Tuesday, November 6, 2018


image from pinterest.com


“There was never a night or a problem that could
defeat sunrise or hope.”--Bernard Williams.

Rising before the sun
to feed the collies
and move the big tractor
out by the west corn field;
the rowed up cobs flashing
golden in my phone’s light.
My son will mount the Deere
after his second cup of coffee.
I can smell it on the chilled breeze.
The sun rose red as calf’s blood,
smearing the cloudless horizon
beyond our huge barn. Its early
rays turned the dirty white Buick
into raspberry jam. I was feeding
the chickens when frying bacon
beckoned to me across the yard;
my sweet wife was up. I headed
for the warmth of the kitchen
to fuel up before another eventful
twelve hour day; something a city dweller
could never understand.


Blaring sirens and horns bleating 
and delivery trucks banging, plus
being in the flight path for the airport--
these are my damn alarm clocks,
as I stir bleary-eyed in dirty sheets
staring at my digital clock; 6:30am.
I could smell the coffee brewing thanks
to a digital timer. I would have to face
my asshole foreman at the factory
and beg for this afternoon off. My son
makes another appearance in court--
this time for drug possession and
an expired driver’s license. I won’t be
able to make his bail because I have
nothing left to mortgage or sell. My ex-wife
could care less--she’s on vacation in Italy.
I’ll stop by Little Vic’s after court. Beer
is always your friend. If barfly Molly is
on her stool, maybe I’ll get lucky. It’s
days like this that I actually miss my Dad’s
farm--even though I couldn’t wait to leave
it at 18--drawn to the lure and excitement
of the big city.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub


sarah said...

This is almost Hogarth in words. I hope he finds his way back to something worthwhile. Maybe we don't realise what Utopia is until we've hurtled past it on our way to somewhere else.

brudberg said...

The lure of the city can be devastating as can life on the farm be... maybe we should be careful fulfilling our dreams.

Jane Dougherty said...

This is like the publicity campaign they're running here at the moment to attract young people back to farming. They'd better tidy their act up first. Use of pesticides has gone up here rather than being reduced.

Amaya said...

A worthwhile exploration in parallel universes that asks, as you did commenting on my poem, can utopia arise from dystopia? It seems, as in Grace's poem too, that we must know one to really know the other, but chicken/egg origins, I don't know. We do tend to romanticize quite a bit. My favorite part: "my sweet wife..." :)

Kim M. Russell said...

I felt as if I had walked into the scene in this first stanza, Glenn, with the early morning routine of feeding the collies and moving the tractor. Everything moved along at its usual pace, there’s coffee and breakfast smells, and there’s a breeze. I love the description of the sunrise. And then the poem spins on a sixpence and I’m faced with a cacophony and alternative life in the city. I know which I prefer 

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

Although we did not farm, many years ago the first house we bought was an old farmhouse on 30 acres of land with a wonderful old barn with 1876 burned into a board above the old doors. Dirt roads around it. From our living room windows or large front yard, we looked out on fields and then hills and valleys to the next road way way over. We rented out much of the land and I would sit in the back yard, coffee in hand, in the very very early mornings and watch our neighbor Dwight driving his Deere up and down the fields. There is a beauty in the land -- and sense of peach in seeing a dust cloud far off and knowing it is a vehicle approaching, quite a few moments before you heard same vehicle. Your first stanza took me back there. And yes -- I was a high school teacher at the rural school then and knew many of the young kids who were just itching to get out -- get to the big city and its excitement. Your second stanza shows a reality of what is found by many --
Great juxtaposition.

Grace said...

I have not lived in a farm so I can only imagine or marvel how it serene it can be, versus the noise and rumble of the big city. Its funny how we think the "other" side or place, can be utopian, when really its all about perspective and finding one's roots. Great read tonight, thank you.

Unknown said...

Such an interesting contrast and examination of how life changes generation to next. Even in the first image, there is red and blood - I suppose innocent blots compared to the city landscape. This is a masterpiece, Glenn.

Dwight L. Roth said...

A great nostalgic post! Ah, you left the utopia of the farm for the rat race of the city!

Gina said...

i grew up in a little village and miss that simple life, though I would not call it utopia, it had more value than the rat race in the city, but i would miss that too when the time came to move to a different place in life, we miss all we see in retrospect, from reading your words I take advice that i must appreciate being in my current utopia.

Christine Irving said...

Nice narrative I love the way you wove two contrasting stories and let the reader do the work of comparing and deriving meaning Perfect example of show don't tell,

Katie Mia Frederick said...

A Middle Way 'Tween
Country Slacker
And City
is what
Works for
me.. Oh.. the
Utopia of Re-Tired
Wheels Never Losing Rubber Now..;)

rob kistner said...

Utopia, we all seem to wonder about it, fantasize about it, long for it, make feeble attempts to pursue it. Ironic that no one stops to think just how utterly fucking boring a place of perfection would really be...

Hi Glenn -
I am risen
...rob from image-verse.com

purplepeninportland.com said...

There is no total Utopia. You can't wait to leave, then can't wait to come back. Great poems, Glenn!

Frank J. Tassone said...

Utopia and Dystopia side-by-side. Excellent!

Vivian Zems said...

Perfection in the contrast. Great one, Glenn!