Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Blackthorne--Episode 95

image from


Cinemagenic Ninety-Five


Building trust can be difficult. Turf wars, politics
and lack of solid alignment are the primary
obstacles to peace and prosperity.”
--Wyatt Earp.

1(sound cue) Piano and coronet.
2(overhead drone wide shot) The black carriage
traveling through low hills, ducking under some tall
trees, moving at a leisurely pace.
3(from above, the drone drops down toward the
carriage, then cut to a tracking travel shot)
4(cut to a two-shot) Buck and Salina.
Salina: The ranch is starting to look lived in.
Buck: Thanks, but it’ll be Fall before the place looks
worth a damn. I’m figuring on hiring another hand,
and Johnny and me need to catch some more wild
horses. I’ll need to find another good stud, then I’ll
be living in tall cotton. We may have to ride up to
Silver City to find the right stallion.
Salina: Both you and Johnny have stallions.
Buck: Red and Bob? Sure, they’re good animals,
but I want a stud with hellfire in its loins. You know,
a horse like that fine Appaloosa that Paul Bronson
rides from the Triple B to the China Doll every day.
5(two shot) over Buck’s shoulder.
Salina: Would you mind if I came out here once in
a while and pitched in?
6(close-up) Buck: Pitch in?
7(sound cue) Banjo and accordion.
8(medium close-up) Salina: Yes, I’ll wear britches, 
and get to hammering or painting or fence mending,
and be a general nuisance, if you let me.
9(two-shot) Buck: Girl, you know you don’t have to
ask. They looked at each other, then both laughed.
Salina: Thor limped around for a week after the fight.
How are you feeling?
Buck: I’m a bit stiff too; turns out old Thor was a lot
handier with his dukes than I had counted on.
Salina: Dad wants you to know that he, Mr. Hart, the
blacksmith, Doc Sweeney, and a couple others plan
on being there tomorrow when you have your
appointment with Bronson.
Buck: I’m much obliged.
10(cut to a prairie dog standing in his hole)
11(sound cue) the rumble of Salina’s carriage
approaching. The prairie dog drops out of sight
in his hole just as the ebony carriage, pulled by
palominos, comes around a corner, and passes
in front of the camera.
12(two-shot) Salina: I respect what you’re trying 
to do. A man’s life can be worth less than a horse
in this town.I’m curious though--I don’t  think that
you’re running scared, so why are you being so
easy-going with a son of a bitch like Bronson?
13(sound cue) snare drum and guitar chord over
Buck’s loud chuckle. He was still getting used to
her plain-spokenness.
Buck: Maybe I’ve lived long enough that I’ve
started to grow up. Maybe I’m more sure of
myself than some men. I could go all bullets
and knuckles on Bronson, but hey, let’s try
some diplomatic forays first.
Salina: How do you figure
Bronson sees all this?
Buck: I aim to find out tomorrow.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub-OLN

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


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“In November 1885, a mob, led by the mayor of 
Tacoma, evicted several hundred Chinese from 
their homes, forced them to take a train to 
Portland, then burned their homes.
--Tacoma Tribune.

When I was a kid,
growing up a Seattle brat, 
30 miles south of us
was the sister city of Tacoma,
named after the Native American
term for Mt. Rainier--
Takhoma or Tahoma.

It had several pulp mills,
that fouled the air,
creating the Tacoma Aroma;
a stink like a cross between
rotted sauerkraut and rotten eggs.

After a decade
of living in California, 
I returned to the Pacific Northwest, 
finding that Seattle had become
high dollar real estate;
so I settled into the South Sound
and adopted Tacoma as home.
The pulp mills had been cleaned up,
which was a plus.

It’s a port city, built along
Commencement Bay.
It’s called the “City of Destiny”,
because in the late 1880’s,
it became the railhead
for the Northern Pacific,
before Seattle was connected;
starting a rivalry between them.
It is also called “America’s Most Walkable City.”

On a warm summer day,
one can have quite a walkabout,
walking along the Foss Waterway,.
passing by several yacht clubs
and fancy seafood restaurants,
dry docked fireboats, beaches, & parks.
There is an Old Town that runs parallel
to the waterfront, dotted with Pioneer
buildings mixed with new condos.

At the end of the walkway
there’s a city park, complete with
a huge Japanese Temple 
that is surrounded with Asian art and sculpture.
Then you come upon a ferry terminal;
connecting you to the many islands
in Puget Sound. It is inexpensive to walk on,
pick an island, and extend your walking tour.

