Thursday, April 24, 2014

Breaking News



image borrowed from bing


Breaking News

“Good news is rare these days, & every glittering ounce of it
needs to be cherished, hoarded, & fondled like a priceless
diamond.”--Hunter S. Thompson

Lovely Kate Upton, model & actress, knows
after doing a Sports Illustrated sexy pose,
that running in slow motion in the surf
in a white bikini gives men a visual kerf,
while comparing her to Bo Derek,
binding them together in a carrick;
both of them obviously a ten,
& that’s not just for the men. 

I love it that our dear Pope Francis
is taking some personal chances
by cold-calling Catholics world-wide;
sweet condolences if someone died,
canceling a magazine subscription,
causing traditional cardinals a conniption--
all because old Frank is a true mensch,
& he must his conscience fully quench. 

Kate Middleton was recently seen
doing something low & mean,
wiping off her son’s royal drool
on her dress while at the zoo;
damn, people need to get a grip,
cuz being a real Mom is so hip. 

I do have to admire George Clooney though
at dinner in Vegas with Steve Wynn,
creating quite the heated contentious din,
despite all the casino owner’s dough,
George stood up & called him an asshole,
for slandering his pal Barack Obama,
like telling him to go screw a llama
in front of nine shocked friends;
so later he may have fences to mend. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poet MTB

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

John Ford Slept Here
























       
image borrowed from bing


John Ford Slept Here

“The more I see of Indians, the more convinced I am they all
have to be killed, or maintained as a species of paupers.”
---General William T. Sherman.

There is something about the Southwest
that draws me to it repeatedly--maybe
because of the hundreds of Westerns
shot in the Mohab area of Utah by 
Howard Hawks & others, out in the Arches,

or that John Ford country just off AZ 163,
running north off 160--reminding me of the summer
we stayed in an overpriced cigarette- smoke stinking
room in a rundown motel in Kayenta, where
I ate my first fry bread taco;

remembering how upset I was when I found out
the famous parts of Monument Valley could not
be seen from the highway--they were all on
the Navajo reservation, & you have to pay a fee
to drive onto it, & then pay another fee to huddle
in a dusty flatbed sight-seer truck that could
negotiate the blow-sand dunes & potholes
purposefully left in/on the roads that snaked
out among the monuments.

I mean no one can easily describe the heart-stopping
thrill as one stands for the first time along
the southern lip of the Grand Canyon, peering
into the pleistocene reddish-blue vastness
of a gash carved by the Colorado river, & later
seeking out the northern edge of the canyon
with its lesser view;

I do so enjoy all those stops at ancient ruins
from Flagstaff to Page, but something unique
& fun is to roll northeast on AZ160 toward
the 4 Corners Monument, where the Ute Mountain
reservation bumps feathers with the vast AZ/NM
Navajo nation, where the geographic physical
corners of AZ, NM, UT, & CO all meet cordially,

no actual approach from UT highways, but yes,
160 NE out of AZ,
NM64 coming NW out of Shiprock,
or CO40 dropping down SW out of Cortez,
near to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde
or the several ruins at the Canyons of the Ancients;

a funky ostentatious tourist monument erected
right at the cross bars of the four state lines,
where I stood spread-legged in the quadrangle
posing for the obligatory photo, with the merciless
sun beating down at 118 degrees, where

four ragged rows of Native American booths 
were sitting under unpainted planks or canvas
selling fabulous Indian silver & turquoise jewelry
(some made in Mexico we found out later),
trinkets, moccasins, blankets, t-shirts made in China,
pottery, sculpture, baskets, & art, a warm mix
of Ute & Navajo cultures, with fry bread stands
every fifty feet. 

The place seemed like a fulcrum, a vertex,
a nesting of heart & drum beats, a marriage
of mingling & tingling, a reservoir of rejuvenation,
where one readied them selves to seek out
even more red rock canyons, pinioned-choked
arroyos, pueblos, vast vistas, sage-scented
rest stops--

making your own road movie,
both in your mind & digitally,
indefatigable, never tiring of the next
viewing, reconnecting with a rawness,
a vigor that fuels your imagination,
salves your incessant wanderlust,

until the next trip,
ever returning,
ever yearning,
ever curious. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ever the Dreamer





Ever the Dreamer

“I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions
to be realized, than a lord among those without dreams.”
--Kahlil Gibran.

