Thursday, November 18, 2010

earth note 144

elephant butte, hot springs, new mexico

the dark rock foreground
with the lighter sandy background
gives the elephant
(or elephants from my angle)
the whole plain
a range that includes
a cold water lake reservoir
and no predators
'cept humans

hot springs sounds
so much more inviting
truth or consequences
like who the hell would want
to be named after
a silly defunct tv game show?
name aside
the town includes many
who have broken down
(vehicles and human alike)
deciding that
this would be home from now on
and i fully understand
the spontaneity of all of that
and kinda envy those free souls

if you're looking for good thrift stores
warm dry climate
enough water if you're very frugal
and your social security
or scarce income potential
can get you through
check out
hot springs / truth or consequences
maybe that second name
should become our nation's
new mantra
(after so much war and deceit)
'cause the sun is usually shining
almost everyone is poor & struggling
and isn't it better to be
in a place
where the pretentious
turn up their noses
in their hundred-dollar sun glasses
and the freeways leave you
as an exit sign
in the desert
of life?

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

for every former or present radical catholic i may have known or read about

when he died
jc (juan chacon) may have been the last desolation angel
silver city new mexico
heroic zinc miners strike of the early 1950s
the movie salt of the earth still an image in my sixteen-year-old mind
it was a bit unsettling to walk the streets of silver city
though i found a bookstore that knew the story of the women
and men who put down their tools and picked up their pens
to tell the truth (not truth or consequences)
about brown and red (in all senses) and black and white
workers facing down the vengeance
racism and wrath of big money
the old mine mill & smelter workers union

(later swallowed by the usw)
still stood today in the art galleries and natural healing boutiques
though healing isn't always the best medicine

sh checked on a used bookstore in silver city
for a copy of desolation angels
(lost years ago)
but there wasn't one
i believe kerouac knew about the zinc miners strike
even if he had other plans
and every word he wrote from every lookout mountain
in the great northwest
told stories of anti-heroes only a radical could love
which isn't much different from the story of the miners strike
or other gospels still unspoken
and i so love sh for thinking about that and looking through
the shelves for the word

father jack would tell albert elena and the rest of us
that the grape boycott would win
if we kept the picket lines going
and so the kroger store on the northside (long gone)
would need to feel the heat
until they removed the nonunion grapes from their shelves
and they did

it's been a decade since we uttered the name of ll
of quebec (as we spotted quebec texas on the map)
sh said she wouldn't be there waiting for me
and of course that's true
but if there's a root there's a flower or a thorn or a cactus
that's ready to bring you back
to those cold quebec winter trips
onto her hot gentle round hips thighs
a mind that refuses to accept the inevitable
is one worth feeling

it was getting dark as we came out
of the mogollon & black range mountains
gila national forest
steep cliffs and a stray black angus bull
cold winds
but enough sun to reflect off the light brown rocks
orange and blue shadows in the distance

at 5am this morning
a car horn signal
brought together a few men
gathering themselves together
to go to work
no questions asked
solidarity in the eyes
jc would have done the same

--- e b bortz

Monday, November 15, 2010

earth note 143

big bend national park, texas

fierce free wind above the rio grande
a circular voice
echoes off the chisos mountains
sierra del carmen

the river struggles through rock & sand
a steady flow
unexpected hissing rapids
hot springs sometimes heal

one two
many coyotes howling
break the night
half moon rising

the peaks speak
with a brown desert stare
leave as you came
breathe touch taste

remember the pitted rocks

standing straight up
morning homage
shouts & whispers

--- e b bortz

Saturday, November 13, 2010

earth note 142

angelina national forest, texas

great blue heron
just past
my desire for a long long
line of sight
a point where
i could be sure
it was like the great ones
of spider lake minnesota
six months earlier

the reservoir water
seems low
like there's
an expropriation in progress
from the water line
it looks like five-six feet
have been stolen
so much for sharing
what little we have

hornets swarm
if you have a sweet tooth
crows dodge
caw past
fifty foot pines standing still
making an easy leap
for scrawny
almost frail
local squirrels

blue heron
returns with two others
for one last dive
just before sunset
by 6pm
all is dark
hours have passed
perfect moon shadows

--- e b bortz