The Waiting by Glenn Buttkus

Your heart is full of fertile seeds, just waiting
to sprout.”–Morihei Ueshiba.

The bus station bench became too hard to tolerate,
the milling minions                     too loud,
too boisterous,
too pleased & joyous
as it seemed that everyone else met up
with a lover, a friend, or a family member,
as he sat solitary, arms folded,
legs outstretched.

The great shiny but dusty Greyhounds
rolled in & parked in neat diagonal rows,
their air brakes whooshing, their diesel exhaust
choking the air of the terminal garage, as
their chrome doors made that distinctive
clunk folding back & swinging open wide,
allowing the anxious passengers egress.

He watched the traveler’s faces intensely,
witnessing happiness, despair, confusion, anger,
rancor & bliss–a swirling cavalcade of emotions, of
expressions, slack jaws, clenched teeth, furrowed
brows, & a plethora of mysterious situations.

Too often these days,
working for a year now in the bustling
Kenworth factory,                  he ate alone,
slept alone, &
walked alone,
staring into the brightly lit windows
of other people’s lives, while listening
to other people’s music.

If he had been a writer,                     If he could paint, he would
he would have flooded                      have painted 6 foot high can-
pages with passionate                      vases with black & red & yellow
poetry, or started a novel.                 swaths of abstract sincerity, angst
& heartache.

Yonglin told him yesterday
that she would come up for
a visit tonight, after her shift at
the diner, in that converted railway
car on the edge of Diggsville, down
in the farm country, traveling up from
the Notch, the placid purity of rural
blessings into the stench & chaos of this
metropolis. They were engaged, but
only managed to see each once a month.

There was one more bus scheduled to arrive at midnight.
Nervously, he walked next door to the New Peking restaurant,
& gobbled down some house fried rice, laden with shrimp,
chicken, pork, eggs & green onions. Sipping hot green tea,
he traced hearts in the lovely grease left on the colorful
platter. He smiled as he read the message extracted from
his stale fortune cookie: Someone will make you happy
tonight.

Long distance romances
can be difficult to maintain;
but it can be done.

.

* Glenn Buttkus was born in Seattle on June 14, 1944, on Flag Day; numerologists seem to love these numbers. He lived like a gypsy child, moving around a lot, growing up with three stepfathers. He was the kid who sat on a bluff above Puget Sound staring out at the islands in the stream and dreaming of buying one some day, when he was a wealthy actor or writer or both. Whenever he wants a chuckle, he goes back to look at some of his earliest poetry, as a teenager in the 50s. It seemed to improve during Viet Nam, and his time in the service. Glenn did become a professional actor for a decade, quitting in 1977, and going back to school to be a Special Education teacher, working with the blind. So for most of his vocational career, he worked with adult legally blind veterans, a job he found very rewarding. Through all of this, he never lost his love of movies and never stopped writing poetry, though two unfinished novels gather dust on a shelf in his basement. Now retired, Glenn devotes a lot more time to writing movie reviews, staying active in his film club, writing poetry, performing in community theater, and doing open mic poetry performance/readings.