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


brudberg said...

I remember the white buffalo from one of your first installments years ago, and now he's back, and you keep us in suspension on how his and Buck's story will become one... love it.

Ingrid said...

A dramatic episode, Glenn: I loved the image of the burnt-out house and the appearance of El Blanco at the end!

robkistner said...

Seems like Buck better run bro… big bad buffalo bearing down!

Kim M. Russell said...

I could see this all in my head, an amazing piece of cinematography, Glenn, which builds up the tension with each shot. The opening shot of the ‘smoking char that was the ranch’ is shocking – the image ‘black timbers thrust through the crematory silt’ is stark, and one that will stay in my head is the defiant staircase. I felt so sorry for the maple tree from which gun shots had ‘torn off large chunks of bark’ and was shocked by the ‘stiff dead faces of eight men, most with their eyes still open’, which reminded me of a real photograph I have seen somewhere of a row of dead outlaws. But oh, the white bison! What an ending to the episode!

scotthastiepoet said...

Hi there Glenn, I'm going to use this opportunity to say something in a public forum - if you will forgive me that... I got drawn to looking at the record of on line OLN session last time round, by the noise created by the quality of both the performance and the written piece you submitted that particular night. I have to say, for me, this was absolutely outstanding - so Bravo my friend.
And not least therefore add the heartfelt suggestion that if you a good number of pieces of this standard that you can read so tellingly, I would really, really urge you to get cracking and put together an audio volume of such. Boy! That would be quite some poetic legacy.. It was truly stellar two weeks ago - that's for sure... With great respect Scottie xxx

Glenn Buttkus said...

Thank you so much, dear Scott. I used to read/narrate each poem aloud, but it became tedious. There are over 500 poems on audio in my archives, As an ex-actor, I had quite a following here in Tacoma for open mic and poetry slams. I was dubbed Tacoma's last Beat Poet. But for a couple of years my health has kept me housebound. I certainly do appreciate praise from you.

JadeLi said...

One of your best -- if not THE best chapter -- yet. You bring your whole being into this. Glenn, I want Buck to live! The white buffalo is a powerful harbinger I know but even harbingers can be wrong.

Grace said...

I agree a dramatic episolde Glenn!

scotthastiepoet said...

Wow! That is some audio archive Glenn! I can only hope that someone over there curates and does something with it one day to help bring it to the wider audience it no doubt deserves...

Helen said...

No way could any person read this and not see it come to life in his/her mind! Bravo Glenn.