Friday, May 24, 2019

No Means No

image from

No Means No

“Those who give up their essential liberty to obtain
relative safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.”
--Benjamin Franklin.

Today Trump is our President.
Most say he has stolen our liberty.

Perhaps anyone can become President.
Beware if they put their hands on our liberty.

The Donald is completely bent.
He’s quite willing to hijack our liberty.

He’s unable to stop himself.
He covets the treasure of our liberty.

The Oval Office has a filthy dent.
He greedily would hijack our liberty.

To most of us it is evident.
We should stop him with our liberty.

He just doesn’t get the hint.
He’s too busy reaching for our liberty.

Poor immigrants and the indigent.
He devours their promised liberty.

President for Life, he feels omnipotent.
Smile as you deliver up your liberty.

Alas, truly, I see him as impotent.
No means no, asshole.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at dVerse Poets,Pub MTB

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Night Queen

artwork by Mary Frances

The Night Queen

“There are no heroes.. . in life, the monsters win.”
--George R.R. Martin.

I live out of a back pack.
I am one of the last of the rail riders.
I hop the boxcars
on slow corners and steep grades.
They call me Boxcar Ben.

I swear, there are more shanty towns
and tent villages today than there ever
was in the Depression.

On warm nights, I love to climb atop
the cars, spread my red Navaho blanket
and lie on my back watching
the star show, one of the last free
moving pictures.

In my travels, I am humbled and saddened
by the huge numbers of homeless folks
I encounter. Some can be dangerous,
but most of them are just down on their luck.
My heart aches for the shivering children
with the upside down grins & hungry eyes.

I’ve been a proud boxcar bandit for 30 years.
I’ve had to fight to defend myself.
I’ve done jail time, gained weight on prison slop.
I was pretty sure that I knew everything
about hobo-hopping--but in 2010, in late July,
I was rolling steel through Louisiana.
I stopped at a homeless camp for a hot meal.

Several people warned me about the next
stretch of track. They claimed the area was
haunted by a monster they called the
Night Queen of the Railway Wastelands.
Cajuns prattle on a lot about their home-grown
monsters, so I didn’t pay much attention.

The next night I was riding the Southwest
Union Flyer, and was slicing through endless
swamp. I could smell the wet moss, bat shit, 
skunk cabbage and gators. It was around
midnight when the train slowed and stopped;
what the hell; turns out a ghostly herd
of Angus cattle were camped out on the tracks.

I sat in the open doorway with my legs dangling,
riven with alacrity, watching for railroad bulls
with clubs and hand cuffs. It was a humid,
dripping night, and there was a full moon.

Suddenly I heard branches popping
and breaking, and the brush shook. The air was
laced with the stench of rotted meat. I was
pole-axed with fear. A seven foot something
stepped out of the shadows, and stood staring
at me.

It wore an alligator head for a hat, and its fierce
face was werewolf-white, with red coals for eyes,
with long yellow canine teeth. It held a staff in
each hand that had human skulls atop them. The
tall lean body was covered with dark fur--on its
chest were two large breasts--definitely a female.
It opened its ferocious mouth and roared like
a cave bear.

I bolted to the back of the car, and scrambled up
the inside ladder. I crawled out on top the car and
peered over the edge. The Night Queen was gone,
but the slaughterhouse perfume still hung heavy
in the hot air. I sure as hell never set foot in cursed
Louisiana again. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, May 20, 2019

Lords and Leeches

image from

Lords and Leeches

We have a very real responsibility to protest the
rich and powerful in the name of universal freedom.”
--Nelson Mandela.

I think about
India and North Korea,
the caste system,
and poverty--

and for a brief
I can stomach
the insufferable 1%,
and their clown prince;

my teeth clinch.

The sunrise was rich,
with hue and hope, promising
yet another new day.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted lover at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blackthorne--Episode 94

image from


Cinemagenic Ninety-Four

Three’s a Crowd

“Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but
understand it backward.”--Anonymous.

