’s shoulder:
Today, we choose life. There will be another day when
we will have to speak with our guns.
12(sound cue) Voice-over, Bronson: Come on, fellas. 
Let’s get this transaction over with.
13(two-shot) Buck & the Eagle exchange a look.
14(close-up) Johnny: Let me do this, my Buck. Keep 
your rope. Chatawa is still wearing the one I gave him.
15(close-up) Buck dropping the coiled lariat over a 
fence pole--the sun made it shine golden yellow.
16(sound cue) French horn & harmonica.
17(two-shot) angle on Johnny as he climbed over the 
make-shift pole gate, landing in the dust on the inside.
18(medium close-up)  Chatawa raised his gorgeous
19(medium wide shot) the stallion trotted half the 
distance to Johnny. The rails filled up with Bronson & 
his men.
20(three-shot) Bronson & two of his wranglers.
21(tighten to a two-shot) a cowpoke to Bronson:
Damn my soul--that is one beautiful hunk of
22(medium close-up) Bronson: A solid observation, 
young Chet. We’ve been chasing this phantom for
several months--and now, here he is.
23(medium wide-shot) Johnny bent down & plucked
up a fat handful of bunch grass & held it out in front
of him.
24(medium close-up) Johnny: Apologies, Chatawa,
our courtship was very brief, & there will be no love-
making. I will not be the one to ride you first. You 
have to leave with these men.
25(sound cue) saxophone & snare drum brushing.
26(overhead crane shot) Johnny begins to move 
toward the great spotted stallion,
27(reverse shot) behind the Eagle as he gets nearer
to the Appaloosa, The stud stood very still, keeping 
his eyes on the men at the rails. He raised one hoof 
several times.
28(sound cue) the two mares nickering.
29(two-shot) Johnny stopped right in front of him, 
offering up the sweet dewy prairie greens. Chatawa 
accepted the grass & munched it down. While gently 
petting his neck, Johnny bent down & swooped up 
the loose end of the rope.  
30(close-up) Buck’s face, his eyes moist.
31(overhead crane wide-shot) Johnny led the stallion
toward the gate.
32(sound cue) guitar strumming.
33(wise-shot) behind Johnny, seeing the wranglers
sliding out the fresh-cut poles of the gate.
34(medium close-up) Johnny, over Buck’s shoulder:
How do you like that, boss? He’s gentle as a mule,
after he tried to stomp the crap out of us yesterday.
35(medium wide shot) Johnny handed the rope to
the young wrangler.
36(sound cue) snare drum baps & coronet blast.
37(medium wide shot hold) Chatawa erupted into a
gallop, dragging the cowpoke off his feet. Men jumped

out of the way in five directions. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


image from thedailybeast.com


“Just smile & look pretty, baby.”--Paul Wesley.

I was shaken by the news--Pence cast the tie-breaking
VP vote, leaving a sour taste in my teeth--more proof
that the Trumpian authoritarian regime will call all the
shots, using every sort of dirty Kamikaze tactics 
straight-up, in our faces, despite our anger and other
stirred emotions.

My wife & I are teachers. We feel that Devos is nothing
more than hair of the dog, another arrogant ignorant
billionaire wanting to drive Education on the rocks. Less
than three weeks into Trumpville and my soul is already
hammered, my heart is in dangerous cardiac--twist.

To all those other-directed patriotic voters who have now
put Benito Baloney into power, I say you have certainly
named your poison. The vessel of Liberty s heroically 
fighting against this dark storm, with many more than
three sheets to the wind, valiantly trying not to have a
rendezvous on the rocks.

There can be no real
tonic for poor judgement, just

regrets and last call. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub