Thursday, January 28, 2016

Then There Were Five

image from

Then There Were Five

“Behold the number five is at hand. Grab it & shake
it & harness its power.”--Jacod Kintz.


A child’s portal
can be a secret garden,
Comanche encampment,
or saucer to Mars.


An iron bird perched
on the haunches
of a bronze horse,
awaiting reanimation.


No longer in harness
the F600 became content
to host oxidation
& families of mice.


Concrete flowers gather
moss & lichen
as verdant mantle
& party guests.


Stone crosses are
cemetery stars, enjoying
the role of pious lead
in God’s pencil.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub MTB

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


image from


“Do not go gentle into that good night--
rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
--Dylan Thomas.

It is interesting to note
       that Ecology is not synonymous with
              the environment. It is a human science,
                       a serious study of the interactions among
              organisms & their environment, an attempt
        to understand the human in humanity, & how
in just a few thousand years

we managed to ape Oedipus,
ravaging, raping, & polluting
our planetary mother.                      Just a century ago,
                                         the timber, oil, & steel industries
                                 were impervious to the harm they
                     did; just obsessed with the gargantuan
              profits they amassed while focusing only
         on the production of the goods & materials 
that were needed/demanded in order to provide,
                                                            to construct
                                                            to fuel
       a terrible Trojan Horse of progress.
                                 Wake up:

If politics were not practiced out of sheer greed,
if lobbyists were not allowed to buy politicians,
if science was not undermined by the teeming minions
       of close-minded superstitious zealots who practice
       the religions of the world,
if intellect was as attractive as fascist demagoguery,
if love could usurp hate, racism, intolerance & ignorance,
if common sense were more than a forgotten pamphlet
       written by a fiery-eyed Thomas Paine,

then maybe earth would stand a chance, rather than being
consumed & destroyed by the contagious carcinogens of
our own nature,
        maybe the innocent planet could side-step the eminent 
                       perils we continue to perpetuate;
        maybe it could actually heal itself, 
                       could flourish and blossom again,
                       could sustain life,
                       could stave off cumulating extinctions,
                       could reciprocate kindness with matriarchal
                       and maternal affection, & we 
                       could feel safe
                       once more in her arms.

But it sure as hell
does not look like that’s going
to happen tomorrow.

Glenn Buttkus

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blackthorne--Scene 53

image from wet


Cinemagenic Fifty-Three

Red Riders

“The intruders know who we are and saw that
our house is full.”--Ray Jarosz.

1(overhead wide drone shot) angle over the top of the five riders,
300 yards out from the camp site, moving fast.
2(sound cue) coronet & snare drum.
3(tighten the shot--in slow motion) the tracking across broad horse’s
rumps, muscles rippling, tails high, then back across the broad
shoulders of the mysterious riders.
4(cut to medium wide-shot) the lip of a small rise, angle on a hawk
perched atop some tall sage.
5(sound cue) horse’s hooves.
6(hold the shot) as the riders emerge over the rim with swirling dust
rolling over them, just as the hawk burst into flight.
7(sound cue) hawk’s cry, lots of leather creaking, pounding hooves
over kettle drum.
8(cut to two-shot) Buck & Johnny, their stiff backs to the camera, facing
the oncoming horde.
9(tight two-shot) angle on Johnny: Cocked & loaded, boss.
Buck: Fucking boy rowdy.
10(sound cue) fire popping, dog growling over slide guitar riff.
11(cut to wide shot) as the riders come in full gallop, the sun rising
behind them, their faces in red shadow. They pulled up hard & fast
as their horses snorted, nickered, & pranced-- heaving & steaming.
12(close-up) Buck’s eyes, sizing them up.
13(close-up) Johnny, recognizing all of them, his eyes hardening.
14(voice-over) Buck: The honcho in front has to be Bronson.
15(medium one-shot) The man sat on a golden palomino. His gear
was ornate, not unlike Buck’s--with wide silver-studded stirrups, chest
halter & skirts. He wore a wide-brimmed white hat, with the sides rolled
up perfectly, a stark white shirt that was now alkaline dust smeared, a
thick leather string tie pulled through a silver stallion-head bolo, a weath-
ered dark leather vest, tight brown denims & fancy knee-high well-
polished boots, complete with cruel silver spurs, the rowels still spinning.
16(sound cue) strident piano & huffing harmonica.
17(medium close-up) A .44 Smith & Wessen hung on his left hip, a gentle-
man’s weapon, with carved ivory handle inserts--not made for driving nails
or cracking skulls. Perfect white buckskin gloves covered his small hands. 
He was a big man, nearly as tall as Buck, but heavier, sporting a merchant’s
thick mid-section & pasty pale skin. He was clean shaven, had thick eyebrows,
soot onyx eyes & a prominent Patrician’s nose. 
18(voice-over) Buck: They’d be the gunsels.
19(widen the shot) on Bronson’s left, three wire-thin wranglers
leaned forward over their wide Mexican pommels, their narrowed
eyes jumpy, all in dusty hats, one in a brown sombrero, stovepipe
chaps & old boots--their calloused hands resting on their saddles,
waiting for orders. Two of them were old-timers, wearing vintage
Colt .45’s, with gray stubble on their chins & skin burned dark
from honest labor. One was a kid, in an Eastern derby, with blond 
peach fuzz on his rosy cheeks, wearing a long-barreled Navy 
Colt .36.
20(sound cue) French horns & cello.
21(close-up) Buck looks to the right.
22(cut to the right) angle on a very tall lean fellow on a coal
gelding, whose icy green eyes waited for Buck to notice him.
He wore a prominent gun belt buckle, pounded gold with a silver
“B” in the center, Buck was aware of his tenseness, coiled like
a compressed spring. His horse moved, but he didn’t.
23(close-up) the man’s intense green eyes never leaving Buck’s.
24(widen the shot) His right hand was gloveless, the shirt sleeve
folded back once, his long fingers hovering over a Lightning Colt .38
that was snugly tied down to his right leg--a self-cocker like Buck’s
Thunderer. He wore a black hat with the front folded up slightly,
a lizard skin hat band, a snug-fitting yellow Mexican silk shirt, a 
large black neckerchief draped out over his right shoulder, gray
pin-striped pants tucked into his boots.
25(close-up) He had a thin face, with long dark hair, & a well-
trimmed mustache & swath under his lower lip, darkish circles
under his piercing eyes.
26(voice-over) Buck: Now this piece of work has to be Thor.
27(wide-shot) the riders sitting tense, their horses side-stepping,
neighing & lifting a front leg while swishing their tails. An awkward 
minute passed as
28(the camera pans) from Thor past Bronson to the wranglers.
29(cut to two-shot) Buck & the Eagle more than ready.

