Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sons of Cain

painting by vincent valdez

Sons of Cain
"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."
--Benjamin Franklin

The Man, the Man, always the goddamn Man, everywhere--
the deadly deaf mute of discipline,
the bastard boss, haughty honcho, belligerent badass.
First the blinding glare off the silver badges,
then the oaken baton in your gut,
the pump shotgun pointed at your head;
his tiny red pig-weasel eyes squinting,
rat saliva at the corners of his maggot maw,
barking rules, spouting hate, cuddling cruelty.
You must always beware of the Man,
do as he demands,
stay in your cubicle,
never leave your neighborhood,
step out on green,
halt absolutely on red,
put your credit card into the breath-o-meter,
do not lose your spoon,
do not forget your fucking number,
you must never speak your mind,
never congregate in groups,
never hold up hand-made placards.
Bend low and respect the Man, fear
his might, power, shiny boots, great rowelled spurs,
and his darkly tinted robo-visor.
All you brethren must blend seamlessly
or the Man will focus his considerable wrath
on you, your family, your children, your friends,
and from the intestines of hell,
from dungeons unseen,
from row upon row of shallow graves,
will come the cries of those already destroyed,
all mingled into a single throbbing wailing
that will shatter windows and break spirits,
from those who stood up to the full blast,
whose words are slain by riot winds,
who were crushed down without epitaphs,
and no doubt you will weep for them,
reach out to them, but take care
not to have to join them.
Glenn Buttkus
June 2012

Posted over on dVerse Poets-FFA

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


Beachanny said...

Yes, yes here you take the form - three line, accented beats, usual speech - it is free verse here - absolutely to my ears more the voice of Ginsberg more than Williams.

Williams understood the necessity for that kind of freedom but had no time. He grabbed his poems between office appointments (physician) and on the way to seeing patients at home (those were the days). So his poems were short, so short. He thought in breaths, the air of life, the thing he listened to and for, a diagnostic tool. And then he wrote in them.

Here so much is said, deeply philosophical--so much so, that one could discuss the merits of freedom, the actuality of free will or determinism. The political restraints of a society working not so much to protect the citizenry but to control it.

Yes this is an important poem, and written within the confines (to a degree) of the poetic form. Kudos.

Victoria said...

Wow, Glenn, this really packs a punch. I agree with Gay that this has a feeling of Ginsberg...a challenging, chip on my shoulder kind of voice to it. Well done.

Brian Miller said...

dang bro...blowing out the form on your birthday...this is top notch...its got makes me want to take on the man...better watch it though the man may be watching you soon rocked the house

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday glenn
happy birthday to you!

Susan said...

Powerful writing! Duly noted how the fathers of our country, Ben and others, would not be welcome now. I too hear Ginsberg's "Howl" in your poem, much more in how you hit the notes and rhythm when reading aloud.
Very effective images: "rat saliva at the corners of his maggot maw, barking rules, spouting hate, cuddling cruelty," "and from the intestines of hell, from dungeons unseen, from row upon row of shallow graves" etc

henry clemmons said...

Way to bring it, no compromise. Always enjoy your voice and POV.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Lots of power in this emtional piece, Glenn! Great form, as well! Awesome message! Love it!

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

This was powerful, and the photo was a good accent your work. Thanks for the audio

Semaphore said...

I am always impressed by how you can rise to confront a new form, a new prompt, a new poetic device - and come up with something that is uniquely in your voice.

Semaphore said...

And, oh yes, happy birthday!

Laurie Kolp said...

Wow! This is amazing... a great birthday present! Hope it was a good one.

brenda w said...

Excellent contribution. Whether it's a perfect form fit or packs a gazillion punches. I love the perspective, thank you.

S.E.Ingraham said...

Whoa, and howl down your own damned self - after all it's your birthday and what better way to celebrate than to pen this bit of brilliance - rise up you son of anarchy, tell it slant but tell it true; this just rocks!

David Gilmour said...

Crumbs, Glenn, have you been in trouble with the Man? I hope you didn't bend for the pigs. Perhaps this is apiece for the hip-hop poetry crowd. They'll love it.

Anonymous said...

Nice use of the form - the beats work beautifully

hedgewitch said...

Strong and serious work here Glenn--and unfortunately, truer than true. Never worse than now, perhaps because now is the time we live and experience the most intensely--but the escalation of the bully in power, from Wall Street to Damascus, is frighteningly thorough. Fine writing throughout this. (and a belated happy birthday to you.)