Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dead Eyes

Johnny Depp at Madame Tussaunds Museum
image borrowed from fan pop.com

Dead Eyes

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through
which God sees me, one eye, one seeing, one knowing,
one love.”--Meister Eckhart.

In the late 80’s, 
          I got hooked watching the TV series,           CHINA BEACH,
                         about an evacuating hospital during
                                        the Viet Nam War, a kind of MASH without
                         all the slapstick.  There was a morgue attendant 
          character, Pvt. Beckett, played by Michael Boatman--
& on a lot of the episodes there would be scenes
                         of him tending the bodies of the slain soldiers,
           & somehow in the thick of the horrors of war,
           within the confines of that morgue,
           when he was alone with those men,
                         he demonstrated incredible tenderness & humanity,
                         washing the bodies & talking to them as if they
           were his old friends--retaining his own sanity
           while immersed in dark insanity of war.

It must take a special mind set
to become a mortician, one that finds
the emotional benefits of being truly compassionate
not only to the grieving families
but to the deceased themselves.

I think I was about twelve
           when I attended my first funeral, & it really
                                bothered me that the guest of honor,
                                                   dressed in his best suit, powdered &
                                 made up to mask the gray pallor 
                      of the face of death, was lying in this fancy
            silk-lined beautiful casket                   with his eyes closed.

“Why are his eyes closed, he’s not asleep,” I asked, 
“It removes his humanity.”   

My sweet mother pondered this before replying,
I think it’s because when the soul departs the body, life leaves
the eyes, & no one wants to peer into dead eyes.”

Even at that age,             I could see the absurdity of the traditional 
                          funeral--all that pomp & ceremony
                                        with a mere empty husk of dead flesh,
                                        with formaldehyde filling the flaccid veins,
                                        with lipstick & mascara on its face.
                      I mean why not replace the lifeless eyes
                                            with glass replicas, then prop up
                the body, heightening the ceremony
with a more natural pose.

Sure, it might seem a little creepy at first,
but no less than kissing dead lips
or staring into closed eye lids.

                Taxidermists & Wax Museum artists have always
                              had the right idea--put sparkling glass eyes
                              into those dead sockets, forcing light
to reflect off the fake pupils--heighten the illusion,
intensify the viewing.

Can you imagine the conversations following
the progressive kind of funeral I envisioned?

“Wow, Uncle Bernie looks better than he has for years!”

“I swear, Mama looked so life-like, I expected her to chide
me for the tie I selected.”

“I tell you that old bastard kept staring right at me, only me.”

“I noticed Bob’s eyes followed me all around the sanctuary.”

“I don’t truly understand it, but Sadie had joy & contentment
in her eyes. It made me smile.”

Of course, this would only be the first step
in what could become a feel-good funeral service.
We could have the deceased pre-tape messages,
& play them as certain family members approached
the open casket--& several other inspired notions
that shall remain undisclosed for now.

I’m almost serious about this.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blackthorne--Scene 35

image borrowed from hdwallpaperscool.com


Cinemagenic Thirty-Five


“When Equus leaves, if he leaves at all, it will be with
your intestines in his teeth.”--Martin Dysart.

1(medium wide shot/fade-in) a high plateau vast meadow, dotted with
fat clumps of yellow wild flowers, punctuated by red Indian paint brush.
2(sound cue) harmonica & guitar.
3(medium close-up) Long dew-covered blades of tall grass waving in
a soft breeze.
4(sound cue) pleasant wind whoosh over the harmonica riff.
5(extreme wide shot) the eternal prairie with its verdant flats lying lush
between rambunctious rolling hillocks, a dark mountain range rough
on the horizon, the day’s sun rising blood red out of the blue haze in
the distance.
6(sound cue) horse herd whinnying midst far-off galloping hooves.
7(slow zoom-in crane shot to medium frame width) as we begin to pick
out twenty-plus equestrian dark dots rolling up white dust along the
right side of the frame.
8(sound cue) twin guitars & French horns.
9(cut to helicopter shot) skimming high over the prairie toward the horses.
10(shot begins to zoom & tighten) as the lens introduces the herd galloping
ever larger into the frame.
11(sound cue) wonderful rumble of pounding hooves, the larkful whinnying
of joyous horseflesh.
12(cut to medium wide shot) camera tracking the herd at ground level.
13(medium close up) Beautiful mustang heads, rippling muscles, long
manes & tails streaming, galloping at full speed.
14(cut to the same shot in slow motion) massive shoulder muscles undulating,
manes wind-swept, tails straight out.
15(sound cue) piano & banjo.
16(medium close-up) a tall magnificent Appaloosa stallion leading the herd,
running like the lyrics of an Apache song, like the paintings on Navajo drums,
like the stories told around Comanche campfires.
17(medium wide-shot) the great spotted stud slid to a stop & the small herd
halted behind him. 
18(close-up) the stallion bobbing his head, his neck muscles bulging, staring
off to his right,
19(sound cue) Indian branch flute, train whistle, bison bellow.
20(camera dollys back) opening up the shot to include a bluff on the mesa
above the herd with a lone albino bison standing on its edge.
21(cut to medium close-up) the white buffalo as sentinel, as medicine brute.
22(sound cue) trills on Indian flute with choral chanting.
23(cut to medium wide shot) with the pair in counterpoint, the
white buffalo on the right side of the frame, the Appaloosa on
the left side, with the morning sun rising hot between them.

