Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mars Attacks

painting by frank frazetta

Mars Attacks

Point Defiance pokes up
like a battered thumb
or an arthritic middle finger
into the southern eye of
Puget Sound.

There is a spacious city park
that spreads out like a green
band aid covering the tip, that
contains a resurrected Hudson’s
Bay fort, five kinds of gardens,
a ferry terminal, a rocky beach,
and deep within the chest of
the thin peninsula, a zoo,

where I went today, anxious to
rekindle my childish sense of
wonder, wanting to create a digital
record of
red wolf’s mane,
Indian elephant back hair,
arctic fox pups,
and otter’s wet kisses;

but instead I found filthy cages,
greasy smeared glass windows,
a cold breeze off the bay,
a shaggy menagerie of captives--
their eyes brimming with sadness
and arrogant lethargy, their fur muddy
and matted, scores of empty cages
with yellow tape covering the doors,
overpriced nachos and lollipops,
and thirty staircases, lousy lighting,
darkly tinted glass, broken bannisters,
hundreds of snot-nosed screaming
pre-adolescents being jerked, pushed,
carried and herded mostly by
stay-at-home mothers,

starring a myriad of caged creatures
that preferred turning their various backs
toward the impish faces pressed to glass,
leering over low fences, their chocolate-
streaked fingers pointing proudly;

until I had a free-floating epiphany,
and everything became a Martian zoo,
the animals becoming the public
with the people on exhibit, drenching
me in interstellar panic as I held
my breath while rushing toward
the exit gate.

Glenn Buttkus

February 2012

Listed as #12 over on dVerse Poets-Martian Verse

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


S.E. Ingraham said...

whoa - too real for me almost ... a glimpse of the future? Hope not ... good poem

Brian Miller said...

really nice the concrete tiger there in the middle...great use of menagerie as well...sadly you may need to hold your breathe all the more...though it may be other humans looking back through the bars at us...i guess they are human...smiles.

Semaphore said...

...And are cages meant to keep things in, or keep things out? Interesting perspective you brought out here.

Dave King said...

The last stanza did it for me. Out of this world! Brilliant.

Claudia said...

the tiger's eyes in zoos have died for how you carve out the contrast of the memories from childhood to the sad reality...very well done glenn..caged..ugh..

~L said...

You know, I would have never read it in my mind like you spoke it. You reading that out-loud made me truly fall in love with this piece!

It's a shame when what we knew or have dreams of - is not what it is anymore.

Very amazing post!!

Anonymous said...


We humans are caged, we pretend to not see the horrors we've created, zoos included....