Thursday, July 30, 2020

March 7, 1965

image from

March 7, 1965

“You must not be afraid to speak up, and speak
out for what you believe. You need courage, raw
courage.”--John Lewis

Twas at Brown’s Chapel
Church where the freedom riders
gathered, fists unclenched.

Martin Luther King
marched on point, John Lewis by his
side; 25 years old.

Almost 100 years
after Confederacy’s 
surrender, but in

1965 the
Klan was strong, and racism was
rampant, raw, and cruel.

600 marchers poured
into the street, with 54
miles to the capital.

At the bend, they could
see the bridge, named after
Edmund Pettus, who

was a Confederate
general, a Grand Wizard
of the Ku Klux Klan,

later becoming an
Alabama senator;
considered a hero.

The marchers strained
climbing the face of the bridge;
once at the crest, they

clearly saw hundreds of
“Bama state troopers stretched
50 deep across the street.

Then the crack of a 
whip as troopers charged right at
the helpless marchers.

On horseback, with dogs,
armed with clubs, whips, and tear gas
they ran over the crowd.

John Lewis tried to cover
a fallen woman, and had
his skull cracked for it.

Almost every year
there is a reenactment,
minus the violence.

Over 50 years later,
John Lewis passed on at 80.
Trump refused to pay

his respects as Lewis
lie in state; once again he’s
shown his true nature.

Lewis was given
six days of honors, starting with
doing the march itself.

The caisson rolled so
slowly, with John Lewis aboard,
taking his last ride.

Two black horses pulled the
wagon; our grand flag draped tight
over the casket.

One more time, oh God,
one more time, before the bridge
is renamed for Lewis.

Glenn Buttkus

Haiku sequencing

Posted over at d'Verse Poets Pub 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Halcon Peregrino

image from

Halcon Peregrino

“Ignorance is the curse of God. Knowledge is the
wings wherewith we fly to heaven.”
--William Shakespeare.

I am the King Kong of falcons,
          Peregrine, baby, the raptor 
                  prince of the stratosphere.

                      I’m a handsome lad--been on
                           my own for 13 years. Check me
                                   out, dark gray, with a Stygian 
                           black helmet. My eyering and
                       cere is butterfly yellow. My ebon
                   beak is snappy and small, very
                sharp, very hooked and blood-
             stained. I have buff pointed
          wings, with a span of four
     feet, with a long sweet tail.

I fly high
and fast;
a lethal missile
that swoops down
on smaller birds
snatching them
out of the sky.

I can fly, cruising
     at 40mph, and when I drop
            down with my wings pinned
                  back, I can hit 170 mph, just
                       slicing the air, nearly silent, a
                               dagger of feathered death.

                       My parents were pets to
              an Asian falconer, a nomad
          on the steppes of Russia,
      a mere falcon’s flight from
  Alaska. My name stands
for Wanderer, or Pilgrim.
My brethren can be found
on every continent. I was set
free at a year old, and I
immigrated to America.

My claimed air space
is above the Olympic
National forest.

My nest is built at
    4,000 feet, on the steep
         cliff shoulders of Mt. Olympus,
            nestled on an ancient Sitka Spruce
                tree root, strong, and secure. The nest
                    once belonged to a pair of bald eagles.
                Damn, they used to hunt me, but even
              while double-teamed, I proved to be
           too swift, too bold, too powerful for         
       them. It helped that they were
    elders, and i was at the peak
of my youth.
My reward was
that I outlived
them, and now 
I own their fine nest.

I’ve had the same mate
for ten years--my Delilah.
Often we hunt as a pair,
randy carnivores feasting
on the flesh of rodents,
and if we’re lucky,
a luscious cat 
or a tiny dog.

It’s an hour’s flight to the ocean.
Seagulls are a delicacy,
and they are fast
and fun as prey.          

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poets Pub

Monday, July 27, 2020

Bloody Sunday

painting by Joan Baez.

