Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Sanctuary

image by glenn buttkus

The Sanctuary

“Each of us has an inner room, a sanctuary where
we can visit to be inspired.”--Glenn Buttkus

It was an old bachelor’s apartment
      with liver, onions & fish still prevalent odors
adhered to the paisley floral wallpaper,
      with cigarette burns & tattered rips
freckling the 50’s turquoise carpet,
      with what might have been blood stains
under the narrow single bed,
      with very tall ceilings that were pock-marked
      with greasy popcorn plaster bumps,
an asbestos-ridden affect from the past, rife in
every dirty cluster,
       with ornate steel steam radiators against
two of the walls, dark blanched spots behind them,
        with a small kitchen that had several cupboards 
too high to reach without standing on a chair,
        with a squat noisy refrigerator that had a deeply
dented door & bent rusty shelves,
        with a cracked porcelain sink that had dark
mysterious stains & no plug,
         with a large bathroom, resplendent
         with an ancient lion-legged bath tub, and a 
six foot tall narrow vertical window
         with smoked glass to provide privacy.

From the alley outside, one could see the cheery
wrought iron barred gate that covered that window,
as if there were valuables or treasure inside, and 
the red ladder for the fire escape, within easy reach
if egress was ever a necessity.

The price was right--this
apartment would suffice as

a writer’s sweet den.    

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub  


annell said...

I like it...I'll take it! It seems just right, as a place to write!

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

"with very tall ceilings that were pock-marked
with greasy popcorn plaster bumps,"

MANY favorite lines here....but will put these two down. A sweet writer's dream indeed. Reminds me of the apartment I had in graduate school....when I had my first dog -- long haired and I had no vacuum. My "living room" with a variety of used (certainly not gently used) furniture and dark green awful carpeting that, after 1 week there with my dog, looked like what I sweetly called "mohair carpet!" And then there was the vent in the floor of my kitchen that was a grate, open to the kitchen below, used by about 8 male Asian grad students who boiled their rice/fish/whatever over on their stove every day/night and the smells came wafting up to compete with the canned Chef Boyardee on my stove! And then there was the time I put out D-Con because I'd seen a (as in one) mouse and woke up the next morning, swung my legs out to step on the floor and luckily, through bleary eyes, realized my floor was COVERED with dead mice! That my dear friend, was not a "sweet den" rather a pit to live in for my 1 year of grad school. I trust you....yours must have ended up having a sweetness to it...it must....otherwise your writing would not be so amazing!!!! Thanks for posting to the prompt! I always always love seeing how you reply!

Alison H said...

I can smell, taste and visualise every aspect of this apartment....my roving seafaring uncles had ones just like this...I can hear the pans banging int he background and smell the sweat and ashtrays..odorous....

Frank Hubeny said...

From the outside it looks like an attractive sanctuary. I hope the inside is better than Lillian's or Alison's description above, but that might make it an even more interesting place to write.

Victoria said...

This is one of the best-ever setting-descriptions I've ever read. Every little detail painted so clearly, involving the senses. I feel like pilagerizing (I can't spell anymore) this and turning it into a novel. And your quote. I need to copy it for my workstation. Spot-on, my friend.

Grace said...

Love the quote, the detailed sensory descriptions of the writer's sweet den Glenn ~ I like big windows personally, with lots of light but I do understand that each writer's perspective is unique. We have our own internal sanctuary, our own home ~

Gemma Wiseman said...

Vibrant descriptions - appealing to an appreciation of all the senses. Like a feast... for the hungry writer.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ha, I remember renting places like that, back in the day, when I was young and Making Do....you have described it to a T!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

p.s. In those days, the rent was $40 or $50, instead of $1400. LOL. Oy, vey!

Toni Spencer said...

Oh my. What a wonderfully descriptive poem. It puts me in mind of a friend of mine's apartment back in the good old days. It always smelled of incense, cigarette smoke, popcorn, and pot. It was an SRO but with a lion limbed bathtub in the center of the kitchen. Thistook me back years ago.

Sumana Roy said...

Very atmospheric and visual with such wonderful details.

sarah said...

It reminds me of an urban, late 20th century Walt Whitman. I like it very much. You build up layers of image, like layers of wallpaper in an old room.

Kim Russell said...

Your old apartment smelled of liver, onions & fish - my old flat in Cologne always smelled of someone else's cabbage! The decor sounds about par for the course for a struggling writer's meagre means. But I have only ever seen those kinds of fire escapes in American movies, TV shows and, once, in real life in New York! They are quintessential and, for a non-American, so romantic!

Kathy Reed said...

Wonderfully described, per your usual excellence..a window to remember for sure! Your muse carried you through still.