Tuesday, June 14, 2005

earth note 9

pittsburgh 1996

allegheny flat water canoeing
down through aspinwall, sharpsburg
sheetmetal clad lawrenceville
under black steel railroad bridges
self-fulfilling prophecies roll
from broken corners of concrete
herr's island deep green awakening
drooping willow branches brush the sides
silence broken by a dark leafy channel
faint smells of pickles & ketchup
white ripples in the distance
a coal barge plowing towards us
we turn into the wake
cutting clean but rocky
we shift our weight
smooth with the roll
a buzz in the distance
jet-ski hotdog hammered-up hells angel
draws an S around the ninth street bridge
glass and steel reach out from all sides now
reflected clouds mirror buildings
bicycles and rollerblades shout from three rivers stadium
under the ramp at the science center submarine
a popcorn ball floats near shore
then sinks
down the ohio to the walls of the penitentiary
a gray face looks away
we turn upstream

--- e b bortz

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

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