Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Enters Stage East

image from flickr.com

Summer Enters Stage East

“The summer sun was not meant for boys like us--
we belonged to the rain.”--Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Wanderer moon,
pale, ghostly wisps, turned slightly sideways,
smiling a faintly ironical smile,
yet partially a sneer,
as the edge of your bottom
lip curls up like a cur,
at this brilliant, dew-moistened summer morning,
as the tangerine forehead of the new sun
bursts scorching, like boiling Pomeranian spill,
thrusting itself confidently over the cold shoulders
of the foothills, bathing my back yard in gossamer
golden fleece,
then a detached, sleepily indifferent smile,
because the moon shift is over
and your companion night has fled,
even though you lingered to watch
the dawning;
a wanderer’s smile,
as you pokey-Joe amble, shuffle and tease
with your tiny fading farewell.
If I should buy a shirt your color,
even as Saul’s rising was so searing, it made
the many colored roses in our garden an electric hue,
and the morning’s mandate was very clear--
it would be a Hawaiian shirt day--red, white, & black petals;
and put on a necktie of sky blue--
just thank the retirement gods that as I glance at my tie rack,
it conjures mirth, smiling as I choose none of them for attire.
where would they carry me?
The day promised to be so achingly bright & clear, I knew
I needed to snatch up my camera & head down the Orting
highway to that pasture where the 1935 Ford pick up
sat rusting--for while the light was right, I needed to snap
images of the patina blemishes & broken headlights.

Glenn Buttkus

Inspiration poem, Summer Song by William Carlos Williams

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub "Poetics"

         image by glenn buttkus

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Me and My Iambic

image from etsy.com

Me and My Iambic

“I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.”
--Howard Nemeron.

Some of us, at least me
     & the guy in the mirror,
           feel kind of intimidated because
                    creating iambs does not stand tall
                          on the checklist of forms that we might
                                     use daily; even though a lot of those
                           classical forms are a perfect
                     stretch for poetic muscles. So
             I tend to gravitate toward blessed
        blank verse, letting the meter
bounce around between
being di/tri/tetra/penta & hex,
an astonishing collage of words
squirming to fit the mold.

                          I do much wonder why I balk
                          at counting feet & syllables, like
                          I’m examining a centipede, or
                          counting my steps while pacing.
                                              I mean, I have no viable excuse
                                              for my measurable discomfort;
                                              other than complacency or
                                               lethargy, I suppose--and in the
                            final analysis, actually, I do look
                     forward to the expansion of my
                 poetic education--so rise or fall,
           sprint or stumble, win or fail,
I dive head first into each
challenge with equal parts
enthusiasm & dread, trying
to see it as yet another grand
poetic adventure, and even if
I drop out, or off, short of the
destination, I have learned to
love the journey.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beau Coup Dinky Dau

image from blog.cwam.org

Beau Coup Dinky Dau

“Just don’t say dinky dau if you’ve never felt it, if you never
were in the heat or fear of battle.”--John Shearin.

For too many thousands of us,
      through conscription, stupidity, or misinformation,
             our war was in Viet Nam, where Charlie didn’t surf
                   & they wasn’t any fried chicken in the Delta, swarms
                   of us from the inner city, a few fresh & dumb right off
              the farm, every color, every temperament, the 
        original rainbow coalition combat squads, discovering
that although civil rights was still a cherry boy
in Biloxi & the Bronx, there was
               zip racism out there banded together in squads
                        trudging through the baleful boonies, where we
                               pulled fucking patrol after patrol, learning about
                                       the VC booby traps the hard way, finding our
                                             lost buddies dismembered, & their heads on
                                       a stake, their genitals sewed up into their
                                sad dead mouths, and shit, we got mad,
                           real fucking A dinky--dau crazy, and we
                       found ourselves burning villages, then we
                       slaughtered livestock, burned rice fields &
                       raped girls younger than our sisters, doing
hard drugs for the first time,
drinking beer barely cooled
in vats of jet fuel; we all found ourselves becoming brothers
                       in arms, in madness, & at liberty; reconstituting
                       our psyches, reshaping our morality, growing
                       dark & mean in places we no longer could feel;

only to ride the Freedom Birds back home,
to be greeted by screaming hippies & radicals
who yelled, “Baby-killers, murderers, stupid
brained washed pawns of the military,” and
god damn it, though we kicked their asses,
angry they got to stay here & become oh so
liberal, while we finished our education beneath
jungle canopies, even as we wiped their spittle 
off our old military shirts, most of us knew that
too much of what they yowled was true--and
hordes of us found out how battle fatigue became
PTSD, & we watched some of our buddies lose
their dignity, their jobs, their families, & their minds,
hiding from fireworks celebration, hiding from guilt
& shame & anger & murderous fits of rage;