Still that fresh-faced boy
on that windblown bluff
             above Puget Sound,
                        under a peeling madrona,
                                   staring out at Blake Island,
                                                                  dreaming
                                                  of becoming
                                             a writer,
                                      an actor,
                             a teacher;
a recipient of some kind of wonderful windfall,
                                                         gathering
                                                         enough wealth
                                                         to be able to live
on one of the grand islands in the Sound--
to build my dream-house
that had a deck with white railings
                                          and red bannisters,     
                                          part pirate ship,
                                          laden with colorful rigging
and two brass telescopes to star-watch with,
                                          redwood whiskey barrels
                                          made into raised gardens;
while rising out of the middle of the magical roof there
                                          would be a Stephen King
ten story tall writer’s tower, protruding phallic like
                                          a poet’s lighthouse
                                          where the muses could mass
                                          high above the pine & maple tops,
where I could witness sunrises over the Cascades          
                       & sunsets over the rugged Olympics.



                       A simple enough plan, just
                       become a successful rich Actor,
                       gaining a modicum of notoriety;
then happen to mention to my posse of agents,
Hey, did you know I have written a couple of novels,
& thousands of poems, & the words cry out to be shared ?
                      Perhaps we could publish some of this stuff,
                      make a pile of cash
                      and put our kids through college. 

Oh yes, my dreams were vivid,
like neon roadmaps,
& yet, as is too often the case,
like losing your virginity,
like turning 21, 30, 40, 50, 60,
the destination once arrived at,
the goals achieved (sort of),
never
     seems
         as grand
              as imagined
                    or anticipated,
                             because youth
                                  is blind to wisdom,
                                           deaf to sage advice.

                                   I became the Actor, 
                                            but a whirling decade
                                                  of Thespianism never led
                                                           to a plateau of success,
rather it just revealed the grit below the glitz,
the negative energy of daily rejection, like
drinking alcohol when dying of thirst,
it’s certainly wet, but it never slacks the need,
or nourishes the soul.



                                         So one onerous smog-ridden beaten-down
                                         day in the ghetto of Hollywood, I decided to
                                         embrace a hiatus, seek gainful employment;
                  & I’ll be damned if it didn’t come to me
                  easily, like colliding with a stranger on the
                  bus, staring at their face, & understanding
that you recognize them, knew them
from another life,
from another dream.
                  
                  It was time for MacDuff to fade,
                  for Benedick to become mute,
                  for Sancho Panza to let Quixote slip away,
                  for Adolphus Cusins to divorce Major Barbara,
                  for the cowpoke drifter to stable his silver spurs,
                  for the sailor to give away his fuck pitchers,
                  for the soldier to unload his weapons,
                  for the Commedia masks to be put away gently;

time for the teacher to make a difference
in the darkness, for the shadow poet to
continue to be a passionate scribe, for
the novelist to learn technical writing,
as the make-up, tights, & ruffled shirts
were put into the back of the wardrobe;

           as several dense decades gathered
           at my feet like a windblown Sunday
           newspaper, with the funnies & editorials
wrapping warmly around my thighs--
becoming emotional at my retirement
party as my former students & fellow 
employees saluted & roasted me,
filling me with a genuine sense
of fulfillment. 

As I launched my next ten year plan,
a wondrous wisp of a thing happened--
my dreams were rekindled, & every day
it seemed dreams became reality,
coming to ragged & beauteous fruition,
but energized, reborn, rejuvenated replacements
lined up
         like dream warriors
                           within me--
                                     in a never-ending
                                               spiral, twisting themselves
                                                         into a helix formation,


all with a child’s face,
wide-eyed,
pink-cheeked,
tousle-haired,
filled
with that old
sense of 
wonder. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Black Pearls



image by phyllis galembo


Black Pearls

“Tahiti is insular, full of peace & joy, but fully encompassed
by the horrors of life beyond its beaches. Push not off from
that isle, for thou canst never return.”--Herman Melville.


There is a wide wonderful archipelago
of 118 islands in the South Pacific--
referred to as French Polynesia.

Tahiti
is the largest island,
populated by Polynesians before Christ,
called it Otaherte.

In 1606 the Spanish called it Sagitaria.
In 1767 the English named it King George Island.
In 1772 the French called it New Cythera.
By the 1800’s it became known as Tahiti.

In 1788 the island was visited by the HMS Bounty.
In the 1820’s the English converted the natives
to Protestantism, introducing alcohol, firearms,
prostitution, venereal disease, & illness to them,
decimating the population, killing 60% of it. 

The French moved in with their Catholic missionaries
in tow, & for a bloody decade the new Catholics waged war
against the Protestants.

The French won, of course, proclaiming Tahiti
as an official colony of France. 
Gauguin resided there in the 1890’s. 

In 2007, I visited Tahiti for my firm,
on a quest to buy up some black pearls,
indigenous only to the Tuomota Islands
in French Polynesia.

I flew into the Capitol at Papeete,
& stayed in a hotel there, having to deal
with Chinese pearl dealers, finding out
that the Chinese were called
the “Jews of Tahiti”, being the
majority merchant class. 

French was the primary language there,
but plenty of English was spoken too. 
I loved hearing smatterings of the old Tahitian
language, the Reo Maohi, in the cafes,
bistros, & marketplaces.

