Friday, October 24, 2014

the river is my addiction

every step
to a new revelation
so it seems
like a shifting current
collides with the wind
never repeating itself

it's easy to miss
what's significant
my eye takes in the landscape
but once 

geese head to
lean-to shelters
     weeping riverbanks
a flock

these are not
the whitecaps
of yesterday

nor tomorrow

--- e b bortz

Thursday, October 23, 2014

earth note 304

west park, pittsburgh

there's a method
to the shuffling 
through fallen leaves & acorns
     a hundred wild
     pecking bills & swimmers' feet
     have left lake elizabeth
     for a morning scavenge
     before the rain
     while the getting is still good

every goose lets everyone know
they are here to stay
ducks simply keep their heads down
squirrels tuck away in a frenzy
only to forget
what's in the store

the lake might freeze this winter
or maybe not

city bureaucrats
have covered all contingencies
new signs & authority misrules
     no ice skating
     no swimming
     no wading
     no pets

no eating   no drinking   no breathing

--- e b bortz

Friday, October 17, 2014

earth note 303

a cliff dweller
reaches from millennia
where hands formed
every angle with the sun
shading secrets
only a maker

--- e b bortz

Sunday, October 12, 2014

earth note 302

fineview pittsburgh

lone hawk soaring & dives
traverses a radio tower
signals cold hill morning

who cares if there are
a few extra beats

--- e b bortz

Friday, October 10, 2014

a river is time

as much as distance
loose intervals
portions of summer
lost friends
     before the drive-ins all closed
trails were what you made of them
car windows steamed up
'cause the heat was transparent
because that's the way
you wore it

a swim was a baptism
     explanation not needed

a boxing ring
     with circles instead of squares

the chimneys coughed
wheezed every morning
like the bartender moe

and the girls rolled up
their work-camp sleeves
& held your hand
even after the music

--- e b bortz

Thursday, October 09, 2014

earth note 301

the road mapped itself
from what i remember
out past the last hay bales
the prairies started rolling
the sun kept a round face
until dusk
even the crows seemed
to have their directions set
looking to bed down
on a distant bluff
like a call from the forest
before the dark

the road had a unique vibration
of its own
empty & quiet for the most part
except when transitioning
between asphalt & concrete
the town lights came up suddenly
and then passed
like a silent acknowledgment

farmers in coveralls
a crowded diner
stress on a dozen faces
promises broken
by bank notes
& inflated seed panaceas
all of it parched
like a river diverted
for the grease pits

the road swayed
to the wind
western clouds breaking apart
wheat fields laboring
without hands
kneeling over
to touch
& loam

--- e b bortz

Monday, October 06, 2014

earth note 300

call it a day
to have an outdoor
cajun dance

wind northwest moves in
every tree in its own rhythm
beats a washboard

like any waltz
the steps seem somewhat

cept for the zydeco
coming thru
over the poplar tops

strings drown out
the sirens
greasy engines go quiet

for every distraction
there's a perfect escape
a new imagination

leaves never make a plan
to give up
untamed & no excuses

the sky a full blue
but by no means

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

earth note 299

rain stripped every
carrier of soot
a genetically modified bank statement
madmen hiding behind the wheel
at the helm
weaving in and out
of k & L gates & assorted
gated skyscrapers
extending out a hand
for three-card monte
to fool you
more than twice

if you see
the rain coming
leave the umbrella
at home

--- e b bortz

Monday, September 29, 2014

earth note 298

a full-blown sun
is running out the bottom
of a leaky bucket
so intense it'll be empty
before you know it

i need to find a way
to hide my impatience
with whatever comes next

there's nothing in spectator sports
to save
cept maybe the tailgates

so let me ride this
like a segue
outta the cities
toward the barrier islands
just this side
of the mangroves

--- e b bortz

Saturday, September 27, 2014

earth note 297

i'm still searching
the riverbanks
for a clue
about where this all
might be going

the waves come home
and then collapse
like an unfinished motion

the leaves get airborne
and then drop listlessly
to the water

i don't put much stock
in so-called intelligent life
after all it's got us
to where we're at

so i'll keep the moneychangers
out of this one

a crow is still a caw
if we're listening

don't conclude
this is a forfeiture

if you're still looking

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

earth note 296

the peaks from
the houses
are positioned perfectly
with the sun
     they print angles
     onto the avenue
     in black & white
with an overlay of the yellow lines
     suppressing all caution
green maple leaves
begin their ascension
to red & brown