But hey, boy howdy, most of us soldiered-up, returned to school,
wrestled our own demons, somehow rebuilt our lives--until 9/11,
with the onset of the New Crusades, the rise of radical Islamic
terrorists perpetrating medieval conflicts in the holy land, where
Jesus once wept, watching those wars eclipse & overtake the
sad decade of our involvement in Viet Nam--and now, those of
us who can, who are still here, reach out to the tens of thousands
of broken men & women, more wounded fodder, damaged goods,
spit out & abandoned by the fat cat politicians who control the VA,
& continue to put the cream of our youth in harm’s way. But we
are determined to hold them, hug them, console & consult them,
taking ownership of some of their pain, often amazed how doing
that has peeled the scabs off our own ancient wounds.

Duty calls, and young
men answer, but too often it
will cost their sweet lives.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted Over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tough Love

image from thefemalecelebrity.info

Tough Love

“Being a dark angel, who accepts being your spirit guide,
is no easy job--but then neither was being on the front
lines during the war in heaven.”--Shannon L. Alder.

do we
stare into the
innocent faces of
our grandchildren, without
a spill-over of aching
regret as we realize 
we now inhabit an
age where
terrorists spill innocent blood
night clubs,
& theaters.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Blackthorne: Review VI

image from dollarstore.com


Cinemagenics 36-40

Review, Part VI

“Sometimes it is hard to realize how much work, over years, was
put into this project, this saga--but when we review, it becomes

Thirty-Six: Courtship--Johnny Eagle was a red-brown statue in the
yellow-rouge sawdust of the small breaking corral. The ebony mare
reared up on its hind legs. “Hell, yes, she likes me.” The fat foreman
said, “Damn it, breed, let’s get to breaking this bitch. You’re paid by
the horse, not by the hour.” The Eagle said, “Hang on to your fancy
pants, boss, Johnny knows best.”  The cowboys watching laughed.
The Indian began swinging a rope over his head. The mare bolted
& ran right into the loop. She struggled a bit, then calmed down, as
she was short-staked to the breaking post. One cowhand said, “Watch
her, John. She’s small but snakebite-mean. She stomped the shit out
of Bob Sears last week.” Johnny struggle with his end of the rope. 
Watch me while I tie a red ribbon to her tail.” The Eagle’s face was
deeply lined, with silver streaks in his long hair, but he had the strong
muscled body of a younger man; chiseled & hairless, with skin smooth
as red soap stone. He wore a knife on each hip, Bowie on the left, & a
throwing knife on his right. “Easy, girl, your wild days are almost over.”
He lit a cigar stub, unbuckled his wide belt & hung the knives over a
sawhorse, picking up a latigo breaking bridle. “Hey, Conchitta, I am
the Eagle, & we need to get to know each other. Soon I will ride you.”
He grasped the taunt rope, & pulled himself, hand over hand, closer
to the mare. “Easy, little one, that’s it, slow & calm--Johnny will not
hurt you.” The watchers grew silent as the Indian stood a mere arm’s
length from the soot mustang.

Thirty-Seven: Foreplay--He reached out slowly as the black mare flinched.
He touched & petted her tight neck muscles. “What a beautiful black lady
you are, sleek, small but powerful.”  He inched the bridle over her head.
Good girl, sweet horse, that’s it. Johnny loves you--and you like him, the
smell of him; you know you do,” She stood still as he touched her neck
again. She opened her mouth to nip flesh & closed it on cold steel. She
pranced & squirmed. He pulled her head down gently. “I will not hurt 
you, little one, and when I’m on your back, I will be your lover man.”  He 
buckled the throat latch, tossed one rein over her neck, & walked away.
He stood with his hands on his hips, joking with the me on the rails.
One said, “Hey, I got four bits says she’ll toss your red ass in the dirt.”
Johnny smiled & said, “I don’t want to take your money, kid--but do
you wanna warm her up for me?  He turned back toward his dancing 
partner, carrying a worn Mexican blanket. “Do you see this blanket, 
horse? It smells like your brothers & sisters--and what a nice blanket
it is, pretty yet harmless. Would it not look lovely on your back? Sure, 
sure it would.”He placed the blanket on her back in one deft movement.
That’s it, you’ll get used to it. The saddle is next, then me. What fun. We 
will leap for joy, eh?”

