Tuesday, August 27, 2013

an ax grinder's confession

there's not a damn thing new
about blunt force criticism

with everything coming down around us
forging & slashing steel
becomes a cottage industry

of course you know
a great leap forward
has been tried before

if the brush is wide enough
even the windows
can be covered in one stroke

what looks like a new day
might just be dusk

--- e b bortz

Sunday, August 25, 2013

earth note 258

a carpet of thorns
from the rose bushes
creeping then weaving
a sharp wild fabric
over the terrace & concrete steps
     every one of them

as i cut it back
there comes a gnawing recognition
that the rose will always flourish
     it has no equal
and in this
     there is comfort

--- e b bortz

Friday, August 23, 2013


you said you were looking
for the next big idea
maybe there aren't any right now
just a bunch of small ones that
could add up to something

here's a small one: take down all the borders
abolish them all right now
we'll all live in that one big neighborhood
     planet earth
     every drone strike & cluster bomb
     will be a strike against us all

restore the rio grande to its original intent
     of being the rio grande

stop poisoning life
all life
from the forests to the cities & oceans & lakes & rivers
& the air you share
     isn't for sale

redistribute all the wealth immediately
abolish all secrets right now
free all whistleblowers & resisters of conscience
shutdown kangaroo courts
     let the kangaroos free

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, Aug 26, 2013)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

i might have just turned eighteen

when i first read my brother's copy of
a coney island of the mind by lawrence ferlinghetti

that summer
     restlessness became a verb

it was what i guess you could call my
coming of age time...my brother's east cleveland pad
the place where i became fully acclimated
to sex...my "spilled sperm seed" (ferlinghetti)
taking me as far as skinny-dipping-make-out
in lake erie at mentor headlands

even if it's all tame by today's standards
     i'm still somewhat mystified by it all

guess you could say i was pulled between
being radical
and being love torn/worn
     so i chose both

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ap nam (shower)

a tin pot and water reservoir
in the bathroom
which i became enamored with
living in thailand
made a cool splash as you dumped it on your head
     streaming down
     your body waking up
          to celebrate

--- e b bortz

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

earth note 257

i'm ready to make the leap
to the withering away of the state

right now rules are made & broken
by an unelected homo sapiens filter

who consulted the others?
what manifesto-bible gives a single untold story?

dreams are wet in the rainforest
from an out-of-body experience

pelicans fish past sunset
long after the nets go home

if it rains all day
the earth will breathe

from a desert
comes solitary decisions

let there be times
when the moon touches water

--- e b bortz

(published in shadowproof.com, Oct 30, 2013)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

earth note 256

a pair of dog & cat coffee mugs
at the flea market
the $1 tag standing out
like a badge of courage
for the many times these cups
have endured
the curiosity of hands
always stroking for a bargain
     & a low ball
& a story behind the story
     who's table did they sit at
how many times
have they put out
from the top of these card tables
     buried behind outgrown
     kid's clothes
     & worn down socket sets

we gladly trade away a backpack
     yanking the $1 tags

--- e b bortz

Friday, August 09, 2013

the conscientious objector in us all

no one springs from the womb
with a gun in their hand

killing requires indoctrination

as the human heart
takes off on its own
brought into a living
of species known & unknown
     rivers rushing
     every conceivable geography rising
responding to the unpredictable
     a planet ethos lives
     though still a mystery to most nation-states

but there's the greed
& the convenience of the status quo
& the social conditioning
of taking
and then holding on to
at all costs
a double-speak that every bureaucracy
and defends to the death
your death

but who can argue
that this is all

no one springs from the womb
with a gun in their hand

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, Aug 11, 2013)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

return of the august torch

as in the weather
& the rumbling planks
from the bridges of madison county

the sun has that constant haze
never seeming to set
draping above tree tops
motionless against the corn rows

desperate as emotions
as when love goes searching
coming up with another
forever stained half-full coffee cup

tractors grunt like draft horses
decades before them
and for every silo full
     an empty heart plowed under

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

earth note 255

it's the kind of morning
that puts your traveling shoes
on for you

free of all hitherto conventions
when your thumb led you down
a whole lot of dead ends

wasn't any foot dragging
that you'd admit to
a young foot never looks back

everybody knows the highway's slipping off the mountain
toll gates around every bend
the new mad ones text on cruise control

the sage brush still leaves blood in its path
a cluster of cottonwoods
still a good place to hide

move on
if you can't put much credence
in what can't be touched

--- e b bortz

Monday, August 05, 2013

earth note 254

feeding ocean fish
by homo sapiens plastic
broken & shredded
just to size
to fool plankton eaters
man-made compounds
exotic chemical floats
just below the surface
gathering their own 'schools'
swarming every sea
embedding living tissue
     hungry consumers
     lining up
          keep the food chain

--- e b bortz

Thursday, August 01, 2013

if there's any possibility

that the nsa is reading
my poetry blog
i guess it behooves me
to cloak every word
in a new & obscure language
& super subtlety
that most mfa graduates
     would throw out as gospel
poetry critics expound on
     highfalutin literary editors solicit
snoopers erotically pour over
     in visors & dark glasses
congress codes away in doublespeak
     every noun & action sandwiched
between double-layered metaphors
     (wtf are they?)
imploding like a thousand points of light
     traversing the planet
          babel-ing for notoriety
     forgetting all the rough & tumble
          heathen poets
          our heads still up
          ranting to the sky

--- e b bortz

(published in opednews.com, Aug 3, 2013)
(published in firedoglake.com, Sept 30, 2013)