Above the terminal there’s a winding road
that leads to a very large County Park
at Point Defiance. You start by checking
out a restored and relocated Hudson Bay
fur trading facility--Ft. Nisqually.
Walking further, you come to a fabulous
Zoo & Aquarium. Then you discover
an Arboretum, adjacent to a large garden.
Lastly you come to a viewpoint where one
can see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Walking south out of the park, you enter the 
suburb of Ruston, a lovely mix of Victorian
homes and antique shops. A strong walker
can manage this seven mile jaunt
in one long day.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub--Poetics

Monday, May 27, 2019


image from


“”The triumphs of a scholar defies the desecration
of time, and the judgement of history.”
--Santiago Ramon Cajal.

17 miles south of Mt. Rushmore, in the Black Hills,
Custer County, South Dakota, Mt. Thunderhead
rises above the Sioux reservation. There is an
ongoing sculpting project memorializing the
Oglala Dakota warrior Chief Crazy Horse. His
exploits made him the Native American Lincoln;
including his prowess at the Battle of the Little
Big Horn.

In 1935, there was a movement to add his head
to the four Presidents on Rushmore. The federal
government would not support or fund such a
proposal. So the proud Sioux started their own
privately funded project to honor Crazy Horse.

They hired a Polish sculptor and started work in 1948.
In 2001, right after 9/11, they finished carving the 
face. It is 87’ tall. On Rushmore, those faces are 60’
high. After the original sculptor died in the 80’s, his
family took over the project. But after 60 years, the
monument is still an ongoing project, an unfinished
dream. If it’s ever completed, it will be a colossal
ninth wonder of the world. I visited it a decade ago,
and very little has been done on it. It remains a
testament to private achievement, but without the
Feds big bucks, it may never be completed.

Many traditional tribal elders do not like the
monument. They feel that carving on that wild
mountain is a pollution of the landscape. It would
be like carving a 100’ face of Jesus on a 
mountain in the Holy Land; more desecration than

The Lakota Sioux stopped
Custer, but cannot stop those
sculpting Crazy Horse.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Friday, May 24, 2019

No Means No

image from

No Means No

“Those who give up their essential liberty to obtain
relative safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.”
--Benjamin Franklin.

Today Trump is our President.
Most say he has stolen our liberty.

Perhaps anyone can become President.
Beware if they put their hands on our liberty.

The Donald is completely bent.
He’s quite willing to hijack our liberty.

He’s unable to stop himself.
He covets the treasure of our liberty.

The Oval Office has a filthy dent.
He greedily would hijack our liberty.

To most of us it is evident.
We should stop him with our liberty.

He just doesn’t get the hint.
He’s too busy reaching for our liberty.

Poor immigrants and the indigent.
He devours their promised liberty.

President for Life, he feels omnipotent.
Smile as you deliver up your liberty.

Alas, truly, I see him as impotent.
No means no, asshole.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at dVerse Poets,Pub MTB

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Night Queen

artwork by Mary Frances

The Night Queen

“There are no heroes.. . in life, the monsters win.”
--George R.R. Martin.

I live out of a back pack.
I am one of the last of the rail riders.
I hop the boxcars
on slow corners and steep grades.
They call me Boxcar Ben.

I swear, there are more shanty towns
and tent villages today than there ever
was in the Depression.

On warm nights, I love to climb atop
the cars, spread my red Navaho blanket
and lie on my back watching
the star show, one of the last free
moving pictures.

In my travels, I am humbled and saddened
by the huge numbers of homeless folks
I encounter. Some can be dangerous,
but most of them are just down on their luck.
My heart aches for the shivering children
with the upside down grins & hungry eyes.

I’ve been a proud boxcar bandit for 30 years.
I’ve had to fight to defend myself.
I’ve done jail time, gained weight on prison slop.
I was pretty sure that I knew everything
about hobo-hopping--but in 2010, in late July,
I was rolling steel through Louisiana.
I stopped at a homeless camp for a hot meal.

Several people warned me about the next
stretch of track. They claimed the area was
haunted by a monster they called the
Night Queen of the Railway Wastelands.
Cajuns prattle on a lot about their home-grown
monsters, so I didn’t pay much attention.

The next night I was riding the Southwest
Union Flyer, and was slicing through endless
swamp. I could smell the wet moss, bat shit, 
skunk cabbage and gators. It was around
midnight when the train slowed and stopped;
what the hell; turns out a ghostly herd
of Angus cattle were camped out on the tracks.

I sat in the open doorway with my legs dangling,
riven with alacrity, watching for railroad bulls
with clubs and hand cuffs. It was a humid,
dripping night, and there was a full moon.