1(sound cue) piano and harmonica.
2(cut to overhead drone shot) the three of them, 
with the team shuffling and bobbing their heads, 
their golden necks arched, their white manes and 
tails catching the breeze.
3(three shot) Buck: Uh-huh, we could do that. Hell,
we can go into the big house and take the sheets
off the dining room table.
Johnny: Christ, boss, that would be dustier than
out here. We’re not set up yet for company.
4(medium close up) Buck, all smiles, removing his hat,
and wiping his brow, and the inside of the hat band
with a red bandana: Well, compadre, this lovely lass
has swallowed a lot of dust coming all the way out 
here. So let’s not be rude. Let’s take some time off,
find some shade, and get after those vittles.
5(sound cue) violins.
6( cut to a three-shot) Salina began to look around for
a nearby pool of shade. Buck was staring at Johnny,
waiting for him to respond. The Eagle raised his chin,
and wiped the sweat from his neck. Silence reigned
for a elongated moment as they inhabited the
7(sound cue) horses snorting, tack creaking, the 
springs complaining under the carriage seat as Salina
shifted her weight, free range chickens clucking, over
the sweet strings.
8(close up) Johnny: The truth is that I’ve got a lot of
chores to do around here, and my boss can be a real
asshole about slacking off. So why don’t you kids
leave me a couple pieces of chicken, and you two
skeedaddle off to the lake, and have yourselves a
proper picnic?
9( medium wide shot) Salina spurted out: I won’t
hear of it. I purposely packed this lunch for the three
of us, and I can’t see why all three of us don’t dash off 
to the lake for an hour. Will the ranch fall down if you
take a noon break?
Buck, looking slyly at the Eagle: Johnny, don’t
be silly. You don’t need to stay here. 
Johnny: No, I’ve made up my mind. You two
need to pound leather before you lose the beauty
of the day. Now, go--get out of here.
Salina laughed as Buck reached into the basket
after some fried chicken. Are you sure that you
want it this way?
Johnny nodded, smiling widely. Buck handed him
two hefty golden crusted pieces of chicken. Johnny
bit into one immediately, and said around the stringy
white meat: Can both of you swim?
Buck and Salina looked at each other.
Johnny: I’m going to be kind of busy around here, 
and I won’t have time to gallop up to the lake in
the event one of you falls in.
Buck winked at him, and climbed up on the seat
alongside Salina Wallace.
Johnny: Here, take the Winchester. You might could
run into some varmints along the way.
10(sound cue) guitar and banjo--joyfully.
Salina gave Buck the black dyed rawhide fancy reins,
and he swung the pair of palominos to the left, heading
east, past the barn, along a cowpath that hadn’t been
used for years. Cheewa chased after them. The Eagle
watched until they passed from sight behind a low mesa;
a midnight black carriage pulled by golden horses 
followed by an ebony dog--three shadow figures
shimmering in a world of mirage heat, distorted by the
distance, blending together as they dropped out of sight.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Twice Born

image from

Twice Born

“Geminis waltz around in life as they are 
perpetually transforming.”--Amita Ray.

There I am,
in the middle of June,
inhabiting the crux of Gemini.

As an actor, 
I paid a lot of attention to astrology;
as a teacher, 
I paid more attention to my students.
I’ve always had an abundance of ego,
but as a husband,
I pay more attention to my wife.

I am, as written and defined,
a dual personality,
an earthy intellectual.
My two faces
of Cantor and Pollux,
are back to back, so
they never meet each other.

Of course, 
no one fits perfectly
within the textbook references
as to who they really are.

Geminis are multi-faceted--check,
intelligent--damn rights,
outgoing--a Ham, type A, sure,
impulsive--blush, flinch,
unreliable--absolute baloney,
nosy--prefer inquisitive.

Gemini’s lucky color is yellow--
I prefer red;
they are ruled by Mercury--
but I prefer Mars;
lucky stone is emerald--
but I prefer rubies.

I share my sun sign with
Bob Dylan, Morgan Freeman,
Laurence Olivier, John Wayne,
Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp,  & JFK.

If you are charmed by me, enjoy.
If I piss you off--keep your distance.
If I love you, be enveloped.
If I hate you, gird your loins.

