Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Call Me Blackthorne

image from deskridge.deviant art.

Call Me Blackthorne

“The secret of my influence has always been
that it remained secret.”--Salvador Dali.

If, 47 years ago,        something took a whole year to create,
                   emerging at around 100,000 words,
                   but nobody seemed interested in it--
so no one read it in it’s entirety, 
                         & now for decades
                         it has sat patiently on
                         dusty shelves in my many domiciles,
              it’s brilliance unappreciated,
              it’s uniqueness unshared,
              it’s characters unknown,
              it’s literary heart hardening,
              it’s hidden emotions unfelt,
would it not fully inhabit the realm of a Secret?

It all started on the California desert,
when I was stationed at NAS Miramar.         The base theater only charged 
                                   a quarter, & they changed the movie
                              every day, so at that time
                    they screened a hell of a lot
          of Spaghetti Westerns; there 
were hundreds of them in the late 60’s,
          & like many others I became fascinated
                     by their dreamlike artifice, taking a Hollywood
                               staple, a cinematic classic genre, & burlesquing it,
where all the gunshots sounded tinny
& phony, kind of like                    the silly sound of fake pistols firing
                     on those Kellogg’s Sugar Pops
                     1950’s TV commercials, when
                                                    they put those kiddy Western stars
                      on the boxes, you remember, like
Guy Madison, Andy Devine, Gene Autry, William Boyd, & Roy Rogers--
                      reminding me about how excited we Western
                                                    freaks all became in the late 50’s
                      when the Adult Western Shows 
took over all the channels, ruled the airwaves for a long time, when
James Arness, Clint Walker, James Garner, Richard Boone, Dale Robertson
& Ward Bond                              began to take plots “seriously”.

The Westerns filmed in Italy & Spain
                                                                were like a reinvention of the genre,
where the horse tails were all too long,
the stage coaches were all too small,
& the same 20 voice over actors             seemed to do the lip synching 
                        on all the movies, lots of heightened absurd
                        violence, grittier sex, incredible musical scores,
blatant do-overs of every classic Japanese Samurai movie ever made;

& there I was, ready to write my first novel, 
                         deciding to use the Spaghetti West
                                  as a springboard, using graphic violence & sex,
                                               well researched weaponry,
                                                            & existential components.

When I first returned to college in 1969,
I showed the manuscript to several
of my college English professors,
the younger guys who wrote paperback quickie novels
in the summer, often using a Nom de Plume--
                 & to a man, they were flabbergasted, blown away.
                 “It’s like Vonnegut or Bukowski wrote a Western, just
                               completely outrageous, violating every principle
                               or parameter of the genre. The Western Writers
                               of America would have had apoplexy if they read it.”

I decided to consider their vitriolic 
protests & criticisms as high praise,            for I had succeeded in writing
                               something that was both authentic
                               & unconventional; fuck them.

                   I returned to it every few years
                          to reacquaint myself with its mystique. 
                   As a film buff, cinephile, actor, teacher, & poet,
over the years I have begun
to feel braver & more innovative,         so much so that I even
                   created a new poetic form--Cinemagenic.

The nearly forgotten manuscript 
began first to whisper                    & then call out to me
                       each time I passed it on its shelf:
Hey, Slick, here’s your chance
to begin to share some of me, 
& to finally make that movie of yours,
the one in your head as you wrote me.         “Damn, why not,” I thought.

A joyous virile exciting process
began to emerge, where upon
I would use a tiny bit of the manuscript
with each poem, & break it up into episodes,
                           into pages of a screenplay, & yet
                   something leagues beyond a mere screenplay,
a volatile verbalization of every nuance of the production,
my movie,
my poem,
my Frankenstein,       A Movie of the Mind.           So I began
                                   the labor of love, transforming my manuscript
into poetic filmmaking,
31 episodes to date,
with hundreds more to come;
but like a coy maiden, 
I shall not give up all my secrets at once, no,
just a little tease at a time,
keeping them hungry for more. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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


Björn Rudberg said...

Ha.. yes we are eagerly waiting.. but one episode per week is too little... we are waiting and waiting for what will happen with your here (and yes the white buffalo what is happening there) .. glorious secret Glenn...

Claudia said...

haha... good quote to start with.. dali was just heavenly provocative...smiles
and what a cool secret as well... so you're well prepared... smiles
a cool idea that is me thinks...

Wolfsrosebud said...

the writers privilege, perhaps, to make the reader wait

Brian Miller said...

i always look forward to your blackthorne pieces...it is cool to kinda see the origin of them...love a good old spaghetti western.....your cinematic style is totally unique and i have loved seeing them play out over the years....cool too seeing both stories...the gritty kidnapping one and then blackthorne....

mrs mediocrity said...

you do always keep us coming back for more... with baited breath.

now i kind of want to read the book ;-)

Joseph Hesch said...

So that's the story behind the story! Just shows the creative light that shines within you, Glenn. And I am such a sucker for the western genre, no matter the format. Bottom line: Your a visually gifted storyteller.

Anonymous said...

Cool secret, Glenn! I love the way you write about it too, in this poem. You have hooked us all, Slick.

Anonymous said...

Glenn, You speak like a poet from the future. Your words always bring wisdom to my heart and soul.

Where do you come up with all these beautiful words? wow!!! You always write with great prose and story-telling. Amazing.

Love this poem so much. :)

cobalt girl said...

I'm so glad you shared this story. I enjoyed it immensely.

Delaina said...

Nicely done!
gotta love those spaghetti westerns.

Truedessa said...

Hi Glenn,

I am just reading tonight and of course I had to stop by for a visit. The man behind the story or the story behind the man. I have always enjoyed reading your episodes. So please continue to do so..smiling..

Daisylistens said...

Wonderful story, it's fantastic that you made somehting out of it all these years later.

Kate Mia said...

This online real time back and both feedback of poetry across the globe is truly and amazing phenomenon for connections of soul that are similar and so different in essence of one...

But the bottom line is an avenue to create like never before... and the play you direct with feedback as you go writing it in real time too.. cannot be any better than that...

As it IS inspiration that plays all of life as real!..:)

Tigerbrite said...

I really enjoyed your poem, took me back a bit:) All that work now coming to good use. I am a big fan of Dali, he gave up his secrets in the end with his autobiography 'The Secret Life of Salvador Dali' and 'Diary of a Genius'. Strange, the stuff of genius. Smiles.

Marilyn B said...

What fun! I look forward to more.

Abhra said...

Ah! so that was the history, smiles - I know more about the form now and I look forward to work on our project sometime.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read the story. You ought to publish it Glenn.

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