Thursday, December 16, 2021

Christ in the Empty Chair

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 Christ in the Empty Chair

“Christmas is built upon a paradox--that a homeless

birth should be celebrated in every home.”

--Leah Hall

With vaccine cards and masks in hand,

my family gathers from all points to

celebrate Christmas together for the first time

in two years. It will be at 

my home. It will bustle with nine

grand-children, tall tales, hugs and holiday

cheer. Down with chaos, up with Love. 

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Heartspur Sunrise

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Heartspur Sunrise

“You can only appreciate the miracle, the gift of a

sunrise after you have lived in the darkness.”



is a blessed curse,

having its own yin and yang.

It becomes a room

with thousands of doors,

and every day, one or more

will not open for you.


about being starlorn

at high noon

in a city that’s covered

in a starless night sky.


about chronic amentalio

because parents and friends

have passed before you

and neither snapshot

nor portrait is enough.


also the warm lisolia

of polishing the wooden stock

on your grandfather’s .30-.06,

where dozens of family shoulders

have worn a loving niche in it.


the tugging heartmoor

of driving through the city

you grew up in, 

and getting lost

while searching for

one of the houses you lived in.


the torrent of heartspur

tears that well up

as you watch


because you and your mother

used to watch it annually.


the harrowing aphasia

that haunts you daily

as Confederate flags

and Nazi SS pins

are flaunted openly

and Civil War seems to loom.


the irritating etherness

that you experience at family gatherings,

while watching your happy grandchildren,

as you wonder how in hell

will they adjust to a planet in revolt?

Who will succumb to drugs,

who will have a bad marriage,

and who will die young?

And it’s

the barbed kenopsia

that lurks in the air

when you walk down Main Street

and more than half

of the Mom & Pop businesses 

are boarded up.

Is it the new Mall

or Covid that is


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Monday, December 13, 2021

Tangled Tinsel

 image from

Tangled Tinsel

“Grief is a room without doors--but somehow with its

tinsel, Christmas finds a way in.”--Simon Van Booy

For some reason we

always called tinsel icicles.

it was the last thing

to add on the tree.

It was like icing on a 

cake; nothing tawdry.

But gold fillings in

someone’s mouth, that bugs me, and

I do not know why.

No shit.

Glenn Buttkus


Posted over at  d'Verse Poet's Pub

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Blackthorne Episode 147

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Cinemagenic 147

Ballet Of Beasts

“In May 2011 I posted this poem for OLN. Folks

were a bit perplexed by it. Perhaps today it can

be recognized as a poetic extension of the novel’s


Now he could see himself

landing lightly in a pool of quiet dust,
firing his pistol and his sawed-off

as he touched the ground,

dropping his guns immediately,

leaping back into the thick air,

lunging across a shaft of golden light,

as he heard hooves;

then he became hooves

pounding the hard packed earth,

millions of unshod hooves beating

against the face of the prairie;

then he was on the Appaloosa

and Johnny Eagle was on White Bob

galloping in the musky midst

of an angry ocean of humps and horns

a ballet of beasts dancing at quarter speed,

time condensed within the clenched fist

of that dangerous moment,

as massive muscles rippled slowly,

the undulating transfer of meat

into extreme slow-motion.

and soon a slower visual realm still

until flaring nostrils and panicked eyes

became frozen, just before

the cacophony of gunfire--

Sharps, Spencers, Winchesters and Colts,

their crackling crescendo washing over

the cries from the herd, 

as that great horde of hair

began crashing into the tall grass

skidding in blood, breaking bones

as collisions piled up, and at the bottom

the leaders were dying

in a cataclysmic chorus of death songs,

and out of the blood mist runs Buck, on foot,

making long strides toward the purple

mountains, with bison death breath thick

and visceral, clinging sticky to his soul,

but not alone in the race, becoming a trio,

his father on one side of him,

and the Eagle on the other;

for a time they moved along together,

matching each other’s stride, running

as one six-legged creature

as the rifles barked on,

the running barely touching

the viscous viscus of cosmic pain,

rifle blasts still thundering in his tympanum

when he heard his patriarch fall, but

he did not slow or turn to the old man,

for he had to run on, pumping his arms,

the Hunter and the Eagle fleet as antelopes,

hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder, tearing

up clods as they sprinted, their faces blue,

their lungs aching, and then the Indian went

down, landing lightly like a fluttering feather,

a beautiful soft death. Buck’s eyes blazed

with tears as he ran on, his big hands reaching

for the distant mountains, pushing himself

until there was only the running, and

the running had no heart, no spirit, until

he was overcome with a terrible fatigue,

and the race for the red horizon faded,

as the murderous lightning of a thousand

rifle discharges rolled over him;

the guns went silent, and the sky became

a black funnel, his eyes lost their focus,

and his lungs turned to stone, so very

quiet as the reeds fluted the air,

and the grass hugged him farewell,

until he was full stop,

and he finally turned

to face the horns. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Six Barrels

image from

 Six Barrels

“It occurred to me that I could invent a machine-

gun that through its rapidity of fire could enable one

man to perform as much battle duty as a hundred,

thus saving American lives.”--Richard Jordan Gatling.

Back in 1861,

Richard Gatling invented

the first functional machine gun.

It had a cyclic

six-barreled design.

It was hand-cranked,

and as the barrels rotated

they cooled and reloaded


It could fire

more than 400 .30 caliber rounds

per minute, and it never


Later, some models

had ten barrels,

used .45-70 cartridges,

and could fire 700 rounds

per minute, using

two feeder clips,

one for firing,

and one for reloading.

The gun was used by the

Union Army during the Civil War.

General Custer had access

to two Gatling guns,

and decided not to use them.

The Gun was used

by the American Army

for 45 years.

One of the most famous

victories it facilitated

was the Battle of San Juan Hill,

during the Spaniksh-American War.

Lt. John Parker commanded

a 4-gun battery

of ten-barreled Gatlings,

that could rotate at

700 rpm, and could fire

more than 800 rounds per minute.

Parker used the guns

as cover fire as the 

Rough Riders charged

up the hill. After

the hill was taken,

three guns were hauled

to the top, just in time

before a Spanish attack

to retake the hill.

600 Spanish soldiers

started up, and only 40


The Gatlings fired

18,000 rounds

in 8 minutes. 


modern troops use an

electric-motor driven

rotary cannon.

It takes a strong man

to use one.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub

Monday, December 6, 2021


image from 


Today mass homelessness is more prevalent than 

ever. Instead of shacks made of wood from pallets

and crates, cardboard and scraps of metal, we find 

filthy and tattered tents, old cars and RV’s as 

domiciles. Encampments seem to sprout under every 

bridge and along city streets, city parks, and business 

parking lots. I see the mentally ill, drug addicts, and

petty criminals, but I also see whole families living

on the streets.

What’s the answer? The poet in me is aware that I

dress in their stories patterned and purple as night,

thick and muggy as cold fog at dawn, hungry and

maligned in the underbelly of America. I witness

both desperation and an infestation of plague fleas.

Covid and ill heath prevent me from any activism.

 I’m stranded along the freeway watching cars collide 

and lives being lost.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Prosery