Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Blackthorne Episode 133

image from 


Cinemagenic 133


“Anger and woe, sin and her shadow misery,

Death’s harbinger.”--John Milton.

1(overhead drone shot) above Antlered Buck; fast

decent to the smoking char that was the ranch

house, the blackened skeleton of the gutted


2(sound cue) violins and cello.

3(slow tracking shot) across the devastation.

The fires were out. Smoking ashes lie like gray

dung. Black timbers thrust through the crematory

silt, brittle edifices, all abstract, standing without

a pattern, swaying broken in the prairie breeze.

4(dolly shot to center) In the middle of the burn

stood the tall staircase. It was a defiant thing,

charred, hollowed, yet another gutted treasure,

an arrogant prideful railless sentinel that would

soon crash into crumbs with the weight of a

spider upon it, and yet contrary to physics and

logic it remained standing, broad burned stairs

that rose up from the ashes like an angry middle

digit toward an indifferent sky, and terminated,

touching nothing.

5(reverse dolly shot) The big maple tree spread its

heavy branches out over the yard. Gun shots had

torn off large chunks of bark on its trunk. 

6(sound cue) clarinet and piano.

The long shadows of its leaves lingered coldly over

the stiff dead faces of eight men, most with their 

eyes still open, who lie in a ragged line, their bodies

riddled with bullet holes, boot heel tracks all over the

yard from dragging their carcasses from all points

to lie at attention for their last reveille. They were all

face up, staring with sightless eyes at the bright

summer morning, at the flies and butterflies that

lit on their gray faces, sipping at the dried blood


7(medium wide shot) and at the tall buffalo hunter

who stood between them and the remains of the 

burned house, staring at the stiff pile of lifelessness.

He had his Sharps cradled in his thick arms, while

the buckskin fringes on his attire swayed sweetly

in a wind dance with his long black hair. From his

belt hung a potato sack; dozens of sticks of 

dynamite poked through the burlap, the last of a

powder cache he had hidden under the bunkhouse.

8(medium close-up) Buck’s brow was knitted, his

features were gaunt, his eyes simmering. He

turned and placed his gaze on the ranch house.

9(sound cue) guitar and harmonica.

10(close-up) his sad eyes.

He scanned through the iron gray ash, searching for

a remnant, a tiny piece of what had been there the

day before. He could make out part of a dining room

chair, part of a gilded picture frame, the brass hooks

from a coat rack. Most of it was gone, his childhood,

parents, brother, his past and perhaps his future,

lost, unretrievable, all gone, faceless, all withered

black rosebuds. 

11(medium close-up) He tilted his head back, his

eyes widened, and he exhaled a silent scream. 

Tears leapt from his eyes. He could not remember 

what his mother’s face looked like. Then he inhaled 

and his face hardened. He wiped his runny nose on 

his sleeve. He became aware that something was 

behind him

12(sound cue) Indian seed rattle over hard hooves

clattering on harder ground.

Buck spun around with the breech loader cocked.

13(medium wide-shot) Buck’s back to the camera.

Above the heap of cinder that had been the barn,

and the burned corpses of several horses, on a

low bluff, a white bull bison stood watching him.

14(one-shot) Its massive ivory-colored head was 

held high. It stood so still it might have been a

statue but for the breeze ruffling its shaggy silver

coat. Its yellow-black horns shone in the sun. Its

red eyes stared without blinking.

15(close-up) Buck: El Blanco... lowering the Sharps.

The white mammoth raised its tufted tail, and with

a loud bellow, it galloped down the hill straight at


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub OLN

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bridge to Nowhere


Images from Wikipedia

Bridge to Nowhere

“Sometimes you get the best light from a

burning bridge.”--Don Henley.

Puget Sound

is an inland sea.

It’s a hundred miles long,

and a busy waterway,

as Washington State super ferries

churn their way between

the many islands.

Native Americans once stood

on what would become

Point Defiance and Tacoma,

peering over a mile

to what would become Gig Harbor.

The water runs deep and swift,

with strong currents and high winds.

During the Depression

engineers stood at the same spot

who designed a suspension bridge

that would span that distance

like a great steel ribbon.

It took three years to build it.

The Tacoma Narrows bridge opened

on July 1, 1940 and it developed problems

immediately. During high winds it would

shake, shiver and wobble, scaring drivers.

It had a design flaw called aeroelastic flutter.

On November 7, 1940, when only four months old,

while battling a 40mph wind, Galloping Gertie

snapped in half, and crashed into the Sound.

Miraculously no one was killed. A dog

named Tubby was the only fatality.

The remains of the old bridge 

lay on the bottom at 600 feet,

and over the years it created

one of the world’s largest man-made reef;

home to teeming  pods of octopi.

Between 1940-1950,

the two ends stood

as monuments to folly and hubris.

--It was the Bridge to Nowhere,

until it wasn’t--

In 1950, a new bridge was erected,

with open tresses, stiffening struts,

and many openings for the wind.

It became Sturdy Gertie, 

a modern marvel. In July, 2007,

a companion bridge was completed,

parallel to the other one.

Together they accommodate

90,000 cars a day.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at  d'Verse Poet's Pub

Monday, April 26, 2021

Boredom at Union Station

image from 

Boredom at Union Station

“2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but our

love of movies helped us get through it.”

--Regina King.

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony from last night

is on my mind, pushing the flitting sun-breaks in the

overcast Northwest beyond the cognitive back burners.