Thirty-Eight: Bonding--Impatient, the fat foreman said, “Shit, son, why
not let three or four of us hold this stupid hammerhead, then use a spade
bit like everybody else does--strap on some spurs, toss your gear on this
devil cunt & get to breaking her?”  Johnny stared at the mound of 
flesh on the fence, like three hundred pounds of bacon fat draped over the
rails. “Because, I like horses, Graff. None of them that I break ever go 
wild again, & I allow them to keep their spirit, dignity & 
courage.” Graff spat a thick wad of brown tobacco juice near Johnny’s
feet, who said, “You know, you’re lucky you got me today. I wanted to go 
fishing; but hey,  I’m out of whiskey, & I need a woman. That takes 
dinero.” He picked up a creaky thin saddle & moved toward the
quivering mare. “Look at this, Conchitta. I know you don’t like saddles, 
or riders either--but don’t be silly. You are a horse. I am a man. I will ride 
you.” She shuffled nervously. He put the saddle under her nose. “Come on, 
it smells alright, it’s just an old saddle. Now could that hurt you? Hell no. 
See, what a silly horse you’ve been.” He placed the busting saddle on her
back, & quickly cinched it up. “Now, pretty lady--you’re all set, huh? 
You got everything except for a rider. Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t I 
climb aboard & we can dance around a little bit?”  
He got a good grip on the reins & saddle horn, stuck his left foot in
the stirrup, & smoothly stepped up into a standing position. The saddle
creaked & the mare snorted as he passed his right leg over her back
& rammed his boot into the right stirrup. Immediately, Johnny felt the
tension gathering between his legs. “Well, horse--it’s a nice day, isn’t it?”

Thirty-Nine: Fury-- Someone threw a rock, & it hit the horse on its 
haunch. She exploded under him, bucking violently, but the Eagle
stayed on her. She became crazed; suddenly her hooves went out from
under her, and she toppled over onto her left side. Johnny, miraculously,
got his legs clear & was tumbling away from her as she screamed
with rage, kicking air, bucking, snorting, & colliding with corral poles,
dumping several cowpokes over backward. Johnny fumed, “Who threw
that god damn rock?” A tall unshaven wrangler next to Graff asked, “Why, 
hell, what rock do you mean, breed?” The Eagle said, “What the fuck did 
you just say?” “What damn rock are you...”  Johnny’s fist collided with
the poke’s chin, & he was knocked off the fence, falling onto some
of the men. Like a puma, Johnny scrambled up & over the fence,
nearly dislodging the fat man. The puncher struggled to get up onto his
knees. The Eagle landed full on his chest, nearly bursting his lungs. The
Indian bounced to his feet. The ruffian groaned as he gasped for air. He
pushed himself painfully up onto one arm, but Johnny kicked the arm
down, saying, “Miserable borracho coward!” He kicked him again, in the
ribs, the throat, the groin, & the small of his back--splitting muscle
& breaking bones. Johnny lifted his bloody head, & pulled
back his clenched fist. “I wouldn’t do that, Johnny.” The Indian whirled
around to face the barrel of the sheriff’s pump shotgun. Joe Hop said,
“You don’t kill a man for throwing a damn rock.”

