Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene Thirty-Nine

image from


Cinemagenic Thirty-Nine


“The vitality of a new movement in Art must be gauged
by the fury it arouses.”--Logan Pearsell Smith.

1(traveling arc shot) a jagged rock coming from the crowd that
someone threw violently.
2(close-up) the rock striking the ebon mare on the haunch.
3(sound cue) French horn riffs over a horse scream.
4(medium wide shot) She exploded under him, rising high into the air.
5(sound cue) violin & piano.
6(wide two-shot; slow motion) the black lady landed on her front feet first
before her back feet touched down with a undulating jerking motion that
whipped Johnny’s head so violently that his hat flew off.
7(close-up) the mare stomping his hat.
8(overhead titan crane shot) The horse bucking, the onlookers hooting.
9(medium close-up) Graff, the foreman, grinning like the cat with canary 
feathers in its teeth.
10(medium two-shot; regular speed) She circled to the right, leaned to the
right, then bucked to the left, kicking her hind legs straight out; clouds of
dust swirled up. She circled to the left, then bucked both directions. Johnny 
lost his balance for a moment as she rolled out furiously to the right, & he
lurched suddenly forward with all of his weight down onto her neck.
11(sound cue) blues guitar slide.
12(medium wide shot; slow motion) Her hooves went out from beneath her
as she toppled into the alkaline haze, sliding down onto her left side.
13(sound cue) her breath expelling, her bulk hitting the ground over low strident
notes on the piano.
14(medium two-shot) Miraculously he got his legs clear & was tumbling away
from her as she scrambled to her feet, kicking air, screaming with rage & 
fear, bucking & snorting & colliding with the corral poles dumping several
cowboys over backward onto their butts.
15(close-up) Johnny Eagle: Who tossed that goddamn rock?
16( two-shot) Foreman Graff & a tall unshaven cowhand next to him,
who sarcastically inquired: Why, hell, what rock do you mean, breed?
17(close-up) the Eagle: What did you say?
18(voice-over) What fucking rock are you.....
19(medium close-up) before the ranch hand could continue, the Indian’s
fist collided with his chin.
20(medium wide shot) the ruffian was knocked backward off the fence, landing
into the crowd behind him.
21(sound cue) trumpet & mandolin.
22(wide two-shot) Johnny Eagle, like a snarling puma leaped up
over the corral poles, nearly knocking the fat man off. The puncher
got onto his knees & was gathering his legs under him.
23(sound cue) Johnny’s yell as he leaped from the fence,
24(medium close-up: slow motion) the Eagle aloft, dropping down
onto its prey.
25(two-shot) Johnny landing on the larger man’s chest as the hired
ruffian felt his lungs nearly burst,
26(sound cue) the impact.
27(ample two-shot) Johnny bounced to his feet as the thug twitched
on the ground, grunting & groaning & gasping for air.
28(sound cue) Indian branch flute twill. 
29 the cowpoke pushed himself up on one arm. Johnny kicked the arm
out from underneath him.
30(close-up) Johnny’s anger: Fucking borracho coward!
31(medium two-shot) The big man writhed in the dust, growling like
a badger, as the Eagle’s boot lashed out again--to the ribs, to the groin,
to the small of the back, to the side of the neck, & to the stomach; rapid  
jabs, his boot a blur of retribution, the powerful kicks splitting muscle
& breaking bones.
32(sound cue) fast strumming guitar.
33(medium wide shot) the bully-boy curled up in a fetal position, but
the Eagle only saw a snake in the coiling. He lifted the man’s head up
& raised a murderous tightly clenched fist.
34(sound cue) I wouldn’t do that, Johnny.
35(three-shot) the Eagle whirled around to stare into the barrel of a pump
shotgun aimed at his head.
36(two-shot) over Johnny’s shoulder, the sheriff’s deep blue eyes 
37(close-up) over Joe Hop’s shoulder, catching Johnny’s dark ones
& holding them.
38(close-up) Joe Hop:
--You don’t kill a man for throwing a damn rock.
39(sound cue) bass drum & tamborine.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets OLN

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Insomniac's Song

image borrowed from bing.

Insomniac’s Song

“Neon shines through smokey eyes tonight. It’s 2 a.m.
and I’m drunk again.” --Dave Matthews.

Five nights in
a row I was awakened
at 2 a.m.

Someone was softly saying my name,
like Sheldon repeatedly pounding on Penny’s door--
a female voice--Glenn, Glenn--Glenn.