              Finally someone spoke.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


painting by sandro botticelli.


“If it were possible to cure evils by lamentation, or to raise
the dead with tears, then gold would be less valuable than

Do birds at first light call you Lenny,
or do you demand that they warble Leonard,
          as sleep must be combed out of your tangled curls,
          as the uniqueness of your finger whorls
                     tap out another hit tune, craft words, and
                     rustle up raw uninhibited rhythms, just as
          the night birds fade, & the birds of dawn
          on their wire, in their way, entreat you to
let go of those dark dream harpies,
to allow the healing light of a new day to
          teach you how to dance
          butt-naked in the Now?

Why is it that the first thing you always hear are the crisis criers,
           the media whores & TV News hosts telling you, yet again
                   that somewhere on this shrunken earth, the hideous
                             hounds of war have devoured,
                                                             exploded &
                                                             attacked the innocent;

                                                             too damn many teddy bears
                                                    beheaded, feet still wearing shoes
                                                torn from legs, tiny pink fingers piling
                                          up like bloody boned sausages, & festive
                                   sidewalk cafe caesar salads sizzle with C-4 & 
                              glops of terrorist’s entrails, because the holy dove
                       is plucked clean, featherless, shackled. captured, then
             set free, only to be caught again--never ever to soar for more
than a timid instant on its broken wings. 

Dear God, these bloody sins            occur         on your holy day
as cathedral bells chime out             across       the battlements,
but Lord, even they are digital           now,         as the great clappers
                               in the shining stone towers are not 
                               clanging any more, as the behemoth
                               silver bells hang flaccid & useless,
                               heralding nothing, just as golden
                               mosques come alive, their loud
                                speakers extolling: Allah Akbar
                                & you can’t help but wonder which
                                face God wears when he hears the news?

You groan & moan that your time
of dissent is all but spent during
those turbulent decades when it
was you who carried the signs,
skipped over all the land mines
& faced SWAT steel bayonets, fire
hoses, terrible tasers & rubber bullets--always so sure that someone
                                                              would hear, & care, & change,
                                                              not just rearrange the sainted
                                                              structures of political power;
not just busting skulls with oak
batons, gassing the crowds into
tears, hopes into fears, transforming
marches into melees                             as the drums of peace are stilled,
                                                                   the chants for freedom are killed,
                                                              as the ballads became ballistic & every
                                                                   note of love attained refugee status,
                                                              as rifles rearranged the beat, & sirens
                                                                   screamed the new red refrains.

So nothing to do but sit on the floor, sipping strong coffee & smoking
Camels while frantically strumming your weeping guitar, letting the 
charnel churn of emotion be redirected into poetry, lyrics, & magnificent
music, finding freedom within your own tenderness, thrusting it with
love out of your open window, out into the terrible world, where it will
sail beautifully on the winds of fire but for a planetary moment, before
dropping unnoticed into a superfluous heap beneath the deep bronze
cracks in the old bells of liberty that peal no more.

