Thursday, December 17, 2015

Enter Stage Left

image of me in a Commedia play.

Enter Stage Left

“Love art in yourself, & not yourself
in art.”--Konstantin Stanislavski.

1960--16 years old, sophomore in high school, got my driver’s 
license, first car a 1952 Chev business coupe, got laid for the
first time, wanted to turn out for football, play at fullback, but
joined the Stage Crew instead, became a scene painter secondary
to my love of sketching/painting, created a painting of a Mississippi
riverboat on an 80’ X 30’ scrim.

        1961--Junior year High school, while wrestling with a friend
        back stage over a Yankee screwdriver, hit him in the mouth
        & knocked out his front teeth, chained the disliked Shop teach-
        er’s new Edsel to a phone pole, then felt guilty when it pulled
        the bumper off.
                      1962--graduated from high school, saw Elvis while
                       attending the World’s Fair in Seattle where he was
                       making a movie, made the transition from stage hand
                       to actor, playing Sitting Bull in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN,
                       winning the Best Actor of the Year award.

                                         1963--decided against college, went to work
                                          in my father’s machine shop located next to
                                          the Duwamish River, got fired because I refused
                                          to pull out a dead wharf rat that had crawled into
                                          a welder & got fried; can still smell it.

1964--got a scholarship & attended a community college, starring as
Benedict in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, began to get serious about
writing poetry, inspired by English professors.

            1965--graduated from Highline College first in my class, having
            dreams about achieving success as an actor & writer, transferred
            to the U of W, English & Drama major.

                          1966--Viet Nam War was raging & I got drafted right out
                          of school, but got a 120 day delay for boot camp because
                          my mother was dying.

                                        1967--got out of boot camp, designated the
                                         Outstanding Recruit Squad Leader, six months
                                         later reprimanded for my bad attitude; got fired as
                                         Captain’s Driver at NAS Miramar. 

                                                       1968--discharged from the service,
                                                  started back to college as Drama major,
                                            had to help an old girlfriend, impregnated by
                                      old friend while I was away, to find a midnight
                              abortionist, both illegal & traumatic. 

1969--became a college Star in play after play,

1970--auditioned for the U of W’s fledgling BFA Professional Actor’s
Training Program, accepted & began three years of conservatory 
training; hell, I was on my way--too bad it didn’t work out.

Sex, drugs, & rock ‘n roll;
the 60’s were all that & more--
my baptism of fire.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub MTB

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene 51

image from


Cinemagenic Fifty-One


“Breathe next to me--and I will capture a piece
of your soul along with mine.”--Marikit Camba.

