Wednesday, December 13, 2017

the sun finally shines on mobile bay

to raise enough heads
out of the sand
to see the forest and the savanna
shake off years
of denial

--- e b bortz

Saturday, December 09, 2017

earth note 552

mobile bay

talk is cheap
keep your mouth closed
unless you want the sand
to brush your teeth

ice shears
like alberta clipper
not the best way
to get your hair done

the sun

--- e b bortz

Thursday, December 07, 2017

earth note 551

gulf of mexico

great blue heron
on a fast break
before cold rain
sets in

each day comes
with mystery
love turns
on simple contradictions

a being is more
than a heartbeat
a wing is freer
than the wind

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

earth note 550

gulf of mexico, alabama

surf crashes home
after a night of southern drawls
and denial

beer is too easy to find
in the grocery stores
no plastic no paper we bring our own

so you give way
to the weakness
like the oil rigs got you by the short hairs

save your bottles
for the recyclers
the sand dunes grow and then disappear

--- e b bortz

Monday, December 04, 2017

summer 1966

a beat-up greyhound
made its way
for thirty-eight teenagers
awakened and restless
off steaming streets
northside pittsburgh
to washington dc
with our banners
jobs not war
right up to the white house
joined by a thousand more
drums and spirits

we were noticed
but not heard

and after the march
i found a ride to a
nearby state park
where we camped
under the biggest dipper
secret kisses
tingling all the way
to my toes
i can't remember too many more details
'cept to say it was

--- e b bortz

Saturday, December 02, 2017

earth note 549

alabama moonshine
takes the 800 ton gorilla
near the beach
at its word

a gas flare is not
a sign from the north church
but a few more paul reveres
or dolphins
might lend a voice

--- e b bortz

Sunday, November 26, 2017

earth note 548

when the soil becomes restless
as it does without warning
it pulls all warmth
out of each of us
digests the nurturing
and toxins alike
waits for an answer
in moonlight
chases the magic
of song
until it becomes
many visions
for the hedonist
to the martyr
from the sophist
to the mechanic

the trees stand limp today
this is a statement
not a fear
it's prudent to let the body
find its own solitude
drink its share
find its own grace

--- e b bortz

Saturday, November 25, 2017

on the anniversary of casablanca

there's a centrifugal storm
of dead and near-dead leaves
on the avenue
even showing up
in the shadows
where outlines blur
sometimes indeterminate
by whispers and intuition
like a fog
or a kiss 
from an old movie

--- e b bortz

Friday, November 24, 2017

earth note 547

eye to eye
wild flowers
find wings

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

every border that rises

is built on a lie
the river gives us water
not a bureaucratic line of demarcation
when was the last time
the first humans
scrawling figures on rock walls
the land and oceans
around them

what's so civil
about property

can ritual
and dogma
be separate

the sun will make us grow
or it will starve us

--- e b bortz

Monday, November 20, 2017

earth note 546

if this was a garden
in korea
it might unleash
a lush potpourri
given half a chance

--- e b bortz

Friday, November 17, 2017

earth note 545

4pm crows
speak loud
like they were getting ready
to flood out of a factory gate
on their way
to a boilermaker

there's usually at least one
that takes the highest perch
barks out directions
reminds everyone
that participation
is appreciated

--- e b bortz

Thursday, November 16, 2017

earth note 544

seoul, 1990

highways rumbled
with weekend escapees
college entry exams for the year
were over
families happy or resigned
to the outcomes

teachers had given it
and everywhere
along the han river
kites found the wind
heard the call
like a resurrection

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

earth note 543

photo by Sandra L Hazley
a simple offering
no human can imitate or buy
our veins run pale
--- e b bortz

Friday, November 10, 2017

the drone is a bird or the bird is a drone

every surveillance camera on the avenue
will have an opinion
falling leaves disregard everything
take their own flight path
where there's gold    
there's red & brown
authenticity won't be recorded
it's all a sham
dreamed up by a pencil pusher
at the pentagon
pissed off for getting canned
by way of automation

soon the trees will be stripped bare
darkness will come suddenly
there'll be nowhere to hide
fix your camera for permanent video
the sirens are coming through
in hot pursuit
if you happen to be bicycling
be sure & use your flashers

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

earth note 542

a short walk
like out the back door
rain reviews
every hue
voting is underway
--- e b bortz

Saturday, November 04, 2017

earth note 541

big torch key

will always leave
a hole and a heartbreak
like a hurricane

yet the mangroves
create roots of life
buoyant and marking time

--- e b bortz

Thursday, November 02, 2017

ad men and ad women

ain't gonna run my world
or advertise their way out of it
with or without superbowl fireworks
sitcom twitter trash & branding
self-righteous anything
a strange bed of mega-million
foundations & self-delusion     
with or without concussions
with any self-respect
would ever carry water
from these poisoned feed lots
of a billion
steers & heifers

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

earth note 540

raindrops make perfect circles
on a flat roof
even as they melt away
leaving a morning chill
there's fog
that reaches just beyond
your hand
to a maple
     bright yellow

