Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Locked Gate Betrayed by Rust

image by buttkus

A Locked Gate Betrayed by Rust

“Dying is a wild night, & a new road,”
--Emily Dickinson.

A locked Gate betrayed by Rust
And an indecisive Padlock--
Will appear to Block my Way
But I can still Walk

Past the Iron Angels--Gargoyles
And concrete Lambs to wander
Midst Stone Tablets bearing carved Names
Whose Spirits have fled Yonder--

Shadowed Now by Celtic & Christian
Crosses--some overgrown with Moss--
Nettles--tiny Wildflowers--thick Thistles
Mantling Dates and diminishing Loss--

Discovering a forgotten Tombstone--
War Fatality hidden in a dark Corner--
Death in 1944 bearing my Name--
So am I Inhabitant or Mourner?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub MTB

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Natural High

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Natural High

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”--John Keats.

I stopped by a pal’s place yesterday on the high plateau at the edge
of the foothills, the shoulder pads for Mt. Rainier. We grabbed our 
cameras & drove up along the northern thigh of the grand mountain,
where various levels of reforestation reside, from seedlings to 80 ft.
regrowth. Here & there were the spared elder 100 foot firs towering
over everything--lamenting the ancient scars left on several hillsides,
the clear cuts, looking like mange spots on stray dogs.

Soon we traveled along the familiar Forest Service Road 70, enjoying
the steep serpentine journey up into the secret pass, Nachez, a passage
known only to hunters, loggers, geologists, & woodsmen. We stopped
at the crest, above 5000 feet, where squads of clouds drifted ghostly
below us like wispy boas draped on the verdant necks of the hilltops.

We stopped, got out & raised our arms to the cerulean sky, framed by
bleached white snags whose twisted limbs all pointed toward her
majesty, Rainier--capped in flat lenticulars, partially mantled with a
fat puffy cumulus vest, many of her cliffs & crags exposed naked to
the heat rays of July; but glorious still in her summer outfit. 

Breath that delicious chilled air--Christ, I wish we could bottle it!

Weaving down the east side of Nachez, we could still hear the wind’s
angelic choir serenading us; windows down, gulping the sweet perfume
of jack pines, larch, & cottonwoods.

Your heart becomes a 
harp when you are welcomed by
mountain majesty.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Poetics

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fresno Flyer

image by buttkus.

Fresno Flyer

“I know my mother named me after a railroad man,
but it’s too late to change it now.”--Hoagy Carmichael.

Riding the rails was
a national mode of real
transportation once.

When I was nine, we lived in Georgetown,
close to the Rainier brewery, & a huge train yard.

I used to walk to school, cutting across the yard
to save several blocks of travel. One sunny morning

as I stepped across a complicated maze of tracks, a
switchman down the line swung his great lever, activating

the tracks beneath me to switch. This happened quickly & it caught
my right foot between the shifting rails, making a horrendous clunk.
My small foot was uninjured, but my shoe was hopelessly stuck. I
put my Roy Rogers metal lunchbox down on the cross-ties, & tugged
& tugged to no avail. 

Then I saw & heard a clanking line of boxcars backing
          toward me. Panicked, I managed to pull my foot out, 
                    abandoning my shoe. The grunting train backed past me,
                              as I stood a few tracks away. The engineer in the
                    locomotive saw me, & made an angry gesture, waving his    
           arm, pointing out of the yard. His actual words were lost beneath
    the sound of great metal bogie wheels squeaking on shiny steel tracks,
& the chug-chug-chug of the diesel engine. I retrieved what was left of my
                     shoe, & sort of wore it at school that day. I got a whipping
                     when I got home--they had been a new pair of shoes, but
                     the leather belt welts didn’t keep me out of vast fascinating
                     train yard.

When I was a kid
I used to think that working
for the Railroad would be a great job        but by the time I was a teenager
                           I decided I would be a movie star/writer/teacher; & I was
                           in a limited sort of way. Still I studied trains, loved them
                           & photographed them.

When you look at it,
train terminology becomes a poem in itself--
Baker valve gears,
Buchlie drive,

Firebox, Couplers, Lempor injectors,
Crossheads, Quill drive, Dead Man’s switch,
Haman speed indicator, jackshaft, Kuhn slides,
Johnson Bar & Hancock air whistles.

Boxcar blues still thrump
like a slide guitar midst my
midnight insomnia.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Poetics

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Philosophy of Philosophy

image borrowed from gravity

The Philosophy of Philosophy

“In other words, apart from the known & the unknown,
what else is there?”--Harold Pinter.

With good study skills,
we approach philosophy
like a bitch in rut.

Was Jesus a philosopher?
                     Perhaps--certainly he shared what
                                                   he believed, making an indelible
          imprint on history; or was he just
          a messianic messenger parroting
          the stern loving views of Jehovah--
an innocent lamb marked for sacrifice?

There was a time
when only Philosopher Kings governed,
because in their exalted view,
the people were either too ignorant
or completely incapable of fathoming
the holy realm of Politics.

Philosophy is strictly defined as the study of knowledge regarding
logic, metaphysics, ethics, & aesthetics--but in casual speak it can
expand its definition to include any basic belief, concept, or attitude
of any individual or group. So I find myself stumbling about in various
belief systems which dredge up all religions, racism, patriotism, sexism
& politics, exhausting my efforts to draw the lines, shore up the sound
bites, embrace a religion, or trust our elected representatives.

