Tuesday, August 4, 2015


image borrowed from zazzle.com


The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run--Florence & the Machine.

Like so many other
myths & legends we have clung to,
dog days are still part of our vernacular.

                                   Yes, those painted & festooned Egyptians
                            celebrated them, as the rising
                 of the seething mango sun combined
          with the revered heliacal rising
of Orion’s dog star, Sirius
          in the constellation Canis Major;
                  the Romans & the Greeks continued to 
                              acknowledge them.

Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
on steamy summer nights, star of stars--
Homer from the Iliad. 
                              The Farmer’s Almanac lists them as the
                               40 days from early July to mid-August.

                  When the oppressive heat seems to
                  stimulate poor judgement, even temporary
                  madness, whereby impetuosity can lead
                                                                         to dark places;
when the ocean seethes & boils,
                 when dogs suddenly kill chickens & cats,
                 when virtuous women take a lover,
                 when faithful men lose their faith, 
                 when wine & beer turn strangely rancid,
                 when  bread molds still fresh from the oven,
                 when any one can dip into the crazy stew
and become plagued with fever & mysterious hysterics.

Like yesterday as I watched a young man jaywalk mid-block along a
busy River Road;
“What the hell is this guy doing?” 
I asked my wife--agitated, confused, & sarcastic. 

           Traffic stopped for him in our center lane, so he bolted
           into a sprint--but a blood red sedan had just speeded
           up in the outside lane to arrogantly bypass the car jam.

                        They met suddenly, brakes screeching as the car
                         slammed into him. I thought I heard a thud as his
                         body was lifted up into the air, performing a balletic
                         cartwheel within the slow motion scream of that
                         murderous moment, landing
in a rag-doll broken heap                                 in our lane.
                         “Jesus Christ, no, no--damn his stupidity--
                          God, NO!

I burst into tears, as did my wife. 
It was like watching someone being beheaded
right in front of you; stunning us with tremulous 

I could not get that terrible image out of my mind, the fucking impact,
steel versus flesh, the bone-crunching swan dive, & the pile of broken
limbs embracing the unforgiving concrete. The 6pm News mentioned
an incident with a vehicle & a pedestrian, but nothing was reported
regarding a fatality--so a glimmer of hope sprouted on our reddened

When dog days arrive,
one’s reason seems disrupted,
& all bets are off.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub Poetics

Would you like to hear me recite this poem?



Mary said...

Oh what a horrible thing to witness, Glenn. That kind of thing will stay with you for a lifetime. I remember a similar thing when I couldn't have been more than 12 years old...seeing a car hit a man & him flying. It sticks with me still. Thankfully the details are fuzzy, but he did not live.

Claudia said...

oh heck - what a terrible thing to happen... i can imagine that you cannot really forget this ever - i hope he survived... love that you use the german word hundstag

Hayes Spencer said...

I like the use of the German word. And as my great grandfather used to say when he would be rocking on the shaded side porch and watching me play hopscotch, Sis, get still, if you don't, the heat'll make you crazy and kill you deader than that June bug. I do hope the young man was okay and only had injuries that can be easily fixed. Hopefully, if no fatality was mentioned, there was none. Those TV folks love to tell us if someone died. What a horrible thing to witness and have inside your head.

Grace said...

Wow, that's terrible to see that happening in front of you ~ I have seen accidents like this a lot during summer, specially motor cycle accidents ~ There is something to be said about courting danger & thrilling fun ~

lynn__ said...

Sorry you witnessed such a horrible event...the written account is gripping (blood red sedan foreshadows violence) and leaves us stunned. Hope the young man recovers!

Gabriella said...

This is a very vivid write and I admire the way you incorporate both information and personal experience. Summer seems to bring a lot of accidents and casualties, for whatever reason. I am sorry you had to be the witnesses of this one.

Anonymous said...

So sad and sorry that you and your wife had to experience such a horrible accident.
I've never witnessed someone getting hit right before your very eyes.
I'm sure it sticks to you, the trauma, and the emotions.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

What what an amazing tale, beautifully written.

vivinfrance said...

A horrendous experience, well told. .................fewer that 25 lines it is not!

Charlotte said...

Wow. What a horrible thing to witness. You told the story well.

kaykuala said...

It is terrible to witness an accident. Once Hank saw a big blob of human body crumpled and twisted on the ground but still twitching (a big log from a lorry dropped on him) Hank could not eat properly for two days thinking about it.


Marina Sofia said...

I read your introduction with Florence and the Machine and thought it was going to be a nice, jaunty piece (I too immediately thought of that song when I heard the topic). And then you crush us with that terrible, terrible description...

Victoria said...

I like the narrative tone of this..the outline of all the crazy things people do--but then that vehicle vs. pedestrian account. How awful. Stupidity all around. What was the guy thinking, but then the driver--don't most people realize cars might be stopped for a reason. Yikes.

Kate Mia said...

Well.. in Florida.. Dog days begin in May and end in November..
for a full 6 month stay in Dog Day way..
and at the beginning of that May
dog day stay.. IS Orlando.. a convention
of Beta Club students.. Nerds..
sheltered life..
false sense
of courage..
running down
city than
mine.. Fred
meets car.. side
impact through
red light.. and
from then on
Senior.. i am
referred to
as i go over the top
of hood.. bounce
back ..make
some dents
and come
up smelling
like roses
bruise free..
i am a cat
and i still
have 8 lives
left.. and on top
of that I Loved this
horrific story of ending
not nearly THAT BRIGHT..

Abhra Pal said...

Truly - that incident is so shocking, it left me with a very heavy heart. Some memories of summer that will always be with you.

Anonymous said...

A horrific thing to witness. The fragility of life always amazes me. It is a miracle we make it through each day unscathed. I like how your story found it's way into the prompt.