24(shift locale, close-up) two eagle feathers twitching, fluttering
from the back of a short-brimmed flat black hat.
25(camera dollys back) as we see an Indian wrangler in a corral;
a swarthy figure in the morning light, short & heavily muscled, wearing
a beaded vest, a white breechclout over leather breeches. 
26(sound cue) horse snort-song over Indian snake rattle.
27(cut to wide shot) a horse-breaking corral, near the large Bronson
barns on the edge of town. The wrangler standing still in front of the
central breaking post, watching a chestnut mustang--a dozen cowpokes
perched on the fence around it. 
28(close-up) the horse’s dark eyes as it shook its head.
29(two shot) the horse rearing back on its hind legs, showing itself to
be a mare.
30(close-up) the Indian’s face, smiling.
31(two-shot) the horse pawing at the ground, eying the breaking bridle
in the man’s brown calloused hands.
32(close-up) big hands with thick rope veins that stood out.
33(cut to medium close-up) a red-faced pot-bellied man in a drugstore
Western shirt, in an Eastern tan suit coat.
--Come on you half breed bastard, we don’t have all day--are you going
to fuck it or ride it?
34(medium close-up) The Indian giving no acknowledgement to the
taunting, intently watching the mare.
35(sound cue) long reedy trills on Indian branch flute.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets OLN

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Warts & All

image borrowed from southernmetals.com 

Warts and All

“There is a road from the eye to the heart
that does not go through the intellect.”
--Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Behold the beauty
of things dead & discarded;
find your reflection.

Harmony or discord, gleaming gems or gruesome garbage, three coats
of hand-rubbed wax over four coats of metallic paint on a fender or the
rust pocks & pits on it decades later sitting in a forgotten corner of a
farmer’s field, a weather vane of an iron rooster bent in half from a bolt
of lightning, a pious pile of salvaged vehicle brakes, toothless gears,
and bent hub caps, a dead John Deere with flat tires covered mostly
with blackberry vines, a building after a fire, a castle keep or rampart
centuries after deterioration, shattered swords amidst antique weaponry,
acres of old planes, military & conventional, with wires & straps waving
in the breeze, row after row of mothballed ships of past wars, huge 
wrecking yards where cars are stacked up like grotesque waffles, ivy-
choked moss-encrusted wrought iron gates hanging askance on broken
hinges, headless statues with missing wings & appendages, abandoned
houses, factories, & insane asylums still standing--filled with equal parts
pain & joy, discarded dreams, fat spiders & useless bedsprings, 100-year
old newspapers found as insulation in pioneer cabins, the sheen on
elk ribcages picked clean by predators, insects, & weather, log jams of
smashed trees clogging fast-flowing streams, lichen & fungal mushrooms
sprouting from trunks & branches, seedlings growing out of the rotted
hearts of dead-black stumps, perfect geometry created accidentally  
on sidewalks & curbs, in train yards, & across rooftops, busted padlocks,
rings of unclaimed keys, patina that has eaten through solid steel doors,
a flag preserved & displayed despite its tattered edges & cannonball
holes, ship wrecks left on remote beaches, greasy wooden bins of
old car doors & hoods, the smiling chrome teeth in old grills & bumpers,
or powerful pallets of detached engine blocks, gutted transmissions, or
huge burlap sacks of metal washers.

