Monday, August 31, 2015

words left on an empty park bench

aren't necessarily lost
intentional abandonment

tomorrow they'll take on
a new meaning
if it rains
only the vowels will
leach out

being in a fixed place
is overrated

--- e b bortz

Monday, August 24, 2015

earth note 358

spirit lake and beyond, colorado

all the footsteps     trails     origins
of the original people
immersed and living
with this land and water
for millennia
without malice
brought to life
through sudden sunrises
and rapid sunsets
commanded by the mountains
and the colors of each day's prism
borrowed then renewed
re spiriting all who were touched
or found reverence
were made sacred

then the mine owners
manifest destiny long rifles came
dominating from a void
a vacant conscience
ripping through
aspen & pine forests
corralling the free
shredding the wind blown high grasses
leaving barbed wire walls
as the standard excuse
for private property

a few nights ago
i thought i heard
a strong solo drumbeat
coming from the canyons
in the north
just as the spirit lake blues festival
was winding down
a wavering blues harmonica
rose and faded away slow
the lake had now calmed
a fingernail moon
stamped its image
on the water
the rock faces of the canyon
spoke again
the drumbeat echoed
long into the darkness
     where the original dream
     lives on

--- e b bortz

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

earth note 357

rocky mountain national park, colorado

the grassland
before the peaks
shift each morning in the sunrise
it's in their nature
to confront & adjust

a mystic sculpture lies
at the top of the mountain
some say a woman
resting her eyes
from the troubles of the world
synthesizing all the green 
to become brown with the earth
brown as the origin
of all life
as the indigenous

when snow joins
the river
what passes
for calm
will be broken

--- e b bortz

Sunday, August 16, 2015

earth note 356

estes park, colorado

moss clings to the opposite side
of the creek
pines shelter out the sun
with a short meadow beyond
every rock challenges the flow
in the name of the dormant
     for now
when the sky opens
to the last of the summer
it'll be time to walk
the path of the mule deer
     search new pastures

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

it's important not to put too fine a point on it

this crossed my mind
as detached as i am in the colorado wilderness
how bernie sanders was answering
black lives matter
in his new stump speech
& i was finishing up
invisible man ralph ellison
in my tent
& thinking it would be good
if bernie took himself back
to that period & looked so straight
in the politician mirror
as distorted as that may be
& thought down deep to his marrow
how totally inadequate
(a weak word at that)
all the platforms he may build
if it only leads to more platforms
& more platforms
like the one that hung
thirty-eight dakota men & women
in mankato minnesota
on december 26th in 1862
with the official signature
of abraham lincoln
no less

if there's a politician
that can address
an empire's original sins
is the time
to step up

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


grand junction, colorado

catching up on household needs
after eight days on the mesa
leaving the rocks & forests
for a day
the colorado river cuts through
this valley ignoring the sprawl
and takes its direction
from a higher power
like gravity or mountain contours

down north avenue
college students seem
to be following a prescribed
early orientation
lining up on the sidewalk
still upbeat before
the semester begins

the laundromat change machine
spits out quarters
like an imaginary
slot machine payout
an imposter by any definition

you gotta know somebody
or have relatives in the city government
to get on the internet
in the one spot
we happen to be stuck in
this moment
for the next hour
(stop whining already) 

but can't say
the place isn't alive
though i almost
stepped outta line & butted in
to tell someone
they deserved free
laundromat services
after sweeping up the floor
with their flowery quilt
en route to the supersize machines

--- e b bortz

Monday, August 03, 2015

this dispatch queued up hurriedly from another day

grand mesa national forest, colorado

wind       rain
thunder on the mesa
came up last night
& throughout a halfhearted daybreak
all tent stakes secure
'cept the mosquitoes
weren't told
to take a day off
too cold & wet to venture
     the aspen leaves are shivering
     waiting for the sun

--- e b bortz

Saturday, August 01, 2015

earth note 355

cedaredge, colorado

he might be doing
the woman who owns the laundromat
but really all he wants
to do
is play pool
and is happy
to make change
with quarters
for the washers & dryers
unless you're bringing in
work clothing
from the oil & gas fields
in that case
as the sign says

the city park restrooms
have running water
the closest a camper
will get to a shower

& if you get down
as far as delta
the dust seems to settle
on every surface
right in line with
a sprawl beginning
'cause there's a four lane
ramming up against the mountains
and enough pickup trucks
with big mirrors
to fill
a rodeo parking lot

--- e b bortz