I blink away the gauze of sleep,
staring at my electric digital clock,        red numbers on a black face,
            a tiny white noise gently whirring in the slit of night light;
                      always 2 a.m., exactly, & there never
                               is anyone there.
The night is never silent;
I can hear               the freezer & refrigerator keeping things cool,
                           cats scurrying after rats,
                       train whistles as the freight is hauled through town,
                  as forty boxcars slap at the iron rails,
               the old house creaking as ghosts dance upstairs,
           someone walking in heavy boots over the gravel in the alley,
       night birds hunting, courting, & serenading,
an electric garage door rolling open, then shut,
       a low rider cruising by with windows down & rap music
             playing loudly--love my hoes, mowing down pigs, hug my
                    niggahs, dancing witch-you,

just as some timely post-nasal drip
brings on spasms of dry coughing,
bringing my attention to a full bladder,
prompting me to shuffle through darkness
for a sit-down pee, dozing a little with
my pajamas around my knees,
& back to bed, blankets under my chin.
                      So why am I still awake?
                      Is it almost daylight saving time?                            No.
                      Am I reacting to the Mexican food I had
                      for dinner--indigestion, acid reflux?                         No.
                      Is there still a tickle in my throat?                            No.
                      Did I nap too often yesterday afternoon?                No.
                       Do I need to buy some sleep meds?                       No.
                       Should I wear a silk sleep shade?                           No.
                       Do I need cognitive behavior therapy?                    No.

OK, OK, 2 a.m.--what the hell is the significance?
      What’s it all about? I do know that it is
             a Korean heavy metal band,
             a 1993 jazz album by saxophonist Theo Travis,
             a 2014 album by Adrian Marcel.
             an Iron Maiden song from X-Factor.
             a Teddy Pendergrass ballad,
             a Barry Manilow tune from Paradise Cafe,
             a song from an Anna Nalick album. &
             a 2006 Indie movie about five guys closing down 
             an Irish Pub in Dallas, a video game, & oh yes,
there is something on Yahoo called the
Drunk Shopping Service that allows insomniacs
to buy all kinds of useless shit at 2 a.m.

But hey, now the clock reads 6:30 a.m. & the dream I am exiting was
macabre & disturbing; my wife had stepped into the shower while a pair
of young Mormons in their black suits & skinny black ties stood in the
hallway, both smiling at me while one played an upright honky tonk
piano, some George Gershwin tune, just as our basement began flooding
despite the ungodly howl of our twin sump-pumps. I yelled at my wife, &
she came out to investigate wearing an evening gown covered with golden
sequins as the water disappeared--Go back to bed said she, & I did, only
to be awakened by someone playing a ukulele, to find seven middle-aged
women telling me they loved my open mic spoken word performances at
the BSharp Coffee House as I headed upstairs to find a half dozen County
Jail prisoners cleaning the rugs & furniture, “I got them from a Work Release
Program,” my wife said on her way out the door to work. “Good Bye, I love
you!” I yelled after her; Good Bye I Love You chanted the prisoners, laughing,
telling me I was pussy-whipped. Then I noticed that one of them was a

It’s two a.m. in the
morning, & my mind is just
squirming like a toad.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Verisimilitude Versus Veracity

image from

Verisimilitude Versus Veracity

“We have done so much, for so long, with so little, now
we are qualified to do anything with nothing.”
--Konstantin Jirecek.

Regardless of our pitiful need to attempt
         control over chaos, we discover various guises
                    of antithesis at their duty stations reinforcing the
                             powerful parameters of personal white light within,
                    like capturing fireflies in a flesh Bell jar, like harnessing
          lethal U235 within the molecular skein of lead;

The omnipresent yelping Yahweh,
the reigning monarch of our universe within,    
                                       the existence of opposing forces
                                  that assist in maintaining its axial status,
                           much like those invisible gravitational
                     bands of energy that prevent Earth from
             flying to pieces, & further allowing other planets
       in our universe to coexist, to share the space
while creating orbits, tides, balance & order.

We may believe
that if we can inhabit the eternal 
Now, we will

be free of
the antithetical, find peace with turbulence--but
what could be                                                                  further from the truth?
                   Sure, we can manage living a lie
                   & actually be ignorant of its falseness,
                                 but the jack-booted storm troopers
                                 of spontaneous reckoning will march
                  into our sphere when least expected;
              we cannot successfully reside in a vacuum
         without a thorough understanding of the opposing
energies that allow it to happen.

          We are taught to live our lives, not
               toil in lethargic inactivity, spinning our appendages
                     statically in a home-grown quagmire.

                           Passion for living springs from need, fueled
                                 by depletion, misfortune, depression & 
                                          misguidance as we seem to notice
that which is broken
as we are propelled by
things that
still work, find
ourselves very attracted to
the sensual beauty of human form
while disregarding the darkness within its
heart, tend to honor the warriors who protect us
as we give less credibility to the pacifists among us that
advocate more peaceful paths; cursing at the complicated cloverleafs
that slow our volition, craving unrestricted spurts of speed
along sensuous straightaways.

