Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stupid war makes for "Four Buck Gas" by Glenn Buttkus

Taking one of Rick Mobbs awesome paintings (yes I am a big fan of Rick Mobbs work!) with a little help (horse's red leg) from his son, Broadus, entitled , Stupid War, Glenn Buttkus co-author of Feel Free to Read blog, wrote the following poem, Four Buck Gas. It's long. Too bad. Excellent poetry comes in long - as well as short and medium. heh heh. Long is good. I know. How do I know? you might be asking. Glenn Buttkus tends to write lengthy poems; you see, he has an eye for detail that can analyze any subject down to a, ah - a gnat's eyeball! Yeah! That's it. Furthermore - this particular poem is an excellent example of my premise that poets are the true historians. But that's not all...Glenn also writes movie reviews that rock. He includes so much information that by the time you've read the review, you might feel like you just saw the movie! Yup, that good. This is also the way he treats poetry. If Glenn likes what you've written, he'll tell you exactly why; pulling every nuance, hidden meaning, psychological undertone, and any literary reference alluded to in the imagery that he can hunt down. He'll weave a beautiful and carefully written essay about your poem/movie/writing or pack a novella of a concise review down to critical mass thumbnail size that makes you feel like the most important poet that's hit the scene! Make sure you take a jet to his blog. You will find a fascinating & fantastic potpourri of miscellaneous literary extracts. And now, without further ado, here's Glenn Buttkus on four buck gas!

Four Buck Gas

This morning
I stood in the pre-dawn chill
and pumped 4-buck gas
into my pick up.

Suddenly consumed
with unspeakable anger,
I shook my free fist
at the Shell sign—
standing there tall
and sullen
and silent,
arrogantly golden
its $4.15
for regular gas

I thought about
The Bush War
and what it is costing
and about the fat cat
oil barons
who hang out with Junior
swilling Lone Star
and counting their tax-free

The New Millennium Crusades
suddenly swam belligerently
into my cortical net,
witnessing Bush stir up
the Muslim wasp nest,
sending our youth
into harm’s way
to face the barbs and stingers,
RPG’s, roadside explosions,
and suicide bombers
who themselves
are barely old enough
to enjoy
the promised 100 virgins
in Jihad Paradise.

A few yesterdays ago
there we were
post 9-11 in 2003,
wanting to strike back,
wanting revenge
for the terrible toppling of our towers,
and the callous crushing
of the innocent thousands,
as death was brought to us
on our own silver wings,
diving and plunging
straight down,
laden with high-pitched screams
from jet engines pushed to full throttle
and passengers hoarse from fear.

Something had to be done.
Who could we punish?
Who could we kill
to satiate our blood lust?
George W. Bush, Jr.
and all his father’s posse
smiled like hyenas
in a silent pack,
and their greedy index fingers
pointed back,
straight at Iraq;
telling us repeatedly
that right there was the heart
of darkness,
the den of murderers,
the scourge of the earth;
plotters, terrorists, and enemies—
that Bush was ready
to lead us
into a holy war
that would finish the job
left undone by his daddy
in 1991—
that as righteous patriots
we should take on
the rag tag Republican Army
and run that ruthless fox,
Saddam Hussein,
to ground;
for he was a madman,
an abuser of human rights,
a killer,
a dictator,
a womanizer,
a sodomizer;
and not only
did he absolutely possess
weapons of mass destruction,
but he fully intended
to send unmanned squadrons
of drones
to our eastern shores,
that were fully laden
with biological germ warfare payloads.

75 senators were duped, cajoled,
and convinced,
thus launching
Operation Iraqi Liberation;
soon to morph into
Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the one month assault,
we overran Hussein’s finest troops
like shooting coyotes
from horseback,
and it only cost us
139 American lives.
was on the commander’s lips,
followed by,
“Let’s stick around a while now,
and assist the Iraqis into forging
a Democracy.”

We all recall
the smirking grin
and lying eyes
of warmonger
Donald Rumsfeld;
and that late afternoon
five years ago this May
on the USS Abraham Lincoln,
when Commander in Chief,
President Bush
emerged from a fighter
wearing a flight suit,
stood spread-legged on the naked steel deck,
waving his thunder bolt helmet
and declaring,
“Mission Accomplished!”

And presently
here we are,
knee deep in Year 5,
fighting “asymmetric warfare”,
without front lines,
against a faceless enemy
that hides in
and melts into
the civilian population;
just like before
in 1964—
except now we are immersed in
and surrounded by
civil war and insurgency,
as we are being branded
the Occupying Force,
once again;
spilling blood for greed
and democracy—
being taught hard lessons;
like we cannot curtail
the flow of Jihad insurgents
by cutting the head off the Hydra,
or its whelps,
or its lieutenants—
for new warriors
spring like cockroaches from the shadows,
craving to join the resistance
to the Infidels and Capitalists,
arriving in dark clumps daily,
like monsters rising out of the blood-soaked
waters of the Tigris and Euphrates—
making us pay
every day
for patrolling
the Sunni Triangle.

Oh God,
when will the madness end?
How much black gold
has to be pumped
into profit
from the Iraqi
fat oil reserves?
How many more
retired Special Forces
will have to be recruited
by Blackwater
to protect Bush’s
real agenda?

The numbers for Y5
are staggering!
U.S. dead: 4,079.
U.S. wounded: 30,000.
Contractors dead: 1,028.
Contractors wounded: 10,569.
Iraqi death toll: 1,000,000.
Iraqi combatants dead: 10,800.
Insurgents dead: 22,807.
Detainees: 43,000.

Like in the 60’s
when the carnage
in Viet Nam
was broadcast to us daily,
splashing red and futile
on our living room television screens—
our forced occupancy
of Iraq
is beamed immediately by satellite
to every home,
for all of us to see
and cringe
as the pride of our loins
are kicking down doors
and pumping hot lead
from their Mossberg shotguns
into the Islamic populous—
are being ambushed
around every corner,
green zone or not;
witnessing the riddling
of those poorly armored Humvees,
those High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles,
with bullets bought in black markets,
originally manufactured by us
and sent to Saddam
when it was his job
to fight the Iranians
for us.

Our young men
and women,
do their duty,
without hesitation,
becoming hard-hearted
and stone-jawed—
even though many of them
may be stop-lossed
or extended
by their loving government
to stay
in the fray;
professional targets,
standing atop
an M1 Abrams battle tank,
or racing down some dangerous narrow alley
in their M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle,
or screetching through those
mean Moslem streets in Strykers—
the dead brown skies above
with Apaches, Kiowa Warriors, Black Hawks, and Chinooks—
the dirty twilight punctuated
by the deep throb
of dozens
of .50 caliber lethal heavy machine guns—
patrols partially protected
by howling M249 SAWS.

Yes, Lord,
we see it all;
and feel overwhelmed
with intense grief and anguish
as this cavalcade of cavalry and contractors
are at this very moment
toiling in the acrid white dust
of the Middle East,
providing the opportunity
for the petroleum bullies
to force me
to have to pump their goddamn
4 buck gas,
and shake my inept fist
at a stupid sea shell,
and snarl terribly
at those barons unseen,
but most certainly

Glenn Buttkus June 2008