Sunday, April 15, 2012


Painting by Guildford Surrey


My mirror reflected a vermilion swath
down the dark corner of my mouth--

had I run the red moors last night--
had I leapt onto a doe’s back
and sunk my incisors into its lovely neck--

had I fought in the alley behind Pinky’s,
letting the torn skin on my carmine knuckles
validate my wine-tasting--

had I bit my lower lip while dreaming
of scaling claret canyons and soaring
peregrine as my soul hawk tore
the frightened eyes out of roger rabbit?

Did I possess a bestial personality that
made lesser brutes pay double-crimson
for their chance encounter with me?

Soon the ruby ruffian gave way
to the fleeing of hypnagogia,
the scarlet lip stain faded, and
I reached for my thirsty hunting knife,
loving how it felt in the flat of my calloused palm,
heavy at the leather-wrapped hilt,
the name “Killer” stamped deep
into the blood slit on the shiny blade,
with a lethal row of serrated coral teeth
near the handle;

dripping with rosy irony since
I have only actually killed
some ants,
a couple of frogs,
several robins,
a sad turtle,
a thousand spiders,
buckets of flies,
twelve snakes,
some fish,
four deer, a dog, three cats
and my health--

nothing of consequence,
a milktoast’s resume of malice,
a wimp’s wistful arrogance;

until I stare again at the morning mirror,
behind my demon eyes, and garrulous glimpses
of strong simmering genetic memories
quiver beneath my long lashes,
powerful throbs of my darkest naked exploits
make it triple-clear that death
has been no stranger
to these strong hands,
these eyes,
this heart.

Glenn Buttkus

April 2012

Posted as #45 over at Magpie Tales 113

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


Anonymous said...

What creative varieties of red you integrated!

Gorgeous lines:
"dripping with rosy irony"
"a milktoast’s resume of malice"
"powerful throbs of my darkest naked exploits"

Lane Savant said...


Kutamun said...

I really like the dark viciousness of this, your chosen form is a strong and safe container for it. If more people were this honest , and this creative, the world would be a far less scary place. Thanks mate .

Sue said...


Potent and impressive write.


Brian Miller said...

vermillion has to be one of my fav words, just saying...i used to see red a while lot more than i do now...i had to learn to control that from my piss and vinegar days...see red, yeah sometimes...but dont let it blind

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Excellent stuff - the demon exists in all of us.

Anna :o]

Dave King said...

Exciting stuff to be taken slowly for best effect, I think.

Tess Kincaid said...

I like the list of things you actually killed...