Glenn Buttkus

Written as a response to Leonard Cohen's ANTHEM, where 
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Le Dance De Zorba

image from

Le Dance De Zorba

“Dance? Did you say dance, Boss?”
--Alexis Zorba.

I was twenty,
to impress
a Greek girl,              
                                  I took her
                                  to see
                ZORBA, THE GREEK.

We loved
that scene
        where the two
                  burly men on
        a beach, wrapped
arms and line-
danced away

                            their sadness
                and their madness

                            in the white sand.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub
for the 44-word challenge.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


image from


“If you don’t breathe, cry out, or sing through your
writing--then don’t write it.”--Anais Nin

When your Muse wakes you from a nap,
it’s not a trap;
for your dreams need to be captured,
your heart enraptured.
Your bold pen wants to be brilliant,
the thoughts resilient.
Words will shine like bright pigment,
inner voice recorded in print,
your ideas burnished in tint.
It’s not a trap--your heart enraptured, the thoughts resilient.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB
where De has us writing the Ovillejo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Two Minutes

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Two Minutes

“I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near
to the central idea of the momentous occasion, in two hours,
as you did in two minutes.”--Edward Everett.

Damn, I seem to be taking forever
                       to get over this protracted illness.
            Leave it to me to come down with
                       a mild case of smallpox.

                                   Being feverish & weak as a lame dog
                          with a constant raging headache is bad
                     enough, but it’s the hellish shingles that
             really chaps my butt--literally; what do the
        doctors call it--yes, a vesicular rash. I swear,
it’s more like a mild case of leprocy. 
        Lying abed, I have a lot of time to think about
              this quagmire of bloody conflict, of sons versus
                      fathers that our beloved America has become
                                   in 1864. I’m still reeling with emotion

over Gettysburg last year. Dear God, over 50,000 men killed,
wounded or missing in a three day battle; but I do have to chuckle
over the political rumor that I scribbled my speech on a scrap of
paper while on the train to Pennsylvania. For Christ’s sake, I pride
myself on carefully crafting all my speeches, & that address was
no exception. It was fully conceived & written out before I set foot
on that smoking brute of motion sickness.

I knew I was becoming ill on the way up there that morning of
      November 18th. I recall telling John Hay that I felt fatigued
               & weak. Lord, the next day at the ceremony I thought
                         that windbag Eddie Everett would never finish
                                 his bilious oratory; reminded me a lot of
                                          Steven Douglas; quite the stark con-
                                 trast to my two-minute commentary, deliver-
                         ed rapidly to keep from passing out. Bill Seward
                  told me later that I was pale as a ghost. that I looked
       sad & haggard, but hell’s bells, who wouldn’t be? But surely
this illness exacerbated my natural melancholia. Everett wrote me

                               that my little speech was a grand success, so
                               I suppose It wasn’t a total failure. It did surprise
                               me that presently it is being lauded as a grand
                               & significant speech, & I’ve had to make five
                               copies of it for posterity--yet we can count on
                               the Democrats to belittle it. In the Chicago Times
                               it was published: The cheek of every American 
must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat & dishwatery utterances
of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the
President of the United States.

I will tell you one thing, with me being laid up like this,
it’s glaringly evident to me that Hamlin is too much of
a milk-toast VP to ever be President. The country needs
a stronger man. When I get back on my feet, I think I’ll
approach Andy Johnson about the job--he’s got fortitude
& intelligence in spades. 

When I was swept into the White House in 1860, who would have
expected those 7 Southern states to form the Confederacy & then
fire on Ft. Sumter; complete hubris & madness. It was like pulling
molars to get the Emancipation proclamation through Congress,
& it was a minor miracle to add the 13th Amendment to the Consti-
tution outlawing slavery. I am only 55 years of age, but that is on
the outside; on the inside I feel like 100. God in Heaven, when will
this cursed war ever end?

Brother against brother,
civil war is ever bloody
disaster; no winners.

Glenn Buttkus

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ice Blossoms

Ice Blossoms

The mysterious & beautiful snow flowers of Asia are like
flora from a fantasy. Unlike most plants, the quince blossoms
are resistant to cold, & can survive temperatures plunging
below freezing, can push themselves out of leafless branches
like pink fairies wearing snow bonnets. There are stories about
people who ate too much of the quince fruit, & nearly died
as the seeds converted to cyanide gas. 

My friend, a master gardener, claims that most quince trees
blossom in the spring, but that they can blossom up to mid-
winter, illustrating their hardy & unique nature. He said that
these ancient trees, that bear a golden yellow fruit that looks
like a pear, were cultivated even before pear & apple orchards.
He claimed the fruit is ripest in late autumn. Eaten raw, it is
pithy & very tart, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. Cooked,
the flesh turns red, & can be used in jams, or to enhance other
fruits, much like rhubarb. They are not happy growing in North
America, so show up mostly as ornamental plants. 

When we cultivate
plants from antiquity, we
will find uniqueness. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Pub