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

movin on...no roadkill

the backpack was too big
for the bus overhead
so it went into
the luggage carrier
and as he slipped into
one of the seats
his book "planet walker"
opened up
     a lot of terrain to cover
     no doubt
and only one lifetime
to do it
so catching the bus
as far as nashville
was something of a shortcut
still leaving enough road ahead
for you to still earn
     (sorry for the phony hierarchical phrasing)
but i wanted to break it down
for (who or whom?) ever
is keeping
the log

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

high techies

say that plastic is better
but it still looks like
cold steel
wrapped by american flag

every shot rings thru the valley
brings the street closer
to the surface
of a pockmarked teenager
looking for kicks & liquor
with an abandoned streetcar track
called spring garden avenue

a ripped screen door
can still stop flies
when you're sedated

billboards proclaim
more cash for your house
and weapons
don't miss the upcoming
gun extravaganza

this is nothing like
the sharks & jets
camaraderie is so passe

the incorporates
make the speeches
drill the minds
never play
the taps

--- e b bortz

Monday, September 15, 2014

earth note 295

even as the feet move
the steps appear
to be a circular motion

it's that time
of year again
somewhat confusing

the new of september
is not an oxymoron
but a beginning

without preconceived assumptions
a hundred colors of dogma
will become a forest trail

--- e b bortz

Friday, September 12, 2014

earth note 294

marshall trail
in the middle of the northside
of pittsburgh
could have fooled me
     (because i wanted to be fooled)
into thinking i was hiking along
a ridge on the continental divide
in northern minnesota

cept for a big 6-point buck
who never saw a minnesota winter

of course the trees are different too

plush maples and oak and black cherry
won't do too well in the midst of
tamarack     white birch and a lot of wetlands

the earth & stones
have their own stories to tell
i'll keep listening for them
     the moss on the outcrops
     stay green all year

& when you inhale
& realize it's autumn
let the fear go
     let the meditation begin

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

earth note 293

99% of the world's species
go unacknowledged

migrating is nature

to glean is to survive

usually doesn't make
good copy or gossip
or get above the noise

has no lobbyist or publicist

no bible

maybe a handful of advocates
looking at
their next grant proposal

ads bordering
national geographic
puff pieces

commercially viable
     an original sin

--- e b bortz

Monday, September 08, 2014

earth note 292

every rip tide
is a statement
an answer to the docile

even pocomoke river
& corkers creek
pay attention

if there's a way
to twist and exploit
a planet's skin

it'll be done
while the bankers
hide neath the boardwalk

--- e b bortz

Thursday, August 21, 2014

earth note 291

so much of the world is in decay
leading to conclusions
that this is a normal life cycle
but why with all the pain
do cherry tomatoes
still ripen
though it isn't like
living off the fat of the land
     that was stolen
     that we venture
or endure
past the cities and seascapes
looking for the quiet
or a new illusion
in a thousand

--- e b bortz

Saturday, August 16, 2014

with arms raised

the heat of the pavement
hangs in the balance
a heart can only skip so far
a community comes together
to ask another question
only to answer it
with another question

there is no court
of public opinion
worth saving
a blind alley
has no windows and doors
an edifice
is not an answer
for justice

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, Aug 21, 2014)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

it all starts by wandering

if you get close enough
to the water
you can leave footsteps
in the sand
     to mark
     your own face
     takes some courage
     to expose oneself

when the tide comes home
your personality
will have new dimensions
it won't be what you expect

if only
there was a way
to capture every wave
     and remember it

--- e b bortz

Friday, August 08, 2014

ideas are infinite

just when you thought
the compost barrel was empty
another being
crawls out
and begins
a new round robin

you just may not
the language

or how to read
between the lines

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

you sit down to write congress about gaza

and the only thought
that sticks
is of the injured picking through
bombed-out broken buildings
looking for belongings
and fragments of family members

and for now
the tanks are withdrawing
soldiers returning
to their iron dome facades
their twisted rationalizations
more blood money in-transit

shell-shocked hospitals and schools
and displaced humans
are the face
of dead civilians

tell the world their names

--- e b bortz

Sunday, August 03, 2014

earth note 290

morning brings
mourning dove
a flat roof
with small puddles
gather perfectly
for a drink
the dove pecks the water
like sampling
a reflection
of the trees

