Saturday, November 24, 2012


painting by curtis verdun


“If you want to hear God laugh,
make a plan.”

Every single time I buy a scratch ticket
I prepare myself for winning a fortune,
but after forty years of shoving bucks
into the black hole of Lotto, I remain
the upper lower class blue-collar
poster boy. 

Where in hell are those helpful, functional, 
practical manuals for being a good
parent, spouse, friend, mensch?
They don’t seem to be on the self-help,
home improvement, or mental health aisles;

rather we are just dropped 
into the deep end
to thrash about madly,
to sink or swim,
to float or flounder,
to maintain or implode
completely on our own.

There are those among us who are bolstered
by the notion that while spiritual entities
we fully prepare for each upcoming lifetime,
factoring in lessons still to be learned,
large complicated karmic groups,
several transitionary possibilities,
every calamity, triumph and malady,

yet as we relearn old knowledge, still
we all experience those bleak moments
when we feel so alone that to be designated
pariah would be a positive improvement.

How about our New Year’s resolutions--
when we make ironclad promises to ourselves
to lose a washtub of blubber,
to better manage that anger,
to cultivate more patience with others,
to get back to meditating,
to hug, care, and love more,

but as the decades pile up like junk
in the basement we still find ourselves
sitting on that couch munching maple bars
while watching hours of trash TV,
completely ignoring ten kinds of guilt,
common sense, logic, and various
forms of advice given by family & friends,
just shouting, “Fuck it!”.
I work too hard for too little cash,
my vote could not possibly count for much,
my opinions are too insightful & controversial,

so get off my ass and just let me be
the sole architect of my own destruction,
plugged in, buttoned down,
peddle to the metal,
out of control,
and absolutely 
into a dark well,
a hidden bomb shelter,
a precarious pitfall,
a quixotic quagmire,

and wherever I end up,
whatever my final destination,
I will know most of those
who preceded me.

Glenn Buttkus

November 2012

Posted over on dVerse Poets

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


Brian Miller said...

ha you shocked me a bit in the ferocity of your words toward the caught me early...your bit on the FIL has played for years and says he has broken even but....and you know in the end no one can live our lives but ourselves....better we live it then only we own it you know...great write sir...i smiled at knowing the ones that came before you...smiles.

AJ said...

Your poems are always fused with rawness, catches me off guard but I wanted to say I'm so glad you're a poet! Love reading your work.

Anonymous said...

Dropped into the deep and left to thrash about madly... Oh yes indeed, sometimes that's exactly how it is. Loved the quote at the start too :)

Mary said...

I love all your examples. I am glad I don't buy scratch tickets, as I'd be tired of preparing myself for loseing week after week. And I loved the 'blubber' not lost after New Year's resolutions. I enjoyed this, Glenn.

Laurie Kolp said...

Emotive... powerful... really like:

but as the decades pile up like junk in the basement we still find ourselves sitting on that couch munching maple bars while watching hours of trash TV

Natasha Head said...

Poet POWER! Raw, real and raging....LOVED it, Glenn, and found the art perfect.

Shawna said...

Love this, Glenn:

"my opinions are too insightful & controversial,
so get off my ass and just let me be
the sole architect of my own destruction"

Anonymous said...

The decades piling up like junk in the basement = awful!!!!

I could identify with this - though not a lotto player - but the idea of being the sole architect of my own destruction - well, I'm still a bit of a blamer, I'm afraid. Very well done. k.

Susan Daniels said...

Glenn--This has a gritty reality to it I really loved, and them you moved into the spiritual, which somehow did not escape the grit but instead elevated it. Loved this.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You reeled me right in, oh I so know those feelings, all of my optimism to the contrary - laughed out loud at "to be designated pariah would be a positive improvement." You rocked this poem, kiddo, and I loved it.

Sabio Lantz said...

Fine write -- not sure I got the last line. It felt like it was suppose to narrow down to a moral, an answer or complete despair -- but I couldn't tell where it went.

Can you give a hint for "I will know most of those who preceded me. "

Is that continuing in the cynical realism that most of those who procede you are generic and self-felt failures too? (following)

Glenn Buttkus said...

Sabio, I was making reference to the fact that most of us are in the same boat, not necessarily as failures, but as misled dreamers, and that wherever we end up beyond the veil, I will find lots of friends there.

Claudia said...

for the real important things in life, we're never true...we learn step by step, sometimes the hard way...i never played lotto but my dad used to...always the same numbers for years...and then said he can't stop now..just for fear he doesn't play once and the numbers would win...

Sabio Lantz said...

@ Glenn
Ah, then, I was right except you did a tone adjustment that I didn't hear in the poem. And I didn't catch the afterlife nuance. Thanx.