1(sound cue) more snare drum over horses nickering.
2(overhead crane shot) The stallion raced around the corral trap
as the three mares made a fuss & pulled against their ropes. The
Appaloosa bucked, jumped, kicked out his hind legs & then raised
up on them, wild-eyed punching at the dusty air.
3(medium wide shot) Buck & Johnny Eagle standing quietly behind
the pole gate.
4(tighter wide shot) the stallion calmed down finally, & stood regally
alongside his pinto bride.
5(close-up) the Appaloosa’s eyes calming, but his nostrils still
flaring, as the Indian’s scent seemed to defuse his anxiety.
6(sound cue) piano & harmonica.
7(medium close-up) Johnny’s face, aglow with excitement.
--God’s heuvos, that is one damn fine horse!
8(two-shot) angle on Buck--Hey, brother, it worked. Chatawa is ours.
9(two-shot) the stallion whickered, bobbing his head, the muscles bulging
in his leopard neck. The pinto mare only had eyes for him, but she did
glance sideways at the men.
10(tight two-shot) angle on the Eagle, over Buck’s shoulder:
--No, he is all yours, jumping right out of the clouds for you, folding
back his wings, mist still steaming off his spotted rump. You know
he has great medicine & a warrior’s heart, & one day soon he will
be pleased to carry your big bones. It is my honor to help break him.
11(sound cue) slide guitar blues lick over castanets.
12(medium two-shot) angle on Buck--Well, he’s not mine yet; only
the arroyo wind has been his rider. I will have to earn my claim on him.
13(tighter two-shot) angle on Johnny--With his spirited tonatas at stud,
you will build the finest rancho in the territory. He will sire magnificent
colts. Bronson will shit himself with raw envy.
14(medium wide-shot) Johnny slipped under the bottom pole & stood up,
his yellow hair lariat slack in his right hand.
15(tight two-shot) angle on Johnny’s face--You see his split ear? You are
a lucky hombre, boss--he’s been Nez Pierce trained. Appaloosas like him
have already been tamed & ridden, but never broken. This one has let
loose of his fear. He is just waiting to meet his new Master.
16(sound cue) harmonica, clarinet, & Indian branch flute.
17(close-up) Buck’s huge smile.
18(medium wide-shot) the stallion stepped out in front of his
staked mares, stamping his right front hoof--but there was no
sign of anger in him.
19(overhead crane shot) the three mares strained to bunch up 
as Chatawa & the Eagle squared off.
20(cut to medium two-shot) as Johnny began to walk slowly
toward the stallion--Sure, I know, hellfire stud, these are your
women. We will not hurt them. They will stay with you as your
companions. We will not hurt you either. No, no--we will give
you love. Do you remember love, Chatawa?
The stallion held the Indian’s scent in his nostrils, & upon hearing
his Indian name, he began to quiet down again.
21( medium close-up) angle on the Eagle over the stud’s shoulder:
--Yes, I am talking to you, brave boy with the ass like thunderclouds,
do you remember love. gentle hands, the smell of bison?
22(sound cue) coronet over pounding buffalo hooves.
23(medium two-shot) Johnny’s voice as narration--There is a buffalo
right there; you & he will be grande partners. You two prairie giants
have seen plenty of those big humps crashing to earth, huh?
24(angle on the Eagle) continuing to move slowly toward the stallion,
his rope now looped--Chatawa, do you see this rope?
25(close-up) he tossed the loop onto the ground near the stud’s hooves.
The great horse flinched, but stood his ground.
--That’s right, just an old rope, not a snake, harmless. It smells of horses,
mesquite, buffalo crap, sweat, & me. Johnny gathered up the rope, &
took a step closer.
26(sound cue) Indian seed rattle & kettle drum.
27(two-shot) in slow motion; the dappled stud lunged at him, but Johnny
was ready, quickly side-stepping & flicking the wide lariat loop over 
Chatawa’s head, then swing-wrapping it around a breaking stake, all in
a cicada click. The horse stopped, & stood tall.
28(medium close up) Johnny: You see, you are not hurt.
The Indian bent down & ripped out a handful of sweet bunch grass, &
tossed in near the stallion. Chatawa immediately began to munch the
treat. Johnny unwrapped the yellow rope & dropped it in the red dust.
29(medium two-shot) Johnny leaning against the inside of the poles,
& Buck with his ams folded over the top one.
--It grows late, boss. Let’s unstake his ladies & let them all calm down
over night. We will continue in the morning. I tell you, he has such
great spirit; I’ve never seen greater.
--Buck: And he knows love. That will be our key with him-his heart.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Where are the Doves?

image borrowed from

Where are the Doves?

“The 20th Century was the most murderous in recorded history.
The total number of deaths associated with wars exceed
187 million people.”--Eric Hobsbaun.

As Miss Kentucky replied to the judge’s inquiries for the Miss 
America crown, “I just wish for world peace & brotherhood.”
     As John Lennon & the Beatles sang, “Just give Peace a
     chance--all we need is love.”
           As the stoned rebellious hippies used to chant, “Make
           Love, not War”, flashing the peace sign.
                  As Gandhi used to say, “There is a sufficiency in
                  the world for man’s need, but not his greed.”
                      As Christians preach, “Love thy enemy”.
                             As poets write Poetry for Peace”,

I look at the unassailable data, the sad & hard truths, 
that human nature proves to be more bellicose than
it is peaceful--& this creates strife between siblings,
spouses, sports teams, neighborhood street gangs,
state & federal legislators & paralyzingly partisan 
politicians--& when scrutinized we find, to our dismay,
that there is no actual down time without conflict, chaos,
& cataclysmic events.

Yes, facts do lie, misrepresent & distort the truth,
                depending on which part is taken out of
                           context, before it becomes perverted,
                                   or re-channeled to better fit the selfish
                           needs of the pollsters & politicians 
                                   & professional manipulators--but I tell
you that rock hard data exists relative
                           to wars & their deadly consequences,
                staining the pale pages of history
                           with the blood of both the warriors
                 & the innocents caught up in the warfare.

