Wednesday, June 23, 2010



I grew up gypsy-wild,
my father changing jobs
like he changed shirts.
Schools, friends, neighborhoods were
a panorama of mental postcards,
flashing past my merry-go-round
in a constant stream of imagery.

Home was just a word, an illusion,
used flippantly, sounding hollow,
like saying love
when you meant lust.
Home was just a place, a feeling
that I witnessed in others,
not something within my
personal dominion, so
I just looked at my city,
Seattle, as home;
the place I was reared,
a seven-hilled city by the Sound—
even though it was
like pointing to a great hotel
and speaking
of the 40 apartments
I had lived in.

I found myself spending time
residing in the vast halls
of my imagination,
haunting movie houses, libraries, parks,
finding solace in the memory
of past lives and past homes.

One day I noticed by parents were gone,
the familiar landmarks had changed,
my friends had swapped faces
so often I could hardly recognize
any of them. I wandered for a time
naked, solitary, vulnerable,
chasing ghosts and shredded memories.

But I was lucky.
A tall woman waltzed into my life
twenty years ago and miraculously
decided to grow old with me.
We drew up our contract
with the State and with God,
and soon became the twin occupants
of a two-headed love beast,
and together grew into one
complete organism.

the word home
and the word love
inhabit common ground
midst the limitless confines
of that golden beast—
and it feels like home
every time
I hold my wife’s heart.

Glenn Buttkus June 2010


Bekki Bergeson said...

Wow! I really liked that!


Judy Mauer said...



David Gilmour said...

I see you had time to get your last workplace poem in. It must be sad to say goodby after the years of 5:30am to 4:30 pm. Ode to Melva is the force of your poem, the reminiscences a sad tale of upbringing, but were you really so sad, was moviegoing a haunting
of the cinema?

:) David

Jim Currie said...

Nice. Rings true. Several original succinct images. The lack of this in most poetry is a turnoff for me. Because of this I only read Waggoner, Yates, Givan, Rumi and few others. I'm a hard ass.


Susan Gilmour said...

Dear Glenn,

I Just woke up after the US/Algeria World Cup soccer game at Paddy Coyne's pub that kicked off at 7:00 AM and wore me out with thrills by 9:30 AM. Bad to drink dark beer with breakfast, but oh, that morning toddy was a soporific! Now I am refreshed by my nap and have read your poem "PILGRIM". I was wondering if I could make comments on a few of your lines. I am not a poet myself, but I do think of myself as a questioner of choices. And, here I get into the unsolicited part of this note. I am an admirer of poems that get to the core of an idea, image, or experience. And your lines often get me thinking. For example:

home was just a word, and illusion,
used flippantly, sounding hallow.
like saying love
when YOU meant lust.

These are good lines, Glenn. When I read them I think you mean to say "when I meant lust" which is personal and agrees with your other pronouns in the poem. Later, you say "A tall woman waltzed into..." How about "A woman waltzed tall into ..." tall having several meanings in the line now. Well, that's it. I don't want to step over any lines.

:)) Susan

Kristine Johnson said...

Wow, Glenn. I really love this one. . . K