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

earth note 289

as coal cars roll
over the railroad bridge
river below
always wondering
if the destination
is worth the pain

--- e b bortz

Monday, July 28, 2014

earth note 288

a morning chill
can be the wakeup
you've been waiting for

it's not enough to say
the heat's been broken

a new kind of day
can barge right in
when least expected

wild green brush
now a wave
deliberates downwind

broken edges of the sidewalk
become a blur

an orange cat
sits pensive
     suddenly scrambles

a moment is hard to measure

--- e b bortz

Saturday, July 26, 2014

earth note 287


schenley park has been overthrown
by urban cosmopolitan society
     new soccer fields
     all-weather track
it motors on with
bmw & the impatience
of another bureaucratic job
euphemistically dressed
in a snotty
health industry blazer

for every hiker
there are four joggers
with headsets

since the last i wrote about this
the cyclone fence has been replaced
the tennis courts resurfaced

yet the squirrels
are gone
running for the thicket

i follow

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

in this moment

the most meaningful
is to trade places
with the most vulnerable
become the parent
of a lynched teenager
become a so-called collateral damage
     a child in gaza
become a disruptor
of the propaganda mill
ignore pundits
expect ostracism
close your eye for an eye
past the walls & borders
     open a hand
     reach out
     past the wire

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, July 12, 2014)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

camus still cuts the grass


a couple of barren rooms
look out on friendship avenue
the windows are drape-less
on the second floor
leaving the woodwork
open to view

creative minds
it would seem
clashed within these interiors
a house of painters or potters
even poets

the empty walls
stand together
visible only
by dim reflection
     of years gone

--- e b bortz

Sunday, June 29, 2014

earth note 286

there's a poem
that hides
in the thicket
of a 60-foot norway spruce
along the back ridge

it precedes us
by decades

the poem/spruce
carries our burden

pine cones cover
the ground every year

our friend paints them
for the holidays

the tin birdhouse is empty
but the thicket sings

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

earth note 285

even without a rain
sometimes the air
is as thick and moist
as a teardrop

heavy enough
to leave an impression
on your tongue

in a language
as common
as sorrow

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

earth note 284

a couple of books
in a backpack
one being the atlas of thailand
a phrase book
two water bottles
an empty space
for chrome fenders
now gone
a crank & chain
in need of a degreasing
the road
just too hot
first light is best
for leaving

no movement
in the coconuts
another breeze-less

dark corners
on the cliff
at bannasan
rock still
as it swallows
the whole sun

two water buffalo
work the field

orange & red prayer flags
make an offering

--- e b bortz

Sunday, June 22, 2014

solstice report

news: still waiting for peace to break out
weather: it'll change tomorrow
tides: check them before putting in
civics: go back down to the river & cleanup
arts: foundations are precast pedestals
sports: make it participatory
financial: take those silver spoons & ...whatever
traffic: take the bus
science: watch for floods
energy: you've been fracked
politics: see energy

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


as in everyday
the weight of the world
is measured
by the cumulative
breaking away
lifting off
broken streets

--- e b bortz

(published in firedoglake.com, July 29, 2014)

Monday, June 16, 2014

water is running out in iraq

blood will be the replacement
thousands more refugees
keep their heads down
& scatter
coming to the conclusion
that oil is the
the tic in the uptick
of the dow
the plague
on being borne
our ethos
     being written

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, June 16, 2014)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

there are no sand sculptures

on a desert
unless scorpions
are having an opening

no beach parties
unless the ukes are perfectly tuned
and the wind has passed

once the sun goes under
all you can do is wait

the highway is deceitful
in time it will disappear

your shoes are finally broken in
& you can search again tomorrow

--- e b bortz