Beauty can reside
in hellish haze, refuse or
patina’s embrace.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Boedromion Kraftig

image from blogs.monashores.net 

Boedromion Kraftig

“So he tasted the deep pain that is
reserved for the strong.”--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tis true, pit vipers have a lethal bite.
I’ve never seen a serpent I don’t want to smite.
Last night I heard the preacher got bit,
as immediately the rattlesnake was smote,
for no man enjoys being bitten,
leaving the faithful less than smitten.

She loved to take a midnight ride,
bareback & naked, with nothing to hide.
Sometimes she was watched as she rode
by hooded men who always hid;
but she remained joyous she’d ridden
& the voyeurs remained quite hidden.

Too often Joseph stopped after work for a drink,
& from overconsumption he’d never shrink;
his terrible thirst never satisfied as he drank,
slumping, slouching into his grief he shrank--
then after, endangering others as he drove drunk,
discovering the next morning his IQ had shrunk.

That afternoon you could really hear the city’s beat,
even overriding momentarily your need to eat;
pounding & screeching hard, clanging gears, jackhammer beat,
counterpointed by your swallowing as you ate--
the city remaining victorious, never beaten
as your ham & eggs were ravenously eaten. 

They say that little Werner just had to fly,
and his grand dreams continued to grow,
until the first successful solo he flew
as his confidence & expertise grew,
until soaring faltered as years had flown,
skills diminished & passion was overgrown.

As any storm subsides, the birds will sing,
embracing the stillness with notes that ring;
cheering travelers, so grateful they sang,
with critters hyper-aware of what rang;
even the sun complimenting what was sung
as great trees expand a rung.

Poets often need that perfect word to find,
avoiding putting a stanza in a bind;
needing a publisher & a public to be found
before seeing their own volume bound.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets MTB

For Victoria, calling for "revisiting the use of verbs". I chose Strong Verbs.
Boedromion = March in Greek
Kraftig = Strong in German. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

They Call the Wind Tornado

image borrowed from niltoid.com

They Call the Wind Tornado

“Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed
shaken in the wind.”--Johannes Brahms.

Granted          there a lot of ways        one can be
        an adrenaline junkie,
                        can court danger, but         being a storm chaser,
        especially playing tag or hop scotch with a tornado
                        always seems to top the list for me. 

You are hip to tornadoes, right?
       a violently rotating whirlwind bitch
                     column of rogue air extending from
                                   fecund storm clouds all the way to the ground,
                     like Satan’s whores whelping
        wind demons, whipping up turbulence
up to, or even exceeding 300 m.p.h.

We often hear about                 Tornado Season,                  usually
                during Spring & Summer, when the hot gas warriors
         get romantic with the cold air maidens,
but the truth is               there is no set date or end date
               for these hellish whirling behemoths, because
         if the conditions are considered “just right”,
a tornado can occur
anytime of the year.

The Storm Lovers & Chasers,
both professional & amateur,              will be on alert continuously,
                ready to run north & south,
                               up & down the Midwest within
                                                 the parameters of Tornado Alley,
from North Dakota south to
        the edge of Minnesota,
                           South Dakota,
                           the edge of Colorado,
                                                Texas & Louisiana.

I once was in Louisiana           during a zero visibility       thunderstorm,
                      when a EF3 tornado touched down
                      only a half mile away, as it became
                                                 midnight at noon, & the wind howled
                                                 like a vicious pack of banshees.
                      Luckily we outdrove it, but the nightmare memory

For the hardy macho Storm Chasers,
                      their achievements & bragging rights
                                         relative to specific tornadoes, ranging
                      in width from a few meters to more than a mile,
                                         deal with their ferocity, which
                      is measured in EF levels.

with winds ranging from 65 to 85 m.p.h.,
doing minor to no damage;
maybe tearing off a few shingles 
& some siding, 
                            maybe breaking off some branches, or
                            knocking over some small trees.

with winds ranging from 86 to 110 m.p.h.,
doing moderate damage;
downing power lines from fallen trees,
              severely ripping up roofs,
                          overturning mobile homes,
                                   while tearing off roofs, exterior doors,
                                                     & breaking out every kind of glass window.

with winds ranging from 111 to 135 m.p.h.,
doing considerable damage;         tearing roofs completely off,
                                                      shifting foundations,
                                                      mobile homes completely destroyed,
                                                      snapping large trees in half.
                                                      toppling commercial 18-wheelers,
                                                      lifting cars off the ground, &
                                                      turning light objects into missiles.
with winds ranging from 136 to 165 m.p.h.,
doing severe damage           tearing the top story off of houses,
                      damaging large buildings,
                      derailing trains,        tearing trees out of the ground,
                                              lifting up cars & tossing them around.
with winds ranging from 166 to 200 m.p.h.,
doing devastating damage,
completely leveling houses, with
cars & trucks & large objects
lifted & tossed about.