Forty--Impasse-- Johnny snapped, “OK, tin star, so not today--but on 
some other day, I think this one needs killing.” The Sheriff said, “Yeah, 
maybe. But not here, not today.”  Johnny pointed at angry finger toward
the flush-faced foreman. “Graff owes me money.” Graff sputtered, “Like 
hell, that horse ain’t broke yet--she’s still full of the devil. You lazy red-
butt sombitch, if you climb back over this fence & finish the job, then 
I’ll pay you. Otherwise you don’t get shit.” Johnny calmly said, “We all 
know you have no honor, but hey, I think that you will pay me, & I 
will go to Pedro’s & enjoy some whiskey.” Graff croaked, “You get 
nothing, Injun. I won’t pay you a damn dime.”
Johnny, “If you don’t, I will slice off your nickel cock & feed it to the 
stray dogs.”  Graff turned to the Sheriff, “Do you hear this half-breed 
bullshit? This grease ball has threatened me right in front of you!” The
Sheriff stared at him, finally responding with, “Then pay him only half of 
what you owe him & this incident is quits.” During an awkward
silence, Graff began sweating noticeably. He reached into the large pocket
on his vest & pulled out three silver dollars, & tossed them
into the dust. Johnny just stared at the foreman. “Well, pick up your 
fucking money, breed.” The Eagle stood tall & held out his right hand,
palm up. Hop said, “What are you, Graff, ten years old? Pick that silver 
up give it to Johnny, or I’m going to run your ass in.” Graff spat,
Arrest me for what?” The Sheriff said, “For making a jackass out of 
yourself, & for pissing me off.” After a moment, Graff said,
Mr. Bronson ain’t gonna like this.”  A bystander said, “Fuck me. Christ, 
what a dumb assed thing to get  upset over.” He was a big man in a
buckskin shirt & a flat black hat.  He bent over & swooped up
the silver.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

President for Life

image borrowed from captainjamesdavis.net

President for Life

They came loudly with the dawn,
their boots thumping in quick time.
It seems our liberties are gone,
our freedom is as thin as a dime.

They call him the American Mussolini.

Hey, we let him bully his way
into the Presidency, and now woe is us,
for we certainly have to pay
for stupidity while sitting in the back of the bus.

The 1% giggle with capitalist glee.
He uses the Army to enforce his will
upon the people--you and me;
our rights disappeared, & He will kill

anyone who opposes his rule.
He did actually build his Southern Wall,
and uses it as a cruel tool
to keep us all “on the ball”.

They call him the American Mussolini.

The Border Patrol is now much bigger
than the Navy, & the abortion is 50 feet tall,
guarded by zealots who pull the trigger
on the foolish few who test that wall.

They call him the American Mussolini

He insists that all the women of America must
dye their hair blond & dress like sluts.
Women’s rights have turned to dust
because it seems there is no one with the guts

to stand up against the power of the Trump;
the power we gave him on a golden platter
so that he could sit in the oval office like a lump
barking out his vile fascist chatter.

They call him the American Mussolini.

They say he will soon create a executive bill
that will make him President for Life!
But there are those who’ve had their fill,
who now dance to the drum & the fife.

Yes, folks, there will be another American Revolution,
and He will die bloody just like Benito did.
We will raise such a glorious commotion,
angels will cheer as we righteously get rid

of the only dictator America ever had,
and rebuild our democracy as needed--
and if He resists--it’ll just be too bad,
the need for freedom is already seeded.

They call him the American Mussolini.

Yes, oh yes, the Eagle, like the Phoenix, will rise
out of the scurrilous ashes of greed,
because America will brook no more lies--
and when He’s gone, we have to heed

the mistakes we made, the perilous blunder
rotten with demagoguery and deceit,
to nevermore have to listen to the thunder
of jack-booted marching secret service feet.

Yes, they called him the American Mussolini
before they dragged his body through the streets
behind his bulletproof limo: free at last, free at last.

Glenn Buttkus

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Shadows

image by glenn buttkus

My Shadows

I have seen George Foreman shadow-boxing, and the
shadow won.”--Muhammad Ali.

The day dawns around 5:30 am here in summer. By 7:30 am, when 
the sun breaks over the eastern foothills, my back yard is ready for 
me. It is jammed with ten kinds of shade, deep & dark, with good
clear edges--marvelous squads of shadows stretching across the
deck from the railings, posts, & furniture, across the dewy yard in
sinuous knots & patterns, shimmering under the huge hundred year
old maple tree in the neighbor’s yard, & my weeping willow & tulip
tree. The various shadows duel & mix it up, providing me with a
new show daily as I stroll gleefully about recording the drama with
my minimalist’s eye, & the growling click of the lens on my camera.

Shadows call me out
to play, as the sun creates
labyrinths without light.

Glenn Buttkus