Wednesday, April 29, 2015

earth note 334

north dakota / minnesota line

first light
is always a surprise
when shadows cast
& the road appears
there will be no
     ration books
in the next town
     where broken tractors
rust in the wheat belt
& silos speak
of shortages

farmers & coveralls drape
the round table
in the restaurant
a circle
looks out

--- e b bortz

Monday, April 27, 2015

earth note 333

from the school
on the ridge
there's a great lawn
with a font no one else
can read
the words come & go
leaving clues
& the mind has a mind
to create
without boundaries & dogma
     so beware

--- e b bortz

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

earth note 332

some trails
continue misleading
by covering over
all previous
when every tree
was in full bloom
and a songbird
still had voice

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

earth note 331

west park, pittsburgh

gutters on western avenue
pushing to the river
like a deluge
long awaited

a railroad trestle bridge
fenced off for decades
separates the have-not
from the have even less

a footpath from a child's first steps
but noted here
this earth day rain

--- e b bortz

Sunday, April 19, 2015

earth note 330

the low cooing
from the roof
is a mourning dove
a very full
body of feathers
beige with a tint of rouge

followed by the boldest cardinal
     edith piaf

--- e b bortz

Saturday, April 18, 2015

recovering notes from the deep, part 7

it was always cold enough in november
for a flooded cloverdale ice rink
to draw pickup hockey games
on the weekends

young & old found
new & old glory

the boys had a way
of ribbing me
to my limits
like when are you going
to learn
to skate backwards

i never did

by january
the cold
shortened the games
     we transitioned
to cross-country skiing
by then
after the wood pile
was replenished

every blue sky
     and they were deep blue
that lasted through high noon
was a gift

--- e b bortz

Thursday, April 16, 2015

earth note 329

thoughts are still there
in the peaks near
ouray colorado
in the back of a pickup
a steel bed can be soft
if you give it freedom
to move

and the middle of the night
is truly the darkest hour
in the best sense of the word
when every star brings its mission

portaged a canoe
from northern minnesota
dipped it a few times
in the susquehanna
& lake mary arizona
never thinking for a moment
that being permanent
was an accomplishment 

the high desert is drier now
every cottonwood you see
is on life support
& remember
the cottonwood is
the resourceful one

the water barons
are the new elites
packaged with desperation
to fool us
one more time

so stay nimble
we've traded up the canoe
for kayaks
even if there are
no getaways

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

more notes without structure

your green buds
have left a message
for the wild turkeys
negotiating their
path across the avenue
     sometimes the grass is greener
     if you're willing to move on

not much sense standing
on one foot
if you can still run

the cameras are rolling
from the school yard
but it's not exactly
hoop dreams
being filmed

power lines do more
than wake up old sitcoms
that couch is thoroughly soggy
from laying on the beach

carp are freshwater
& know how to multiply
even slap you in the face

when the sun
finally forces everyone
to open their eyes
don't be surprised
and don't use that word

--- e b bortz

Sunday, April 12, 2015

earth note 328

another year of decay
& the top soil gets richer
darkness jumps upon
every shovel
a labor of love

--- e b bortz

Thursday, April 09, 2015

earth note 327

where the acorn hill trail
cuts off from the marshall trail
footing gets slippery
it's the season
for stones & mud
exposed & shifty
with the steepest parts
looking you straight
in the eye
even a small switchback
lets you know
     you've arrived

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

earth note 326

an old wooden fence
at what was
west view amusement park
barely stands
in the hollow
of another strip mall
where the buses make
their turnarounds
akin to doing
what the streetcars
use to do
like half a century ago
in what was
the great escape
from a river of ingots & soot
& within a few miles
of where the ohio river begins
its reclamation journey
picking up what's left
of valley void & plunder
silica lungs moved out
by fast food grease barrels 
& sullen eyes
looking away
concluding again
that it's not fate
but illusion
that claims us

--- e b bortz

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

Monday, April 06, 2015

earth note 325

brown embeds itself
into the hillside
as if it might grow
a new skin
whatever comes
rain opening the pores

--- e b bortz

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

Friday, April 03, 2015


always dreaming
of cashing in the chips
& heading off
to another workshop

but if you rolled
your words
into a sleeping bag
your shelter would be complete

around you
cries of souls & forests
who won't be silenced

learn dexterity
pick your fights
carry rain gear

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

earth note 324

there's a straw man
who bends in the wind
but still needs a real shake up
for all my tired old arguments
to continue

out the window
the first robins
are pecking through
the rain gutter

i still look within the old
to find the new

get rid of them you say
take on the root
there's still a world to win

not sure
what will be left
may not be
in my nature

--- e b bortz