1900    the Boxer Rebellion  (35,000)
1904    Germany vs. Nambia  (65,000)   
1904-05  Japan vs. Russia  (150,000)
1910-1920  Mexican Revolution (250,000)
1911  Chinese Revolution (2.4 million)
1903-1923  Ottoman Empire vs Italy, Armenia, & Greece (3 million)
1914-1918  World War I  (20 million)
1917-1921  Russian Revolution (5 million)
1918-1920   Russian Civil War  (1 million)
1928-1932   Chinese Civil War  (2 million)
1931  Japan vs. Manchuria  (1.1 million)
1932-1933  Soviet Union vs. Ukraine (10 million)
1936-1937  Stalin’s purges  (13 million)
1936-1945  Spanish Civil War (1 million)
1939-1945  World War II  (55 million)
1950-1953  Korean War  (3 million)
1964-1973  Vietnam War  (3 million)
1966-1969  Chinese Cultural Revolution (11 million)
1975-1979  Khmer Rouge, Cambodia  (2 million)
1977-1988  Soviet Union in Afghanistan  (1.3 million)
1991  Gulf War (85,000)
1996  War in the Congo (4 million)
2003-2011  Second Iraq War (160,000)
2011-2015  Iraq & Syrian Civil Wars (700,000).

Today Presidential candidates posture & squabble with each
other a full year before we elect a new President--but who is 
talking about making plans for peace?  Fear is the daily 
companion, & terror is the watch word & reality. Politicians
are panicking, playing right into the lethal radical Islamic 
plotting--the Holy War is upon us, another World War looms.

Innocent blood is just beginning to flow.
The beautiful doves are being slaughtered by the hawks.
The peaceniks are being battered & shouted down.

Where in the murderous midst of the bloodshed & carnage
is the hope, even a faint whiff of Peace? If it is there, I cannot
find it. I think it will have to just appear, materialize out of the
abysmal darkness like a magnificent white unicorn accompanied
by divine trumpetry & edict. On that triumphant day, I swear,
I will whole-heartedly embrace it. 

Why must War precede
Peace? Why is Peace so fleeting?
God only knows, not I.


Glenn Buttkus

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Gloaming

image by mary kling

The Gloaming

“The gloaming has begun. We’re in the darkness, & we
know this has happened before.”--Thom Yorke.

OK, this happened--I’m sitting here staring at a body of water
that is moving. Is it a river, a bay, the Sound, or the ocean? It
seems familiar. Have I been here before? I seemed to know
the way. It is not frightening.

Why am I all dressed up? A nice gray flannel suit, just like
Gregory Peck. Oh, that’s hilarious, I can remember that movie
but I don’t know my own name. Hell, it will be my luck that
my name will be stupid anyway, like Archiebald, Horatio, Dudley,
Efrem or Elmer. What day is this? Have I just come from church
like a lost lamb? Or am I a minister? No, I swear too much to be
a decent holy man. That’s it, I’m a defrocked priest, slumming at
some Protestant church, with three wise wives in three different
cities, telling them all that I’m a traveling bible salesman, when
actually I work undercover for the government, probably the CDA.

I’m really hungry. I can see it’s late afternoon or early evening. When
did I eat last? Do I have a wallet with cash & ID in it? No, my pockets
are empty. I have strong hands with rope-like veins, but smooth palms,
no callouses--maybe an artist, writer, business or con-man?

If someone comes along should I ask them if they know me? Am I
a dangerous man? Have I hurt people? Do I have children or grand-
children? I see a wedding ring, but I have no recall of a wife. Am I
a widower?

Why am I weeping? I don’t see any blood, or feel any pain--yet, for
Christ’s sake, I can’t quit crying. If I don’t stop pretty soon, someone
will notice & start asking me questions--but hell, then again, I might
get something to eat, or get to go for a ride somewhere. 

Lost in the gloaming,
gray ash falling tenderly;
no light to guide you.

Glenn Buttkus

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger!

Image by Mary Kling

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger!

“I think history is continuous--it doesn’t begin or end
on Pearl Harbor Day or 9/11. We have to learn about
the past, but never be imprisoned by it.”
--Richard Holbrooke.

Four blood red chairs face the bay. Bob’s wife leaves them that way.
Bob had a tradition of meeting with three of his Navy buddies every
December 7th--since they were all Pearl Harbor survivors. They 
started this getting together, this ceremony in 1960.

They talked about the curse of Seven, attacked on a Sunday, both
the seventh day of the week & the month, as seven battleships
were moored in a nice line like sitting ducks, and the first wave
of Japanese zeroes came in at 7:55 am.

Bob had been on the Nevada. It left its berth & made a break for the
open sea, but it was attacked & damaged so severely, it had to beach
itself. Danny had been on shore in the barracks, since his ship, the
Pennsylvania was in dry dock. He had been getting ready for church.
Joe had been on the Oklahoma, that was hit by several torpedoes &
was so severely damaged, it listed to port & tipped over upside down.
He had been beneath decks in the stern. Ten nightmarish hours later,
the welders opened up an escape hole for some of them. Harry had
been on the California--hit  by several bombs it remained afloat for
three days before it sank. He had been a deck gunner, & his crew
shot down four zeros to thunderous applause.

