Tuesday, August 21, 2007

questions from a cold rain

have we created a darkness
of no return
convinced ourselves
that everything remaining
is the embodiment of light?

when my thumbs cover
my eardrums
does the pounding stop
or has it just moved over
two blocks?

what constitutes a beginning
if all deeds become
unaccountable apparitions
shadows replace what was once

kiss the rain

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, May 18, 2011)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

recovering notes from the deep, part 2

when the iron ore strike began
in august 1977
i suddenly felt
a huge decompression
a liberation coming
i was out with thousands
from northern minnesota
& michigan upper peninsula
no more
swing shifts
4 a.m. getups
radio calls
for electrical troubleshooting

my kids began talking to me more
throwing the ball around
we grew

and as the picket duties
lapsed into the fall
i dusted off an old underwood typewriter
and began recalling
and observing
maybe for the first time
what was around me
or had been dormant
for years

i saw the hay fields
go to seed
and the ground freeze up
a movement of canada geese
with better formation
than our picket line

the quiet of the north woods
broke through
watching a snowshoe rabbit
run for cover
frost covering the tamarack
on frozen wet lands

i thought back
on the decade before
on the streets of chicago in ‘68
the un-democratic party convention
refusing induction into the u.s. army
the slippery cobblestones
from pittsburgh’s north side
and all the teenage heartbreak
jive five
still ringing from those back alleys

the alberta clippers came
my chainsaw worked overtime
to grow the wood pile
it was either that
or no heat

everything became retrospective
the new age hadn’t
and this strike was becoming
more defensive
than anything else
trying to keep up with the cost-of-living
we stayed out four months
and if nothing else
won respect

the words beaten out
on that underwood
somehow got misplaced & lost
there were some sleepless nights over that

but i guess i’ll just move on
& make up
what i don’t remember

--- e b bortz

(published in The New People, Nov 2007)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

earth note 107

the climate change movement musicians
closed up their cases and went home
or back on the road
some of the reunited bands stayed together
others went separately

and then everyone listened
for the groundswell
that has yet
to come

of course that’s the problem
for what your neighbor might do
for what so-and-so politician
might do
the paid-for will only go
so far
the paid-for have agendas
to keep them

but you already know this
from the many times
pledged allegiance
without reciprocation

selling comfort zone
crash insurance
has its limits

where is our sweat
in the receding flood waters?

--- e b bortz

Thursday, August 02, 2007

aren't we all brothers & sisters?

fleeting moment
what’s a legacy?
what will be passed on?
last tree on the plain
cared enough to even think about it
when will we wake up?
is there a tomorrow in today?
compromises make empty promises
in every death
there must be life

--- e b bortz