Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trainspotters & Kingsmen

image borrowed from robertdarksentry.deviantart.com

Trainspotters & Kingsmen

“I shall the effect of this good lesson
keeps a watchman to my heart.”
--William Shakespeare.

Watchman, walk your rounds,
until you hear the ram’s horn;
then clang the warning.

Watchman, watchman,
you have so many faces, so many names:
                patroller, & policeman.      You were a 1796
                periodical established & edited by
                                 Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
                                                          You still are a daily
           newspaper in Sydney, Australia--the title of
                                  several novels, a graphic adult comic book,
           a rock band & so damn much more--
                                   security systems that monitor our homes
           when we are absent or asleep &

I like to believe that the watching carries on beyond this dimension
to include the spirit guides, angels, & demons that companion our
folly, routines, & daily grind. We are both repulsed & pleased to find
armed guards in malls, schools, & movie theaters on watch for the
pariah mad dogs that are attracted to public places.

I fear that the watching runs even deeper though,
         that we are observed, wire-tapped & listened in on
                 around the clock by Big Brother, sitting in their secure
                           dark rooms that are humming with technology, 
                 spying on us from our computers, phones, 
         notebooks, light bulbs, heater vents, & microwave
ovens--never alone, even on the throne
behind closed doors.

Actual privacy is hard won, elusive, & illusionary,
barely achieved on a 20-mile hike,
since we had to register our plans
with forest & park rangers, & we
encounter strangers behind every other tree,
& those pesky drones buzz above, watching
us with powerful digital eyes, as the silent squads
of silver satellites soar above them, criss-crossing
the stratosphere, watching everyone & everything,
becoming absurd anti-watcher’s watchers,
           drug deals,
                        Japanese war games,
                  North Korea,
              ivory poachers,
          Iran, &
my back yard.

Without a doubt we need all the Watchmen, even though we 
resent & often rail against them, too soon forgetting that after
we moved beyond the controlling sphere of our parent’s purview,     
after the brief illusion of total freedom, we were forced to learn
& live by the Rules, the Codes of Conduct, the Moral Imperatives,
the ever present Controls that surround us, & when we violated
any of these, we experienced the unpleasant consequences of
our own actions. So--

We should respect those
Watchmen, who patrol para-
pets protecting us.

Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fear is my Co-Pilot

image borrowed from niul.org

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 thehistoryreader.com

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 tucker.blogspot.com


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 flickr.com

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 kiwikiwikiwi.com


“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