Saturday, December 20, 2014


image from


My prince,               all the flags of the world,
              flew at half mast to honor the death
of your King,

some white weakling 
with a high-powered rifle
shot him in the head,

and it seems that the righteous anger 
                     of centuries is now constructing
                     fire bombs row upon row;

but you need to remember           that together we saluted the fat ones, 
                                     standing shoulder to shoulder in stone stadiums,
      clutching our gladius and trident,

combating Thracians and Gauls, 
                                  and savage beasts, 
                                                our sword arms a lethal blur,
                                                our blood the same color;

we waded through
marshes of silt, shackled
with a cold steel chain
at our bleeding ankles,
hearing the devil hounds baying,
fleeing the whip and the rope;

it was in your strong brown arms
that I was held shaking with malaria,
brothers in bondage;

together            we snaked through the hot ferns
                         and elephant grass in jungle darkness,
                         beneath that impenetrable canopy
of the fucking ‘Nam, flashing
                                 silent bayonets, carrying wounded 
                                 buddies on our burly shoulders
                                 to the thropping choppers churning
                         before their dust off, shared women
                   in Da Nang, plucked dog tags
from the fists of death;

now that we are home,
do not turn on me,                  or let me have to follow
                          the dictates of the vicious
                          and ignorant between us;
goddamn it, we are better than that,
more than that, we are not enemies--

on this upcoming day of resurrection,
                          let it be our love that is risen,
                          let us sip from each other’s heart,
                          let us color Christ black,

for the Centurions are still among us,
          building crosses,
          carrying spikes,
          painting our names               on splintered signs,

so in the spirit of all we are
I reach out to you.               Brother,
                             take my hand
                  for together
we can still defeat
                             the fat ones.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted originally in 2012.

Posted today over at d Verse Poets OLN

Even though I have a cold, would you like to hear me read this poem to you?


Grace said...

I specially like this part Glenn~
let it be our love that is risen,
let us sip from each other’s heart,
let us color Christ black

What ever color Christ is, I hope we never lose sight of the message of love and brotherhood ~ It was pleasure reading your poems this year ~ Wishing you Merry Christmas Glenn ~

Anonymous said...

I visualized a Southern country preacher giving his sermon... but more common sense.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I loved how you wove this together Glenn--I sometimes wonder how it is that we have come to this place of such divide--

Anonymous said...

I applaud your reading, especially with being under the weather, just as I give kudos to the pen itself, to our shared blood. ~

vivchook said...

This is so true, Glenn - now is the time to remember our shared past, & unite against the tiny minds who forget. Powerful images, & sharp writing. Wonderful.
And Merry Christmas to you & yours. I hope to see more of you next year. xVivienne, of OneVoice Poetry

Katie Mia Frederick said...

One thing that i loved about working with the military in my 'red neck' town is the discrimination against blacks a few miles North in a solid white so-called Christian town.. where black shipmates are warned not to go at night.. does not exist behind the gates of my military station....

What a breath of fresh air that WAS.. as i still heAR hateful comments AT the in-laws get together a few miles north the other way.. on a pastor's farm as such..

And he bought all the kids T-shirts that say.. It's not about me.. it's about Jesus...

If only they painted Jesus... with love in 'ME'.. AS ANY COLOR EXCEPT FOR HATE....:)

AND TO be clear the pastor seems OK with black folks.. but it's just his congregation of family that is still lost in the DISTANT PAST from TRUE practice of unconditional love.....

i'm so glad i do not live in a big city.. as chaos does grow.. when humans pile up like lemmings in a can....:)

Happy Holidays Glenn.. in a home of Love..:)

brudberg said...

This make do much since a year like this.. We need to see that racism is actually living in part in religion.. The excluding inclusion.. Oh this is a great sermon to end this year Gkenn...

Marina Sofia said...

Even more appropriate this year... sadly, it seems that every year it becomes a more timely reminder. Very, very powerful!

Anonymous said...

This is incredibly powerful ... giving voice to what's been chained in silence in all of us -- that's where the power of liberation comes from, the defeat of light that shines too brightly. This carries through time so well. Loved it.

Joseph Hesch said...

As I noted on Facebook, this is an incredibly strong piece. I either don't have the brains or depth to write something so strong and timely as this. Great piece, Glenn! Hope you're feeling better soon.

Truedessa said...


This is a very powerful piece of writing. Written in a tongue of understanding.

let it be our love that is risen
let us sip from each other's heart.

Sorry to hear you are not feeling well. Get some rest my friend. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and let us hope in the New Year love will rise.

Gabriella said...

I think a lot of people seldom remember that Jesus was a Jew, not a Renaissance fair-haired prince, who came to abolish differences between all men, not to put them into more categories.

Gabriella said...

PS - I hope you feel better soon.

Mary said...

Very powerful writing, Glenn.
Ha, I had expected another episode of Blackthorne.

I am sorry you are ill, Glenn. Hope you feel better for Christmas!

Claudia said...

reaching out hands and see those around us as brothers... that for me has very much to do with christmas.. hope you're feeling better soon glenn - and wishing you a wonderful christmas time

Kathy Reed said...

Have always believed he was black and olive skinned...quite the striking attractive man! It's heart wrenching to wake up everyday and hear of more acts of hate and the double talk surrounding race relations...those mothers of the boys killed are so noble and fine...they are the epitome of what Christ was about..I am in awe of them...Happy Holidays, Glen, and feel well soon!

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Feel better Glenn!

kaykuala said...

This is powerful. This is tough.Very appropriate for the subject matter covered or rather uncovered. You dealt a terrific blow here direct and brave. Pray that you get well fast. Merry Christmas Glenn and Happy Holidays!


Brian Miller said...

it is interesting how we have remade jesus in our own image...he was middle eastern...i wonder too how his heart must be broken at our lives these days...

i hope you are feeling better boys woke sick off tot he doctor we go....

Brian Miller said...


i know we have asked before, but we have a pub opening...

this one is for a monday slot, once a it is not a prompt...necessarily....

in the past we have done a poetry history spot...

and interviews of pub goers....

but we are open to change as well...

a few thoughts i had were...

1. micro poetry (in the comments)

2. story story telling in the comments...where you start it with a couple lines...and then the next picks up from there and so on...might be cool...

anyway, your thoughts on if it would be an option for you...and if so, what you might think it could be from a creative stand point...