Bloody Sunday

“The vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most
powerful non-violent tool we have in democracy.”
---Congressman John Robert Lewis.

Bridge--the Edmund Pettus.
Robert--John’s home name.
Attacked they were, in 1965.
Many marchers injured.
Black lives clubbed.
Lean in--make good trouble.
Everyman’s hero.
Services--tribute for six days,
      for the fallen freedom fighter,
      making it from a cotton plantation
      to Congress. 


Glenn Buttkus

Quadrille: exactly 44 words.

Posted over at d'Verse Poets Pub

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Blackthorne Episode 119

painting by Robert George Harris


Cinemagenic 119


“A lie may take care of the present, but it has
no future.”--Craft M. Pentz.

1(sound cue) castanets and Indian seed rattle.
2(cut to a wide shot) the gunmen at the back of
the room stood up, their shotguns cradled over
their arms. The two men upstairs with Spencers
stood over their fallen comrade, peering down at
the twisted crushed corpse of Ramos in the middle
of the floor; Ramos, the man who used to break
backs, now a pile of villainous rubbish.
3(medium close-up) Paul Bronson: Cash--you watch
that Buck-bastard, he wants to kill you.
4(close-up) Cash Bronson: Where’s Thor?
5(medium close-up) Thor Bronson: I’m right here, 
rising up from behind the bar, his left hand to his
right shoulder, the right arm striped with blood, his 
right hand mangled, missing his pinky. He walked 
over to Ramos’ body, and stood there shaking.
6(cut to front door) Henry Wallace entered, pushing
his way past deputy Billy: Christ Almighty--the Doc
is already full up. We’re going to need a triage at
the foot of his stairs
7(three-shot) Buck: What did you find out,
Hop: This is a fine time for you to ask, his voice
dry and cracking.
8(sound cue) harmonica over scuffing chairs and
restless boots.
9(cut to medium close-up) Cash Bronson: Who is
going to tell me what the hell happened here?
his fingers jammed in his vest pockets.
10(cut to medium close-up) Paul Bronson: It was all
them two, coming meekly down the stairs, wagging
his pale finger at Buck and the big Indian.
11(one-shot) Thor Bronson was scowling down at
his gunshot hand, and he was silent.
12( medium close-up) Paul Bronson: They came in
here spoiling for a fight, yelling about getting you.
Before any of us could reason with them, they just
started shooting up the place.
13(two-shot) The Indian’s dark eyes found
Buck’s blue ones. Buck’s eyes registered
14(close-up) Cash Bronson: Is that the way
it was, Thor?
15(one-shot) Thor pulled a chair to him with his
foot, and sat in it. In obvious pain, and through
gritted teeth, he said: Yeah, that’s pretty much
how it came down. Buck, here, seems to think
that we sent them men out to his place, and he
wasn’t in any mood to discuss it.
16( medium close-up) Cash: Is there any man
here who saw it different?
17(medium wide shot) Four bystanders who had
not participated in the gunfight looked at each
other. No one spoke up.
18(two-shot) Sheriff Hop: What’s your version of
Buck: Does it really make any difference?
Hop: Yes, it does.
Buck: They are both lying.
19(sound cue) guitar and harmonica.
Hop, after a moment: So...what’s the truth?
20(close-up) The Indian blurted out: Men came to
the cantina. Ramos shot Mateo. Many saw it. We
came here after Ramos.
Hop: Looks like you found him.
Indian: The Bronsons would not give him to us. Thor
squared off with Buck. They pulled first. We were just
protecting ourselves.
21(close-up) Cash, said quietly: There are four or five
dead men here that might have a different story.
22(close-up) Buck: Then why don’t you fucking ask
23(sound cue) blues guitar slide.
24(medium wide shot) Henry Wallace: Why couldn’t
you have waited for the Sheriff?
Buck: You were there. The sons’abitches poked the
bear. They’re the ones who couldn’t wait.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse poets Pub OLN