I am what and who I am;
twice over.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Blackthorne--Episode 93

image from


Cinemagenic Ninety-Three


“Life is a picnic on a precipice.”--W.H. Auden.

1(sound cue) sweet piano and violins
2(cut to medium close up) Buck standing at the
bottom of the stairs, his arms folded.
3(sound cue) clank of metal.
4(reverse shot) Buck turning around, his stare
back up the stairs.
5(cut to the door of parent’s bedroom) a strong
breeze from an open upstairs window had
rattled the padlocks on the door; three rusty locks,
hung straight, one above the other.
6(roving crane shots) wandering about the house,
showing peeling paint, framed photographs and
Western prairie paintings, thick red velvet curtains,
fancy kerosene lamps, as we hear...
7(sound cue/Voice Over) Buck: Tomorrow I will
break those locks off, and take a look at my 
parent’s room. My father had taken all of his things
out of the room before he padlocked it. I want to 
see some of my mother’s things. It’s going to be
like opening a crypt, but I might find a bauble or
old photograph that will link yesterday to today.
It’s past time for me to make this house a home
again--not just lumber, nails, glass and tar. I need 
to stop looking at the lights in other people’s 
8(cut to exterior) We see Buck stepping out on the 
wide porch. Johnny Eagle was straddling the first
corral’s gate, his Winchester across his lap, staring
off to the North.
9(tracking shot) as Buck walks quickly over to the
10(sound cue) snare drum and guitar.
11(medium wide shot) Buck: What is it?
The Eagle pointed to a cloud of dust rising above
the horizon to the north of the house.
Someone’s coming; more than one horse.
Johnny was wearing a shell belt; something he 
seldom did.
12( two-shot) Buck: Kind of jumpy, aren’t
Johnny: When does the shit fly?
Buck: I’m going to go see Bronson tomorrow.
Johnny: And you figure he’s going to be real
pleased to see you?
Buck: Couldn’t tell you--still I’m going to try to
settle some things with him.
Johnny: I’ll give my rabbit’s foot some tugs for
you; it might help.
Buck: I didn’t know you were Irish.
Johnny: I might be.
13( cut to overhead drone shot) a wagon came up
over the rise, moving fast. It slowed on the flats
below the big boulder, and started down the drive
toward the house.
14(sound cue) fiddle,and banjo.
Voice Over: Johnny: It’s Salina Wallace.
15(medium wide shot) Johnny dismounted from the
gate, on the inside of the corral. He propped his
rifle against the fence. Buck strolled out into the 
yard. Salina rolled up in a black leather carriage,
harnessed to a pair of palominos. 
Salina: Afternoon, Mr. Buck. Hi, Johnny!, her smile
broad, her voice joyous. The Eagle waved a greeting,
and began unsaddling a horse he was working with.
Buck: I notice you’re still Mistering me.
Salina: OK, Rod--I have a question for you.
Buck: Shoot.
Salina: Are you hungry?
Buck: Hell, I could eat. What’s in the basket?
Salina: Fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits and
blackberry pie...are you interested?
Buck: Damn tootin’, lady! We live on bacon and 
beans around here. You hear that, Johnny? This
fair maiden has brought us a feast!
16(sound cue) harmonica and fiddle.
Johnny put the work saddle over a rail sawhorse,
and tramped up to the fence. Salina sat with her
gloved hands in her lap. She wore a pleated riding
skirt, high riding boots, a Spanish peasant blouse,
and a flat green hat with tassels on it.
Johnny: Kind of hot and dusty for a picnic, ain’t it?
Salina: I figured we might go inside to enjoy the
vittles. How would that be?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub--OLN

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Getting Low

image from

Getting Low

“Drop the last two years into the silent limbo of
the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect.”
--Brooks Atkinson.

Like with the Twist
during the late 50’s,
Chubby Checker
did an album
of limbo dances.

Living during that decade,
when Elvis was King,
trying to be Brando,
of chrome-laden Detroit barges, 
leather jackets,
jeans with the cuffs rolled up,
and greasy locks,
things were not as halcyon
as most remember;

I mean,
we had Jim Crow,
George Wallace,
and Liberace.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub--Poetics