Saturday, June 04, 2005

earth note 89

pittsburgh, temperanceville, west end valley

those scraggly hillsides
traversed by coal miners a hundred years ago
the dust never settles
still hearing the old revolutionary songs
before john L put a lid on it all
and those fires beneath the surface
still warming up the roots
of the sycamores and hemlocks
while the women of the earth packed up
another lunch pail for the long winter strike
of desperation
whatever it should be called

wabash & neptune streets
is probably the spot where william Z
mounted a soapbox and asked the souls
still living to get off their knees and touch
the family tree of redemption

the narcotic of the mine owners that
poisoned the body
needed to be spit up
and out
bringing the boys home from that imperial war
‘to end all wars’
blood lining the pockets of bank foreclosures
the grimy row houses that stood on steuben avenue
full of empty coal cellars
with children gathering coal pieces
along the railroad tracks
coal pieces
their fathers died digging

--- e b bortz

(published in The New People, July/August 2005)

(published in earth notes and other poems, Least Bittern Books, 2015)

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