Sure, it was a nice try to reinvigorate a lackluster set

of recent awards shows, but due to Covid restrictions,

they broadcast it from a train station, with a quarter of

the normal audience, with maximum social distancing,

and intermittent mask-wearing, 

Filmed live, directed by Steven Soderbergh, I hoped

for something chic, and woke, and creative. What was 

delivered was about as exciting as a limp phallus or a

sad pair of sagging breasts. Everything seemed off-

kilter and out of balance, while suffering from chronic 

fatigue syndrome. 85% of the movies honored were 

streamed and had never seen the inside of a theater. 

We should have called the show the “Emmscars”.

There were no musical numbers, no live orchestra; 

rather there was this hip-hop DJ, fresh from some

bar mitzvah, and no live host. It was bogged down

with topical politics and appropriate ethnicity, moving

like a dose of sodium pentothal. Even the “In

Memoriam” section flipped by in two nano-seconds,

making it hard to keep up, or feel anything.

I don’t support most of the “cancel culture”, but as a

life-long movie buff, and ex-professional actor, who

has faithfully watched the Oscars since 1953, this

show was insipid, dull, and still-born; about like

filming a meeting of the City Council. People

Magazine called it “hilarious, emotional, and

inspirational.” They must have seen a different 

broadcast than I did.

A squirrel in our

maple tree chattered at the

terrier below.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Banishing the Clown

image from

 Banishing the Clown

“We all know that Trump was a clown, Fascist and

a liar.”--Jane Fonda.

We all remember the stupid lame idiot, who

stole the Office of the President, keeping it

for a long four years. He was badmouthing the Jews,

Mexicans, Muslims, and Blacks, giving us a fit.

It’s a mystery how this ridiculous clown

kept himself in power, and we never found

a way to make sure Trump’s blunders and lies would be

blocked or removed, once he put them into law.

We suffered forever and could not find a real key

to rid us of his evil, and his every flaw.

Then came the election, and we discovered that

our right to vote finally got rid of the Rat.

Glenn Buttkus

Anapestic Tetrameter

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blackthorne Episode 132

image from


Cinemagenic 132


“Someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build

the biggest goddamn steam shovel in history, and

dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war into

it and cover it up.”--Ray Bradbury.

1(sound cue) snare drum and guitar.

2(overhead drone shot) Buck riding hell for leather,

thick dust kicked up in his galloping.

3(sound cue) the mare’s hooves, deep breathing,

and the snap of the reins against its flanks.

4(drone shot descending) toward the rider, until

they fill the frame.

5(cut to a medium wide shot) at ground level, as

Buck gallops toward the camera, overtakes it

and runs past.

6(cut to slow motion) the big man leaning forward,

as the mare’s muscles rippled.

7(cut to normal traveling shot) The mare was a 

sprinter. After five miles she began to cave in. Buck 

let her slow to a canter. He turned northeast running 

down the dark shoulders of ridges, through shadow-

laced arroyos, long dewy grass and tall sage. He rode 

for 45 minutes and then reined up at the edge of some 

timber. It was still early and damp, and the sun was 

without heat. Buck stayed in the saddle.

8(sound cue)  violins and cello over harmonica.

9(medium close up) Buck could see no one was

following him. Posses did not form themselves, and

with the deputy dead and the sheriff wounded, chaos

swirled in the streets. He pushed his hat back onto his

back, the leather strap tight under his chin. He

smoothed his sweaty hair, and stretched his tense


10(medium wide shot) He pulled his black hat back on

and loped north. He kept to the thick timber, staying off

the main road. 

11(medium close up) He stopped every few minutes 

and scanned his back trail. He didn’t see a sign of 

anyone. Sonofabitch, he thought, Not even Bronson 

had sent out riders. He had poked a hornet’s nest, and 

folks had to deal with their stings.

12(sound cue) violin fiddling with banjo.

13(medium wide travel shot) He rode up a steep

hogback, picking his way around a stand of swelled-

butt jack pine, sitting tall in the stolen saddle,

and he and the mare could still feel the chill of 

the morning in their lungs. He stopped in a

tiny glen, and dismounted. The stock of his

Sharps stuck up out of the rifle scabbard like

a hand brake on a wagon, like a rudder on a

boat. Watching the mare munch a hasty

breakfast of sweet grass, he suddenly felt

hunger wrapped in anger, and anguish masked

with adrenalin. He took a long piss, and steam

rose off the stream and the puddle in the dust.

14(close-up) His face.

15(sound cue) His inner monologue, playing out

in voice over, as the camera captures the halcyon

moments in the glen--flitting birds warbling and

choking tree branches, butterflies winging in

swarming squadrons over multicolor thatches

of wild flowers, a pair of squirrels chattering at

him from halfway up a pine, and the thick sweet

scent of pine needles in the air.

Could I be more fucked? I doubt it. Antlered Buck

is burned down, and with it the demise of horses

and dreams. Death has rode roughshod, and He

is not done with me yet. Salina will be beside 

herself with worry. Joe Hop is not going to cut me 

any more slack. I have stolen a horse, and had 

another shot out from underneath me. I broke out 

of jail just as a U.S. Marshal is expected. Bronson 

holds the aces. He avoided a meeting with me. I 

shot up his saloon, and I don’t know if Joe Hop 

determined the assholes who attacked us at the 

ranch were actually sent by Bronson. My Appaloosa 

stallion is beyond reach, and some motherfucker 

shot my dog. Christ in a wheel-barrow.

16(medium wide shot) He swung up into the saddle,

stood up in the stirrups, and raised clenched fists

to the heavens. Settling into the leather, he patted

the mare’s neck, nudged her with his knees, and

galloped straight into the sun, down into a deep


17(sound cue) castanets and coronet.

18(cut to overhead drone shot) rising slowly up from

the rider, higher and higher, until Buck was just an ant

riding a beetle, scurrying out of sight. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub OLN