Damn foolishness to some
is the breath of life to others;
for every tall person who feels superior
there are five more that just want to fit in;
deviate sexual behavior does not seem strange
to those who are drawn to it, seek it out;
listen to all voices in diverse Babel-tongues,
endeavoring to respect their views, but only
respond to those whose message resonates
with your own values.

Can there ever be
                 wisdom without ignorance,
                  beauty without ugliness,
                     hope without despair,
                     night without day,
                    clarity without distortion,
                   growth without sustenance,
                         joy without anguish,
             happiness without pain.
                  actions without consequences?

Hell, no--of course not,
so get a grip, because
unsolicited shit happens,
ready or not.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets MTB

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Red Breasts

painting by gerhard richter.

Red Breasts

“The characteristics in human nature which we love best,
grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles.”
--Harry Emerson Fosdick.

A robin has built
her nest in eaves of our deck;
expecting chirps soon.

She said smiling solemnly near sunset,
underscored by airliners speaking jet.

When you open
the back door, mother bird
would fly away.

“I wish she would realize that
we mean her no harm,” my wife said.

“Do you speak Robin?” I asked.

My tall lady held her iphone
over her head, snapping images
of first three lovely blue eggs,
then later three featherless babes.

Our tom cat & his neighborhood puss-pals
                    left their dusty paw prints on top
            of the highest railing, 
while crows & grackles                       
                                             perched precariously 
                                                                                      near by
                    as mother & father brought
                    worms, grubs, beetles & seeds
                    to three gaping hungry mouths.

Odd, perhaps, that we felt so protective,
             hoping calamity was not an elective,
                         watching three fat fuzzy heads bob
                                   above the edge of the bird’s nest,
                          as we accepted the emotional job
           of providing the babies the best
                          surveillance that we could muster,
fully understanding that actually we would
                          be nothing more than witness to the
events not yet upon us;

like the teutonic shelves shifting
with the inevitable continental drift
devil-deep beneath us,

like the new steam fissures sprouting
on Mt. Adams, that is
Mt. St. Helens’ little brother,
readying itself to become
another May magma event,

like the rare trio of ghost rider tornados 
brewing within the thunderous womb
of the lightning-laced dark skies above, 

like the mysterious change of course
for Asteroid H2000, an ice giant
with a granite core
that just now
is headed our way.

Nature has agenda.
We are but pawns ready for
sacrifices to come.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene Thirty-Eight

image borrowed


Cinemagenic Thirty-Eight


“Dance together & be joyous--even as the strings of a lute
are alone, they can quiver with the same music.”
--Kahil Gibran.

1(titan crane shot) 
High overhead the corral; Johnny Eagle turned back to the spindly 
sawhorse, as the many ‘pokes hung on the corral poles like crows
at a barbecue.
2(sound cue) thwack of a juice harp, guitar strumming, over an Indian
branch flute.
3(cut to medium close-up) angle on the face of the fat foreman, scowling
two chins deep within his flabby jowls.
--Breed, why not let three or four of us hold that stupid hammerhead, 
use a spade bit like everybody else & strap on some spurs, toss your
gear on this devil cunt & get to breaking her?
4(two-shot) the Indian turned and stared at the mound of flesh on the fence.
5(close-up) Johnny, the grin faded: Because I like horses, Graff. I know
that you do not understand this, but I’ll tell you anyway. None of the
horses I break ever go wild again, yet they keep their spirit & courage &
6(medium close-up) Graff spits out a disdainful glop of tobacco.
7(sound cue) Indian drum beats, & castanets.
8(cut to close-up) as the filthy tobacco wad lands in the sawdust near
the Indian’s feet.
9(medium wide-shot & sound cues)
--Damn, Graff, that’s bullshit!
--Come on, asshole, let the Eagle work his magic.
10(medium close-up) Johnny, the smile back on his lips:
--You know, you’re lucky you got me today--I wanted to go fishing.
11(two-shot) over the Indian’s shoulder:
--Graff: Why did you come then?
--Johnny: Out of whiskey money, boss--besides I need a woman, &
they cost dinero too.
--Graff: Enough jawing.
12(sound cue) piano & clarinet.
13(medium wide shot) Johnny picked up the creaky saddle & moved
toward the mare.
14(cut to close-up) the ebony mustang’s wide nervous eyes.
15(two-shot) Johnny: Here it is, Concetta. Look at this, huh? I know,
I know, you don’t especially like saddles or riders either--but don’t be
silly. You are a horse. Men ride horses. I am a man. I will ride you.
16(tight two-shot) The mare shook her head violently as the man
approached her, pawing the dust with one front leg. He held the
saddle out at arm’s length, moving up to her head, & holding it
under her nose.
--Johnny: See that? Look at at. It smells OK--it’s just an old saddle.
Now, could that hurt you? Hell, no. See what a silly horse you’ve
17(sound cue) harmonica & guitar.
18(medium wide shot) He touched her tense neck with it, as she nipped
at the air. He moved it slowly along the arch of her neck, stroking her
withers with the sweat-soaked leather. She shifted her weight from
hoof to hoof. He placed the saddle on her back. She whinnied & bobbed
her beautiful head, her long mane fanning in the breeze. He quickly
cinched-up, talking to her, stroking her loin & flank.
19(tight two-shot) Johnny: There now, pretty lady, you’re all set, huh?
You got everything--but a rider. Hey, why don’t I climb aboard & we can
hop around a little bit?
20(medium wide shot) The ‘pokes began to mumble, as the mustang 
turned her head, watching the man, but remaining still. 
21(tight two-shot) Johnny got a good grip on the reins & saddle horn as
stuck his left foot into the first stirrup. The crowd grew silent. He smoothly
stepped up into a standing position, with his right leg dangling. The coal
mare pranced & quivered. The saddle & tack creaked as he passed his
right leg over her back, then ramming his foot into the other stirrup. 
The mare complained as she bobbed her head. Johnny felt the tension
gathering between his legs. 
22(close-up) Johnny: Well, horse--it’s a nice day, isn’t it?
23(sound cue) snare drum &saxophone bleat. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets OLN