Suddenly I heard branches popping
and breaking, and the brush shook. The air was
laced with the stench of rotted meat. I was
pole-axed with fear. A seven foot something
stepped out of the shadows, and stood staring
at me.

It wore an alligator head for a hat, and its fierce
face was werewolf-white, with red coals for eyes,
with long yellow canine teeth. It held a staff in
each hand that had human skulls atop them. The
tall lean body was covered with dark fur--on its
chest were two large breasts--definitely a female.
It opened its ferocious mouth and roared like
a cave bear.

I bolted to the back of the car, and scrambled up
the inside ladder. I crawled out on top the car and
peered over the edge. The Night Queen was gone,
but the slaughterhouse perfume still hung heavy
in the hot air. I sure as hell never set foot in cursed
Louisiana again. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Monday, May 20, 2019

Lords and Leeches

image from

Lords and Leeches

We have a very real responsibility to protest the
rich and powerful in the name of universal freedom.”
--Nelson Mandela.

I think about
India and North Korea,
the caste system,
and poverty--

and for a brief
I can stomach
the insufferable 1%,
and their clown prince;

my teeth clinch.

The sunrise was rich,
with hue and hope, promising
yet another new day.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted lover at dVerse Poets Pub Q44

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blackthorne--Episode 94

image from


Cinemagenic Ninety-Four

Three’s a Crowd

“Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but
understand it backward.”--Anonymous.

1(sound cue) piano and harmonica.
2(cut to overhead drone shot) the three of them, 
with the team shuffling and bobbing their heads, 
their golden necks arched, their white manes and 
tails catching the breeze.
3(three shot) Buck: Uh-huh, we could do that. Hell,
we can go into the big house and take the sheets
off the dining room table.
Johnny: Christ, boss, that would be dustier than
out here. We’re not set up yet for company.
4(medium close up) Buck, all smiles, removing his hat,
and wiping his brow, and the inside of the hat band
with a red bandana: Well, compadre, this lovely lass
has swallowed a lot of dust coming all the way out 
here. So let’s not be rude. Let’s take some time off,
find some shade, and get after those vittles.
5(sound cue) violins.
6( cut to a three-shot) Salina began to look around for
a nearby pool of shade. Buck was staring at Johnny,
waiting for him to respond. The Eagle raised his chin,
and wiped the sweat from his neck. Silence reigned
for a elongated moment as they inhabited the
7(sound cue) horses snorting, tack creaking, the 
springs complaining under the carriage seat as Salina
shifted her weight, free range chickens clucking, over
the sweet strings.
8(close up) Johnny: The truth is that I’ve got a lot of
chores to do around here, and my boss can be a real
asshole about slacking off. So why don’t you kids
leave me a couple pieces of chicken, and you two
skeedaddle off to the lake, and have yourselves a
proper picnic?
9( medium wide shot) Salina spurted out: I won’t
hear of it. I purposely packed this lunch for the three
of us, and I can’t see why all three of us don’t dash off 
to the lake for an hour. Will the ranch fall down if you
take a noon break?
Buck, looking slyly at the Eagle: Johnny, don’t
be silly. You don’t need to stay here. 
Johnny: No, I’ve made up my mind. You two
need to pound leather before you lose the beauty
of the day. Now, go--get out of here.
Salina laughed as Buck reached into the basket
after some fried chicken. Are you sure that you
want it this way?
Johnny nodded, smiling widely. Buck handed him
two hefty golden crusted pieces of chicken. Johnny
bit into one immediately, and said around the stringy
white meat: Can both of you swim?
Buck and Salina looked at each other.
Johnny: I’m going to be kind of busy around here, 
and I won’t have time to gallop up to the lake in
the event one of you falls in.
Buck winked at him, and climbed up on the seat
alongside Salina Wallace.
Johnny: Here, take the Winchester. You might could
run into some varmints along the way.
10(sound cue) guitar and banjo--joyfully.
Salina gave Buck the black dyed rawhide fancy reins,
and he swung the pair of palominos to the left, heading
east, past the barn, along a cowpath that hadn’t been
used for years. Cheewa chased after them. The Eagle
watched until they passed from sight behind a low mesa;
a midnight black carriage pulled by golden horses 
followed by an ebony dog--three shadow figures
shimmering in a world of mirage heat, distorted by the
distance, blending together as they dropped out of sight.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Twice Born

image from

Twice Born

“Geminis waltz around in life as they are 
perpetually transforming.”--Amita Ray.

There I am,
in the middle of June,
inhabiting the crux of Gemini.

As an actor, 
I paid a lot of attention to astrology;
as a teacher, 
I paid more attention to my students.
I’ve always had an abundance of ego,
but as a husband,
I pay more attention to my wife.

