Friday, December 14, 2007



The zealots do not fear
nor apocalypse.

Nature for them
has always worn a long white beard,
has no breasts,
and is Caucasian.
And perhaps that is as it should be
for them.

But from what dark shadow
shall spring the brain paralyzing numbness
often called
the gaining of faith,
that will somehow salve the souls
of the outriders;
the agnostics, realists, pragmatists, and pantheists?

I see prejudice
stalk the streets
like a rabid dog,
biting everyone in sight;
sprinting through our auras
like a wildfire consuming dry brush;
and no one escapes it.

So even though my topcoat
is identical to your topcoat,
and your residence is quite similiar
to mine,
your wife could be
my wife,
and our children could be
mired in the blue smoke
of a nearby tavern,
from the suds-drenched bottom
of a tall beer mug,
I ask you...

Where have the real tillers of the land gone;
the raw-boned men who knew the earth,
loved the soil,
kissed the seasons?
Just allow them to get their hands
on a decent piece of ground,
and they would laboriously clear away
the rocks and stumps,
and stab into the ground's black belly
with steel-tipped plows,
fertilize it,
water it,
stand vigil over the budding plants,
all of them filled
with a green warmth as they witnessed
the first tender shoots reaching
for the sun,
and when the time was right
they would charge through the pregnant fields
reaping the fruit.

Where have the men of the mountains gone,
the hard men,
the lonely trap setters,
pelt skinners,
hermits and hunters?
Men who walked close to their gods,
where each of them
could find the measure
of their mettle;
a shining place to conquor
their maidenhead matterhorn
and again.

Where are the men of trades,
teeming thousands,
hundreds of thousands,
with skilled bony fingers;
the millwrights, steel workers, tailors, lumberjacks,
range riders, and violin makers,
whose hands weaved the patterns
of many lives.
Men who were
as their fathers had been
before them.

I tell you they have all gone
to the city,
to the palace;
to picket the brutality of police,
the death machines;
and the weapons of mass destruction;
sunk out of sight,
gone to the melting pot,
and then to the wars.

Glenn Buttkus 1968

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