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


brudberg said...

A foray of the 60s - the period when I was still a kid. The traumatic abortion - shudder - lots of things happening during that era. I have to say it was not always better in the past (except that we were younger and more attractive) - did you write it all in 9 minutes? Hehe ;-)

Glenn Buttkus said...

Yes, I write fast & type slow, brother.

brudberg said...

:-) for me it's the other way around.

Grace said...

Love the personal share but I can imagine the year 1968 to be very harrowing and traumatic ~

Too bad the actor's training program didn't work out as you wanted ~ Wow, what a baptism of fire ~

You got all the details here Glenn ~ Thanks for generously sharing your heart with us the whole year ~

tonispencer said...

Perfect senryu at the end - I just says everything. That time definitely was a baptism of fire for many of us. Great share. I'd like to have done something similar but to be honest, there was a decade I totally don't remember. The pic of you from times past was super.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Excellent senryu! Wish I could have been that creative :D

Victoria said...

Enjoyed your mini bio and the poetic wrap-up, Glenn. I had no doubt that you would excel with this prompt and glad you went where you did.

Anonymous said...

What creative visual presentation. I particularly like the way each section is left-aligned, but for 1968, which is backward-stairsteps, signifying a regression of some sort.

'61 and '66 are the most powerful passages, to me.

Bodhirose said...

Seems like those 60s were fast and furious for you, Glenn. You packed a lot into that decade. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. the 60s were tough years here too.

Pleasant Street said...

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I had you at about 10 years younger. Sooo very jealous you saw Elvis. I was 14 when he died and it broke my little heart.

So sad you lost your mom so early.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate how you structure your poems.

vivinfrance said...

That's my favorite of all your poems that I have read. A wow experience, reading that.

Misky said...

The ups and downs, successes and progresses - such is a life lived fully. A very enjoyable read, Glenn.

Katie Mia Frederick said...

Life without challenge
is a road of
in the end..
as far as
i for one
see now..
all those challenges
make you the survivor
you are now.. and the
SpiRit comes through
loud and clear
in all of your
of making
Life Art..
so many ways
to do that truly
iN liGht..
and sadly
it is among
the sofTest
sink the
and lose
life as art..
man.. i'm glad
i didn't have it all
then.. either.. as
i learn
all is
not what
it is cracked
UP to be.. in terms
of what i am spoon-
fed from birth.. outcasts
make the cast in
the end.. sMiles..