Sunday, December 11, 2011


image borrowed from bing


Most nights I dream of pirates,
Vikings, Moors, Arabs, Frisians,
defrocked priests, disgraced naval
officers, poets embedded posing as
privateers prowling every sea on the
planet, cannons blasting row upon row,
their gray-yellow sulfurous smoke masking
the square-rigged tall sails, bleached red
and black, filled with the delirious winds
of dark freedom, their jolly roger flapping
proudly astern;

usually I am aboard some innocent brigantine,
two-masted, gunless, laden with mercantile
treasures, when out of the thick fog springs
the Black Pearl, or the Dutchman, or the Barbary
Queen, a sea chanty carried on the cold breeze,
somewhere along the coast of Africa, or between
tropical islands in the Caribbean, as the screaming
of my shipmates crescendoes, and the grappling hooks
have snagged the rigging of my ship, and the devilish
hordes begin to swing aboard astern and amidships,
my lethal cutlass leaps into my illusory fist and I
become Flynn, Fairbanks, or Lancaster, wide white
teeth in a snarling smile, knocking scurvy brigands
to the deck, cutting throats like a hog butcher gone
berserk, plowing through the knot of greasy buccaneers
like death incarnate, my scythe humming with cleaved
flesh, pirate souls spurting across the sailor’s moon,
until I only hear my own gasping, standing alone on
a deck of skulls, a bloody Conan pirate king,
my sword steaming with the beautiful essence of others,
triumphant, now ready

to awaken roughly to the sound of Hook’s alarm clock,
and as I pound my princely paw onto it, silencing its
terrible squawking, I notice the history book on my
night stand, still open to the magical paragraph that
described when Gaius Julius Caesar in 75BC was
kidnapped by Cilician pirates, held captive on the
isle of Pharmacus and when the pirates announced
that they would demand 20 talents of gold for his
ransom, he became outraged, informing them that
he certainly was worth 50; so they asked for more.
After his release he raised a fleet, pursued and
captured every one of the pirates, and had them
crucified at a public spectacle--

alongside the bulldog edition of my newspaper,
open to my Gemini horoscope, letting me know
that I certainly would overcome the scorn
and criticism of every naysayer that day;

smiling, I left my Thracian sword in its
scabbard on the kitchenette table, slung
the lap top over my heroic shoulder
and raced for the bus.

Glenn Buttkus

December 2011

Listed as #48 over on Magpie Tales 95

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Tess Kincaid said...

Now I'm craving must have been the Jolly Roger reference...great write, Glenn...

pspacer11 said...

It was great to hear you read it as it always means more to me that way. I love the way you threw in the actors. I always loved the old swashbuckling films of theirs, still do, they are just so romantic with a hint of violence, a bit like what you write here.

Kay said...

loved it..swoon!!

Ann Grenier said...

Love it! You overcame the darkness of the photo with your surge of energy, imagination, bravado and humor. Bravo!

Brian Miller said...

ha glenn you are a master story teller...loved it...i want some of those dreams too...and nice elements there at the end withthe story of ceasar and your horoscope...