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Call to Liberty

image borrowed from fineartmerica,com

Call to Liberty

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops
of the world.”--Walt Whitman.

In the fall of 1956, when
I started junior high school,          the English teachers began
                                to tackle poetry in earnest.
                       It was abrupt adieu to limericks
                and sweet nursery rhymes,
        & a swift boy howdy to some
lame epic-length sing-song poem
        called HIAWATHA by a dead dude 
                 named Hank Waddy Longfellow, & most
                        of us were chanting, You’re a poet,
                                  but don’t know it,
                                  even though your feet show it; 
                                  they’re Longfellows;
followed furiously by a sicky-sweet poem
about some royal Greek fags        called OZYMANDIAS
                                  by Johnny Keats, then I think
                           there was a wrestling match with
               some archaic clumsy clunker called 
MY BRIGANTINE by J. Fenimore Cooper,
with Willy Wordsworth next up
               sharing some silly clap-trap verse called
                            I WANDERED LONELY LIKE A CLOUD--

and wouldn’t you know it,
these stomach-churning
overly Victorian romantic & saccharine-sentimental verses
           continued right into high school English,
                     as we were introduced to the Belle of Amherst
                                herself, Miss Emily D, whom Brandon Braggis said
                                          wrote sad depressed poems because she
                                probably was a dyke, & of course all those
                     love sonnets by Shakespeare, & those fey clever lines
                from Oscar Wilde, none of which I can remember,
only recalling that his real name was 
Oscar Fingal O’Flaherte Willis Wilde,
& that he was a stylish infamous queer
at a dangerous time when gay men
were often beaten to death or castrated;

but then in my sophomore year            I was struck with a literary bolt
                        of lightning called Walt Whitman,
& since I already was writing prose                   in creative writing classes,
             I was overjoyed to find out that the stoic rules
             dictating what poetry was, or even could be,
             had been trampled--as I read poems that had
words & phrases that ran wild & free 
like high desert mustangs,
                            that leaped out of the sea nets
like quartets of dolphins                   with the sun glistening on
                            their shining heads;         words that took flight,
               vibrating out of condor & eagle wings.
The first Whitman poem I encountered was a verse of war:

Beat! beat! drum!--blow! bugle! blow!
through windows--through doors,
bursting like a relentless force;
so rattle quicker heavier drums--in bugles wilder blow.

Old Walt was like a huge orange-keeled Ice Breaker,
cracking through my adolescent resistant permafrost,
suddenly cutting the hemp fetters on my own poetics,
                           putting me in mind of war drums
                           & military bugle calls,       as I imagined
                    the look that Davy Crockett gave to Jim Bowie
             when they heard Santa Ana playing the Deguello,
realizing that the fresh troops storming
the crumbling adobe walls of the Alamo
had “no quarter” on their lips;             or those stirring buglers
             leading Cavalry charges during the Indian campaigns
                      way out West--or those German bugle calls heard
                                 over the muddy trench tops, ricocheting
off barbed wire in No-Man’s Land;      or those WWII Japanese
                      bugle calls that signaled a Banzai attack,
                                                             or those eerie haunting
midnight Chinese Bugle calls during the Korean War,
                      often broadcast on loud speakers, & I welcomed all
of those Whitman cronies, those bellicose blood-soaked muses,
for Uncle Walt was truly my Liberator, whelping my undiscovered
poetic yearnings, the Captain of my future wayward voyages deep
into the Sea of Freedom---oh thank-you my Captain, my Admiral,
                                                                my Monarch, my Lord, 
                         for I continue to honor thee,
                         poetically & spiritually. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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