I must say that for me
       it is through poetry that I most easily
                          promulgate, investigate & share my
                          personal beliefs & my 
                          philosophies; a forum where it is less likely
                                     that I will catch a bullet in my teeth, or be
                          incarcerated for my views. 
                                                                    If you spend a year reading
                   someone’s poetry, you may assume that you actually
            know them, that you could accurately predict
what motivates & moves them.                    If you feel that way, you would
                                        be wrong, of course, because most poets
                                        are chameleons--except for those who are not.

And there’s the rub. It is difficult enough
to really understand your spouse.
                                your peer group,
                                your children,
                                your world, & even
                                your self.

Inhabiting the moment, cataloging the tragedies of the day through the bias
of the media, as decades click by like a playing card lashed to a spinning
bicycle wheel, I sincerely lament the lack of luster, & the reduction of choices
within a beautiful mind--that once was open all night, where everyone was
welcome, that now is changing, hardening into a dingy diner in a bad part
of town that keeps odd inconsistent hours, that only offers a menu written
in the last century, where the crusty cranky proprietor naps too often, & is
paranoid about health inspectors, protestors, charlatans, demagogues, and
greedy tax collectors.

I believe that I
have only discovered a
parcel of the truth.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub

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Blackthorne--Scene 42

image borrowed from


Cinemagenic Forty-Two


“It is a great art to saunter.”--Henry David Thoreau.

1(close-up) Rod Buck: Have a drink with me, Fiero. 
2(close-up) The Eagle nodded once.
3(sound cue) violin & harmonica.
4(medium wide shot) They walked together across the street; others
were milling around, seemingly oblivious to their little scenario.
5(two shot) Their backs to the camera as they walked toward two horses
wrap-reined to a hitching rail. 
6(reverse shot) as they approached the horses, a muscular white stallion,
wearing a soft Indian bridle & a vaquero silver saddle, & Buck’s big Red tied
up taller alongside it. Under the roan, Cheewa sat on his dark haunches, pink
tongue panting, watching the men with coal-black eyes.
7(two-shot) angle on the Eagle over Buck’s shoulder:
--Johnny: Rod Buck, do you belong in Negro-Espina?
8(medium close-up) Buck gazing down the long street:
--I was born here.
--Johnny: Then you are the one.
--Buck: The one?
9(sound cue) crows cawing over a clarinet riff.
10(close-up) the Eagle: The one that Bill Buck used to talk about; the absent
surviving son gone off angry to slay los buf’alo.
11(two-shot) angle on Buck over the Indian’s shoulder:
--Then you did know my father?
12(tight close up) Johnny: I buried him.
13(medium two-shot) there is a small silence as Buck studies the white stallion,
& the Eagle studies Buck.
14(sound cue) sweet piano chords.
--Buck: El Blanco--he’s yours?
--Johnny: Yes, this is my Jesus
15(medium close-up) Buck laughing, his eyes shining.
16(two-shot) angle on the Eagle:
--Yeah, why give him an Indian name? He is just Jesus. I liberated him from
some Bandidos down Mexico way.
--Buck: There can be great beauty in some Indian names.
17(sound cue) Indian branch flute twill.
18(two-shot) angle on Johnny: For some men there can be great beauty in
buffalo chips. Both men laughed in masculine harmony.
--Is this your dog?
--Buck: Cheewa.
--Johnny: The black puma. Yes--a good companion, a dog. I prefer
a woman. Now--about that drink...
19(wide shot) The China Doll was a few doors down from them.
20(sound cue) saloon piano & fiddle.
21(close-up) Buck: Forget Bronson’s pussy wallow. I am not welcome
there today.
22(two-shot) angle on Johnny: Piss on the China Doll. I only take money
from Bronson--I don’t give it back to him. I only drink whiskey at Pedro’s.
Do you know it?
--Buck: The Cantina?
--Johnny: The very one, my home. I sleep in a back room when in town.
23(medium wide shot) Ranch work wagons, carriages, & horsemen on
the move, as a bustling speeding stage coach rolled past them with 
BRONSON STAGE LINES stenciled red on the doors. Johnny untied his 
magnificent White & began sauntering South. Buck followed him with his 
Roan. Cheewa trotted quietly after them. 
24(tracking shot) The five of them padded along in white dust, while rocking
chairs, window hinges, & gouty joints creaked as many eyes followed them
moving along the busy talcum avenue in the ochre afternoon. They halted at
a wide crooked hitching rail in front of Pedro’s cantina. 
25(two-shot) they wrap-reined their handsome studs. The Indian stretched
his big arms, yawned, patting his abs & said softly:
--They watch us.
26(medium close-up) Buck, glancing back up the street.
--Fuck ‘em.
27(two-shot) Buck cracked his knuckles, chewed at his ample lower lip
& nodded back toward the auction office.
28(angle on) the Eagle: For sure, gordo Red Face will run to Bronson--but 
it is of no matter. Come, Meet Mateo.
29(sound cue) Spanish guitar chords & tambourine.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Without Shackles

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Without Shackles

“Imagination trumps knowledge, for knowledge is limited,
& imagination encircles the world.”--Albert Einstein.

When reality fails, I tend to rely on imagination,
as creativity launches salvos of salvation.

Although solitude can be sweet, I am very gregarious,
perhaps even to excess, invading the realm of preposterous. 

In front of any audience, I become a performer;
faced with failure, I still dream of being an achiever.

My greatest treasure has to be my wife,
who shoulders more than half of my strife.

My truest sanctuary resides deeply within Nature;
forests, mountains & the ocean complete the picture.

Now my heart’s garden blossoms with grand-babies,
& my life is full of yeses & no’s, never maybes.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at "href=""> dVerse Poets "Poetics"