I am, as written and defined,
a dual personality,
an earthy intellectual.
My two faces
of Cantor and Pollux,
are back to back, so
they never meet each other.

Of course, 
no one fits perfectly
within the textbook references
as to who they really are.

Geminis are multi-faceted--check,
intelligent--damn rights,
outgoing--a Ham, type A, sure,
impulsive--blush, flinch,
unreliable--absolute baloney,
nosy--prefer inquisitive.

Gemini’s lucky color is yellow--
I prefer red;
they are ruled by Mercury--
but I prefer Mars;
lucky stone is emerald--
but I prefer rubies.

I share my sun sign with
Bob Dylan, Morgan Freeman,
Laurence Olivier, John Wayne,
Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp,  & JFK.

If you are charmed by me, enjoy.
If I piss you off--keep your distance.
If I love you, be enveloped.
If I hate you, gird your loins.

I am what and who I am;
twice over.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Blackthorne--Episode 93

image from


Cinemagenic Ninety-Three


“Life is a picnic on a precipice.”--W.H. Auden.

1(sound cue) sweet piano and violins
2(cut to medium close up) Buck standing at the
bottom of the stairs, his arms folded.
3(sound cue) clank of metal.
4(reverse shot) Buck turning around, his stare
back up the stairs.
5(cut to the door of parent’s bedroom) a strong
breeze from an open upstairs window had
rattled the padlocks on the door; three rusty locks,
hung straight, one above the other.
6(roving crane shots) wandering about the house,
showing peeling paint, framed photographs and
Western prairie paintings, thick red velvet curtains,
fancy kerosene lamps, as we hear...
7(sound cue/Voice Over) Buck: Tomorrow I will
break those locks off, and take a look at my 
parent’s room. My father had taken all of his things
out of the room before he padlocked it. I want to 
see some of my mother’s things. It’s going to be
like opening a crypt, but I might find a bauble or
old photograph that will link yesterday to today.
It’s past time for me to make this house a home
again--not just lumber, nails, glass and tar. I need 
to stop looking at the lights in other people’s 
8(cut to exterior) We see Buck stepping out on the 
wide porch. Johnny Eagle was straddling the first
corral’s gate, his Winchester across his lap, staring
off to the North.
9(tracking shot) as Buck walks quickly over to the
10(sound cue) snare drum and guitar.
11(medium wide shot) Buck: What is it?
The Eagle pointed to a cloud of dust rising above
the horizon to the north of the house.
Someone’s coming; more than one horse.
Johnny was wearing a shell belt; something he 
seldom did.
12( two-shot) Buck: Kind of jumpy, aren’t
Johnny: When does the shit fly?
Buck: I’m going to go see Bronson tomorrow.
Johnny: And you figure he’s going to be real
pleased to see you?
Buck: Couldn’t tell you--still I’m going to try to
settle some things with him.
Johnny: I’ll give my rabbit’s foot some tugs for
you; it might help.
Buck: I didn’t know you were Irish.
Johnny: I might be.
13( cut to overhead drone shot) a wagon came up
over the rise, moving fast. It slowed on the flats
below the big boulder, and started down the drive
toward the house.
14(sound cue) fiddle,and banjo.
Voice Over: Johnny: It’s Salina Wallace.
15(medium wide shot) Johnny dismounted from the
gate, on the inside of the corral. He propped his
rifle against the fence. Buck strolled out into the 
yard. Salina rolled up in a black leather carriage,
harnessed to a pair of palominos. 
Salina: Afternoon, Mr. Buck. Hi, Johnny!, her smile
broad, her voice joyous. The Eagle waved a greeting,
and began unsaddling a horse he was working with.
Buck: I notice you’re still Mistering me.
Salina: OK, Rod--I have a question for you.
Buck: Shoot.
Salina: Are you hungry?
Buck: Hell, I could eat. What’s in the basket?
Salina: Fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits and
blackberry pie...are you interested?
Buck: Damn tootin’, lady! We live on bacon and 
beans around here. You hear that, Johnny? This
fair maiden has brought us a feast!
16(sound cue) harmonica and fiddle.
Johnny put the work saddle over a rail sawhorse,
and tramped up to the fence. Salina sat with her
gloved hands in her lap. She wore a pleated riding
skirt, high riding boots, a Spanish peasant blouse,
and a flat green hat with tassels on it.
Johnny: Kind of hot and dusty for a picnic, ain’t it?
Salina: I figured we might go inside to enjoy the
vittles. How would that be?

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub--OLN