By 1990, it was just Bob & Joe left. They didn’t talk much, just sat
there staring off to the West, hardly looking at each other. Joe died
on 09/11/2003. Bob sat alone for a decade more, smoking his Lucky
Strikes, drinking a beer, & his wife enjoyed listening to him talking
boisterously to his three pals, all yakking it up like they had fifty
years before. Every year on December 7th, she thinks she can still
hear them faintly on the wind. 

Four empty chairs face
West toward the Pacific, &
memories reside. 

Glenn Buttkus

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Persia Becomes Iran

image from

Persia Becomes Iran

In 1935, Sir Malcolm Campbell drove an automobile
at over 300 mph.”--Associated Press.

Sweating in September--& hell’s bells, we’re eating

“How about that Babe leaving the Yankees for
the Braves?

How about Braddock beating Baer for the heavyweight

“I’d rather listen to radio shows.”

Have you heard this new guy--Bob Hope?

“I heard Ezra Pound met Mussolini.”

I’d rather hear Fibber McGee & Molly.

Glenn Buttkus

A Flash 55 for With Real Toads

Friday, December 4, 2015


image from John Guttman  1935


“During the Great Depression, audiences loved the funny men,
laughing their worries away. So I decided to become one.”
--Jerry Stiller.

“Come on, buddy-boy--forget about Mary-Lou. She’s a bitch

“I know, but I was in love with her.”

“Never trust a trapeze artist.”

“Maybe I’ll get a real job, & quit this horseshit clowning.

“It’s 1935. We’re in a Depression. You’re a dwarf. Get real.”

“Ah, it’s all crap. I hear Babe Ruth is retiring too.”

Glenn Buttkus

Posted for Mama Zen over at With Real Toads

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Inspiration on Rye

image from

Inspiration on Rye

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to
accept the one that’s actually waiting for us.”
--Joseph Campbell.

Yeah, it’s two a.m. 
          in Sin City, as the twin moons of March
                         hiss like licorice lawn sprinklers--
          it’s all swamp gas & maple syrup sweetness
                         there in the cobblestone alley, where
the blasphemous bricks babble Beatles’ tunes
          from their Caucasianist album & the red-velvet
          cake dumpsters love to perform chest-bumps &
                                                     French-kisses, spilling
                                            their left-over pizza crusts &
                                       Chinese food that always tasted
                                 like Syrian kerosene when you
                                 touched them.

Bobalina’s Bistro-Club & Pub                     opens up just as
                                 everyone else is closing their 
                         joints down. The door marked 
                 THE DAMNED is illuminated with sticky
          sheets of firefly nipple-honey, slathered
on so thick that it sounds like a wet
          weasel tail to the casual touch.     It is 10’ wide & 3’ tall,
                                           just off the alley, where the back
                                           is the front, & easy to hear for all
                                           the hippest trolls, those churlish
                                           children of the night, appearing
still-born & anxious 
out of spinning shadows     that felt like warm ice-water when
                        someone passed through them,
                        where a hundred angry voices,
                        clenched like a cocaine fist, were
launched from three dozen pie-holes
baking up bombastic bacon-wrapped
ballads & herring-soaked hirsute hosannas
as smug hyenas in beaver top hats & cork
boots banged their long silver wallet chains
in the pious piss-puddles adjacent to the exit
where everyone entered.

I’ve heard through the juicy peach that the juke opened up in the
late 40’s, financed by Holocaust survivors, & rapidly became the
club of choice for a lot of the sad Beat Poets, who readily admit
that all their best poetics were first carved into the men’s
room stall doors with dull carrot stilettos, with many of their
wurst-words transcribed into hand-stitched burn marks on
the rough underbellies of laughing purple loaves of Russian
Rye, that still lurk crucified on bloody nails in the nameless
dark passage ways, unnoticed, unless some silly customer
wants to use a flashlight as a microphone, or lights up a fat
doobie with a WWII Zippo, always hearing that tell-tale click 
that tastes like a chocolate carbuncle drenched in lighter fluid.

Bukowski had furious fistfights in the alley. Burroughs had sex
with Siamese twin typewriters while munching on black meat
muffins. Ginsberg ran naked, howling in pain, sporting a two
foot red dildo that was inserted in his butt. Kerouac constantly
recited bad haiku, that always tasted of rancid saki, & never 
made any profit. Most of us young Turks hung out there all
night, every night, taking turns sitting in Picard’s swivel chair,
mumbling, “Make it so.”

Poets find their own
inspiration in the odd
corners of chaos.


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub MTB