They say that the island of Hawaii
in just 10 days gets more tourists
than Tahiti in a year, & that even
an average Las Vegas hotel has more rooms
available than in all 118 islands.

My last day there, my purchases concluded,
I wandered into the central park, & was
confronted with Gaston Temara, who stood
on a steamer trunk & gave political speeches.

He wore fake chains on his wrists,
& a ceremonial bag-mask on his face;
fierce & fascinating, he had led 
an unsuccessful bid for independence
the year before, but

his hardy black band of freedom fighters
was quickly put down by French troops
sent by President Jacques Chirac,
who claimed, after freeing the dissidents, 
that France did not believe that the majority
of Tahitians wanted independence.

Flying home to California, my company satchels
crammed with precious black pearl jewelry,
I could not get Temara out of my head.

Would something akin to liberty find a way
to flourish one day in Tahiti?
Something deeply American in me
truly hoped so. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stairwell Stanzas



image borrowed from bing


Stairwell Stanzas

“Breed not a savage dog, nor permit
a loose stairway.”--Talmud quote. 


She stared at
                 the
              street
                       but never
                                saw
                               what
                                      was there. 
                                              When a sprinkler
                                                                   bec
                                                                 omes
                                                                        abstract
                                                                                 art
                                                                                 all
                                                                                    the robins
                                                                                           begin
                                                                                                 to
                                                                                        become
                                                                                        art
                                                                                        critics.
 The seventeen 
               cables
                     got
                         busy perfecting
                                                a
                                            new
                                                  knot of metal
                                                              fellow
                                                                 ship.
                                                                      Rusted Fords
                                                                                     make
                                                                                         the
                                                                                             best homes
                                                                                                           for
                                                                                                          lots
                                                                                                   of angry
                                                                                                   hungry
                                                                                                   spiders.
                                                                                       Ah hell,
                                                                                 swing
                                                                               your bale
                                                                         up, Bob;
                                                                     there’s
                                                                  plenty of
                                                              space.
    Then we all went out & gobbled pizza,
                                                              the end.



Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB

Today, Gay wants us to develop our own form of poetry; I call this Stairway 
Verse. It is superb descendant dissonance. 

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keepsakes



image borrowed from bing


Keepsakes

“Poetry is a pack sack of invisible keepsakes.”
--Carl Sandburg.

Like a dog burying a hambone in the garden,
& then forgetting about it, as a species
we seem to all hoard, save, put aside
every sort of thing--somehow significant
for a moment, for a month--mementos,
souvenirs, impractical gifts, belly button lint,
string, shells, tin foil balls, crystals, driftwood.

Hanging on to the edge of a protruded brick
of our living room fireplace, on the left liberal
side, is my grandfather’s cane, made from
a shellacked bull’s penis, 3 feet in length;
opposite it on the right conservative side
hangs a plain wooden cane that my father-in-law
left behind during a visit fifteen years ago;
both passed on now, both remembered daily
by their dueling canes.

There is a hexagon candy jar
    full of small colored rocks
         that we kept bringing home
                after beach combing & hikes;
part
of a plan I once had
of polishing all
                   of them, and then
displaying them in a beautiful
hand-made wooden bowl
I would get somewhere--
                   but the jar is full,
sitting on a low shelf
in the basement,
alongside
              a clear plastic bag
                                     of perfect sand dollars
that nobody ever sees but me.

The crown jewel of nostalgia
is a small leather suitcase
that my grandfather gave me. 
It had once held his wonderful oil paints
& the brilliant smears of color all over it
make it look Pollock-dripped
or Matisse-dotted.

Inside it now are hundreds of letters.

For a busy decade during my twenties;
while in the Navy,
returning to college twice,
starting my career as an Actor,
then abandoning it for one as a teacher,
he and I
kept up a continuous stream of correspondence.

I kept all of his letters;
he was a wonderful writer,
having the knack
            of seeming just conversational.
Just before
                    he died,
                                  he told me
that he had kept all my letters too,
& that it might be a fun project
to combine them & correlate them.

After he passed away
leaving
a void none of us has ever recovered from,
I organized them,
his letter,
my response--
my letter,
his response;
the perfect memory box.

Years ago,
when I first started blogging,
I thought they were worth sharing,
so I typed up
       a couple of dozen
                of them, until
one day when the absurdity nymphs
stopped by & reminded me
that the world at large didn’t really care
about them as I did,
and besides,
it wasn’t any of their damn business, so

I closed the lid
on the treasured painter’s box,
folding the letters twenty score,
placing it on a high shelf
in the busy furnace room
          at head-height, so that
                      every time I pass by it
                               picking up toilet tissue,
paper towels, 
          feminine products, 
                         or Kleenix, 
we can exchange pleasantries
& knowing glances.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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