Saturday, August 17, 2013

The New World

image borrowed from bing

The New World

“Ignore death until the last moment, and as it approaches,
cheat it by shuffling off into a coma.”--Aldous Huxley

Dearest Brother:

The view from my hospital window has become
adventure, like one of our childhood imaginary
journeys into undiscovered landscapes, and I find
once-familiar events suddenly becoming fresh,
shiny-new, with factory-folds & wire tie-downs extant. 

They tell me that I was in a coma for over a week,
& that my traumatic brain injury will eat up months
more with its healing;

all I can say is that outside--the world appears to be
sprinkled with fairy dust, and everything has
a new clarity, as if I am seeing it for the first time;

like those feathered flocks of pious pigeons who now
gather gregariously on rooftops, on wires, on old
TV antennas, on parapets, on gargoyles, where
no yellow finches are allowed, always on alert,
watching for intruder hawks & crows,

as our city’s buildings standing skyscraper tall,
shoulder to concrete shoulder, like steel toadstools
in a giant’s garden now look like the castles of
Grimm, arm in arm battlements, green flags waving

above the wide city park below, peopled with the characters
from books--clowns, dancers, percussionists, mimes, buskers
and a red-robed Magi performing slight-of-hand for pennies,
as the many apple-box orators dispense their gloom & doom
& conspiracy theories, spewing out on the passers-by their
vitriolic take on the Truth, sprinkling it like apple spice on
their tiny slice of the great puzzle,

as three jesters joyfully jingling their tiny silver belles, dancing
& prancing, hand out heart-shaped balloons of every color,
and it seems that one curious little girl had tied her dolly up into
several dyed balloon strings and dozens of hot air receptacles

had lifted the Barbie high above the throng, soaring over the
tired dusty park maples & oaks, mostly unnoticed by
the busy crowd except for a barefooted fat woman
on the corner of Broadway & 3rd, who was pushing
a bright orange wheelbarrow with her crippled 

Jack Russell terrier named Edward riding proudly
in it--both staring up at the giddy Barbie babe, now
plastic naked, her popsicle-stick legs entangled

in countless red-white-& blue balloon strings,
rising, rising, & I think I could hear her giggling,
with one free arm flapping, waving, a flying princess

sailing straight up into God’s awaiting hands, deep
into the labyrinth of love, never to be seen again,
gone--like you, Michael, no longer in this world.

Hey, perhaps you could catch her in your strong arms
there high above the stratosphere, and untangle her
small feet, and hold her gently, and calm her

by telling her the story of our drunken drive home
from O’Malley’s in the rain, with you at the wheel
when that damn dog ran out in front of us, & how
you swerved to miss it & how that brick wall 
rushed forward to make our acquaintance.

Yes, they told me today that you were DOA
when we arrived at Saint Joseph’s, and that
I had gone halfway with you before turning back.

So little brother, you got to solve all those mysteries
we pondered without me. Tell me the answers when
next we meet; and hey, say hi to Mother & Pop
for me. I will probably join you in a cosmic blink, or two.
Oh, and don’t catch all the big fish before I show up. 

Glenn Buttkus

Auguest 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this Letter Poem to you?


Mary said...

Oh, lord, Glenn....this is intense, rich with detail, rich with emotion, and much sadness....and death. Left me with a few tears in my eyes. So difficult to lose someone that way, but yes you will meet again....somewhere 'up' there! That's for certain.

Brian Miller said...

geez....what a story man...i lost a good friend about 8 years ago in a car wreck....he was young and full of put us right there though as a brother who lived through and must live with that rocked this man....tear jerker

Heaven said...

The details of the world, familiar and new again, weaving from grief, fresh and deep are a joy to read Glenn ~ The ending is heartfelt, sad and uplifting at the same time ~

Happy weekend to you ~

howanxious said...

Such vividness in your words that I wanted to cringe back for a better view. Intricately written with the sights and sounds; a new view of the world.
And towards the end, the story ends delicately with a tinge of sadness, leaving behind some unknown trace in the retina of the eyes.

Gabriella Skriver said...

Very vivid and emotional letter! It makes me wonder what the brother would answer.

Claudia said...

oh heck glenn...what a moving had me almost in tears... wonderful rich in details as paint such a vivid picture

Laurie Kolp said...

Well, I wasn't expecting that, Glenn... this is gripping.

pandamoniumcat said...

Wow...yes intense, you weave a compelling story, the beginning born to a new world and then the tragic reality. A heartfelt and excellently written piece.

annotating60 said...

How deeply touching and personal Glen. Well done.>KB

kaykuala said...

A loss of untold sadness can be tugging at one's feelings for a long time. A vivid tale in all details sends one reeling just reading. The image compounds the feel. Brilliant run Glenn!

Hank said...

such a completely mesmerizing story - the intricate detail and imagery is fascinating - then the final lines when the story is revealed - masterful story telling, Glenn - K

Björn said...

I love the details of the awakened narrator and how the sorrow of the lost brother gradually is revealed... stupidity of driving drunk, and the hope at the end....

Wyeth Bailey said...

I was lost in your story from the beginning. This is the work of a true poet and a wonderful storyteller. The vivid details immerse the reader, while the story pulls him forward somewhat roughly. Very well done. Thank you for sharing it.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Glenn, this rambled on in the most heavenly way, despite knowing he had emerged from a coma... the scene he described below is like twelve similar dreams, all strung together. Then to find out the truth, that stopped me dead in my visual tracks. If this is in any way autobiographical, well, I pray it's not... Stupendous job, Glenn. Amy

Mystic_Mom said...

Glenn - you wove this so well that I was surprised at the end. Well done!

David Gilmour said...

This strikes me as one of your best poems in ages, and I wonder if you had worked long to bring it to fruition or whether it's spontaneous--not extemporaneous, because we do go under and get lost before the poem comes.

George Polley said...

Wow, Glenn, that is so beautifully and profoundly said. I remember Huxley, attended a lecture that he gave at the University of California in Berkeley back in 1960 or 61, pages of his notes drifting down into the audience, rambling a bit, yet fascinating.

I so appreciate you sending your poetry to me.

Enjoy the day and the week, on a sunny Wednesday morning in Sapporo,


Frank Watson said...

Vivid, moving, and very sad poem, yet it showed your innate optimism and imagination despite the tragedy. It's brave of you to open up so much emotionally with what you write. I could picture the scene in detail and imagine your journey halfway to the other side.

in the desert
oil field
ruins of time
a boy dreams
between the worlds