--- e b bortz

Sunday, October 29, 2017

earth note 539

once you pass thru
the rubicon
the high desert beyond
will reshape
your feet
for the long walk
only imagination
may recognize

--- e b bortz

Saturday, October 28, 2017


we've walked
this ohio river line
a thousand times
back then
the summer heat
pulled us forward
til we dove off
the concrete shoulders
at woods run
people said there were cars
dumped in the river
so you had to be careful diving

every so often
you'd hear shouts & whistles
from the penitentiary
someone said there was
an underground escape tunnel

there was always
wonder bread that could be rolled
into dough balls
for catching carp & catfish

but the window sills gathered coal dust
enough to make their own storm
and there was nothing joe magarac nostalgic
about the bottoms in mckees rocks
or the chemical fires downriver
on neville island

--- e b bortz

Thursday, October 26, 2017

earth note 538

you reach the sun
just once
it will find its way
to your frontal lobe
perceptions like lovers
need not be science
dark & light
for every moment

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

earth note 537

great sand dunes, colorado

sun      moon      wind 
throw their bodies
upon the land
until you notice

every grain
with a purpose
every riverbed
to be followed

--- e b bortz

Sunday, October 22, 2017

earth note 536

telluride, colorado

your right to flower here
take a vote
the eyes have it

--- e b bortz

Saturday, October 21, 2017

earth note 535

evergreen in sunrise
hands from the east

--- e b bortz

Friday, October 20, 2017

earth note 534

dream lake
is just over the mountain
the trails are marked
the bear might see you
walkins are welcome
every message acknowledged

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

when you reach the end of the bridge

the light can blind you
there aren't any
roads less traveled
because there aren't any roads
it's just you
and that undefined light
mind you
i'm not suggesting
this is the hereafter
we're mortals
and all we can come up with
are questions not answers

so far
the sun never takes a holiday
the wind will still hit you broadside
and i do hear the creek speaking

that's enough

--- e b bortz

Sunday, October 15, 2017

earth note 533

weigela java red
could be a shrub
or a
nom de guerre
an alias like
lou bradley
aka lou bortz
of the abraham lincoln brigade
when it all flowers
in the spring
we'll praise
the beauty of the soil
as our marching song

--- e b bortz

Saturday, October 14, 2017

earth note 532

jumbo campground
on the grand mesa
was somewhat hidden
through the aspens
next to a small clear lake

an unofficial
gathering of campers
on the main road
was a clue
that some were waiting
for something to open up
like an empty campsite

so even though
our many-months-ago
internet reservation
worked to our benefit
i can't deny
the feeling of guilt
about setting up our tent
as the afternoon waned
and the queue
at the main road
dissipated in frustration

those who travel light
will ultimately spread
throughout the forest
the unmarked trails
the outcrops
moss covered or bare
burrowing in
beyond authority

--- e b bortz

Thursday, October 12, 2017

sunrise commodified

if the phone rings
let your reflection
answer it
tell the telemarketer
you're not interested
in a bathtub coverall

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

earth note 531

i don't know
how no-name key
fared during the hurricane
but of course we do know
who gets the last word
looking past the wreckage
pushing off from the mangroves
     following the pelicans

--- e b bortz

Monday, October 09, 2017

earth note 530

the eye is stone
and sometimes vision

--- e b bortz

Saturday, October 07, 2017

earth note 529

hot breeze october
thru the shadows
moves wooden wind chimes
from a deep hollow
like a rhythmic calming
by any objective ear
finds the last
of the cicadas

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

recovering notes from the deep, part 14

my mom in her early sixties
finally decided to hop a greyhound
& visit her grandkids
in our northern minnesota homestead

it was a long but interesting journey
for her as she described some of the characters
she heard stories from along the way

and i think i had just finished plumbing in
the bathroom though the electric heat installation
was still another project to-do
it was already june
warming up fast
& at least we were finished burning wood
until september

mom wasn't especially geared for the wilderness
as she called it
but she brought books to read
stories to tell
and wouldn't you know
she even looked through
the local yellow pages
and found under "synagogues"
one in hibbing
she wanted to visit
so maybe it was on a saturday
that we piled into the truck
and drove the fifteen miles to hibbing
to an old building on a shady corner
where an old caretaker answered the door
and mom spoke some of her fluent yiddish
that the caretaker seemed to recognize
as she invited us in

and after a few minutes
it came out that
bobby zimmerman
before he ran away for the last time
from home
guitar strapped over his back
and thousands of songs and miles before him
came with his family to this very synagogue
in the wilderness as mom might say
where there used to be old streetcar tracks
running through the iron range in the 1930s
& people carrying live chickens
to the rabbi for friday night dinner

and in those very 30s
there was also the bitterness
in the body of the red rock ore
ravenous eastern banking investments
strike and strife
that brought together
jews and finns and norwegians and serbs and swedes
and yes the original
dispossessed & robbed
proud ojibwe people
whose hands and wild rice
created all life 
from this land
long after
the last
& my mother's last story

--- e b bortz