with winds ranging from 200 to 300 m.p.h,,
causing complete destruction
hitting like an atomic bomb,       homes leveled,
                                                   foundations swept away,
                                                   collapsing tall buildings,
                         or causing severe structurial deformities.

don’t even get me started
on all the other                        Acts of Nature,
                          like floods, hurricanes, typhoons, &
                          volcano eruptions.                    

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blackthorne: Scene Thirty-Four

image borrowed from live auctioneers.com


Cinemagenic Thirty-Four


“I would rather hear my dog bark at a crow
than a man swearing he loves me.”
--Beatrice from MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 

1(two-shot) over Wallace’s shoulder.
Buck: I’m obliged to you.
2(medium close-up) Wallace: For what?
3(close-up) Buck: For befriending a man who didn’t deserve one.
4(two-shot) over Buck’s shoulder.
Wallace: Deserving had nothin’ to do with it.
5(sound cue) saloon piano.
6(medium close-up) Buck, staring a his cup as he sipped the spirits,
then looking up: I need to clear the air. My Dad & I were just not close
before his death, so it is good to know that there was someone who
looked after him--but just because you were his friend, that don’t mean
we have to be friends. My father was one man, I’m another. 
7(medium close-up) Wallace: Whoa, hoss, rein up a bit--I think my damn
whiskey is kicking up some past dust. Hey, I expect nothing from you,
especially now--& I don’t expect thanks for befriending a man that most
folks spit on.
8(two-shot) the men in profile, Buck: Uh-huh--it’s just some things that 
needed saying.
Wallace: No worries.
9(sound cue) flute & harmonica.
10(medium close-up) Buck: Antlered Buck was once a grand rancho. There
were horses sired there that could out run the wind.
11(two-shot) angle on Wallace: And I have no doubt that one day your ranch
will rise again.
Buck: Where can I pick up some brood mares & a decent stallion?
12(medium close-up) Wallace: I hate to say it, but Cash Bronson’s probably
got the best stock to choose from.
13(close-up) Buck: To hell with that--Bronson & I will meet soon enough. If I
have to I’ll ride clear to Silver City to buy some horseflesh.
14(medium wide shot) The two men just standing & drinking--Salina no longer
out in the back yard; after a quiet moment.
Wallace: You’ll probably need to take on a hand.
15(sound cue) six-string guitar chords, Indian seed rattle.
16(two-shot) angle on Buck: You looking for a part-time job?
17(medium close-up) Wallace, his eyes twinkling:
--Hey, I didn’t always wear this apron. I used to be a fair wrangler.
18(close-up) a grin widening on Buck’s face.
19(medium close-up) Wallace: No, there is this half--breed that used
to work for your Pa a bit. I’ve seen him around the stock pens. He’s 
a top bronc-buster--calls himself Johnny Eagle.
20(two-shot) angle on Buck: 
--Sounds like a good man, I’ll be looking him up.
Wallace: He won’t be hard to find. I hear he hangs out at the Cantina.
21(medium wide-shot) Buck: Thanks for the hooch & the palaver.
He started for the door.
Wallace: Son....
22(sound cue) harmonica slide.
23(two-shot) Buck turned back toward him.
Wallace: That was a serious offer we made on your place. There might come
a day when you get that old itch to see what’s on the other side of those hills;
if that happens, just pull up & ride. If you sell to us, you will always be welcome
24(medium close-up) Buck, still smiling, arms folded:
--I’ve seen the other side of those hills, & the mountains beyond. Right now
I’m headed for the bathhouse; after that I doubt I’ll be scratching anything. 
25(two-shot) Wallace: There are those who will appreciate your cleanliness.
Buck: Does your daughter have any suitors?
Wallace: Salina?
Buck: How many daughters you got?
26(medium close-up) Wallace, laughing: One is more than enough--but know
this, Miss Salina is the hog’s drawers, the cat’s butt--& she knows it. So far
she hasn’t taken up with any of these local tomcats. I think she scares most
of them.
27(close-up) Buck: I like her.
28(close-up) Wallace: So does Thor Bronson.
29(sound cue) snare drum & saxophone.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN

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