Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crossroads Generation

by e b bortz

Nothing really changed during the 1960s and 70s until the ruling elite finally realized that the system was on the verge of "losing" the allegiance of an entire generation. Who would fight the wars in the future? What kind of new mainstream would emerge for the bloated commodity exchanges...where were the new fat, dumb, and happy consumers? If there was in fact an "American Dream," how could it be packaged and sold, and more importantly, who would buy it?

Of course there were millions in the streets demanding civil rights and voting rights, bringing the troops home from Vietnam, alleviating poverty, and winning a certain level of economic democracy. But as much as the ruling elite rejected and stonewalled these specific demands, their real fear was more fundamental.  How could they co-opt a generation that had seen the facade for what it was, and had now emerged way beyond the dominant culture?  The counterculture wasn't a demand or slogan, but a deeply democratic, revolutionary and expansive new way of life...or so we had hoped.

What was energizing the 60s movements? It wasn't just a list of issues...but a common reality from a conscious new generation...a new view of the planet and the interconnection and interdependence of all living things. This rattled the elites to the point of relinquishing significant reforms in exchange for civil authority and some level of civil cohesion.

Today, we find ourselves searching and organizing not unlike those early years...confronting enormous institutional obstacles and entrenched regressive political machines. Where is the countercultural yarn weaving through the countryside, connecting and spreading the good news of a new day coming? The "liberating" technology of social media is only a tool...a movement that accomplishes great deeds, needs the power of a generation that leads by example, liberating passionately held ideas whose time has come.

Of course wishing for a countercultural revolution doesn't make one happen.  It grows naturally like wild rice, from the objective social morass commonly called mainstream society...artistic, economic, political, interpersonal. In fact, one could argue that the counterculture has always been alive and that it's a historical continuum. Maybe those narrowly and pragmatically focused on the issues of the day fail to see the revolution in our midst?

No one has a recipe or schedule for social change. But if in fact the arc does bend ultimately toward justice and survival, it will only do so if we see the whole planet, in its multitude of species, and in its multicultural and countercultural revolutionary dimensions. Millions are alive in Tahrir, Puerta del Sol, Liberty Plaza and thousands more squares and common spaces around the world...the music has not been may even be muted at times...but make no mistake, it will spring from within us all.

(published in, Sept 29, 2011)

Friday, September 23, 2011

where's the poem

for troy anthony davis

that got left behind

lost before it was noticed
pulsating below the noise level
unflinching before the unfeeling
the abyss is among us
next time
listen closely
and then respond

--- e b bortz

(published in, Sept 24, 2011)

Friday, September 16, 2011

earth note 157

small waves
smacking rhythmic like triplets
kayak becomes bach organ

--- e b bortz

Monday, September 12, 2011

earth note 156

a cold dew early this morning
doused september
and september eleventh
covering feet
of human & canine
with an awakening chill
with the idea of moving on
breaking the summer heat
breaking the overload
news noise filled
with mouths detached

the canine finds
a new trail of wild turkeys
we've seen them running
conscious of the avenue traffic
sometimes huddling in the quiet
they tune out
all that's irrelevant
we learn from them

--- e b bortz

(published in, Sept 12, 2011)

Monday, September 05, 2011

earth note 111, preface

it was a hot roundabout ride
from haifa to tiberias to the hostel
above lake kinneret
every crank motion
a retro adolescent heartbeat
a few more feet beyond the ache
to the quasi serene
full couple days
a series of gruff rolling hills
becoming alone
still covered in your smile

i tried imagining
how life in quebec
might mesh
with the previous few years:
southern thailand
northern minnesota
a certain excitement
in being rootless
at some point
trying to write some of it out

but there were too many
loose ends
that i found some comfort in
maybe just excuses
for staying hidden
near the tree line

i take
my wheels
to the next hill
the dust still restless

--- e b bortz

Thursday, September 01, 2011