Wednesday, March 30, 2016


sometimes there are wild blackberries
you can't reach
in the thicket
of butler county pennsylvania
without a grownup's hardened skin

at least that's what
my dad's second wife
would say
and then she'd say
don't worry
there are bigger worries
in this world

like when the mccarthy committee thought police
served a subpoena on my dad
at 3am on the darkest night
in 1953

and he didn't bow
and he didn't talk

and denim long sleeves
became my shield

--- e b bortz

Friday, March 25, 2016

earth note 397

clouds seamlessly overcast
refuse to fall
they have a premonition
of what might come tomorrow
the streets want a drink
but the bartenders have all gone home
and anyway
poison and glory can be well disguised
and not something
an anonymous life 
will consciously crave

where will the sewers run to
how does a storm find its way
to a promised land of no dimensions
a new marina has little to do
waiting for what comes next

there's no advice for broken dreams
'cept to say that
every stone in this river
will eventually turn over
and face the rage
before the deluge

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

earth note 396

by good friday
the birdhouses
will be resurrected
high above the political fray
mean spiritedness will be ignored
cardinals and finches
and their flocks
will raise their wings
sing virtues
that can't be bought

--- e b bortz

Sunday, March 20, 2016

earth note 395

vernal equinox

those morning snowflakes
refuse to settle
like their lives would all end
if they landed
melting into conformity

so they ride the wind

--- e b bortz

Thursday, March 17, 2016

earth note 394

so you think you see
a cloud smiling
through the barren maples
grass rolling in its first real color
and what looks like
a busting out of life all around
maybe is just a beginning
to something new

but your eyes remain closed
because they have fooled you before
reaching out in the blind
to grab sun before it sets
has made you a skeptic
shaking off every last illusion
     this promised land
     needs no owners or kings

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

wind chimes against the xenophobes

just out the back door
the sun opened up
to a perfect pitch
bringing in
a song carved out of wood
both melodic and hollow 
a beat unpredictable 
from a natural drummer
refusing to back down
in spite
of manufactured diversions
breaking through
like a tenor

--- e b bortz

Saturday, March 12, 2016

earth note 393

concrete ribbon
weaves around the mountains
once sacred

geese are returning
for another trauma

there are still brownfields
awaiting wildflowers
if the well stays wet
     though the poison
     is another story

if i'm repeating myself
it's only out of habit
like the sun arcs
even without shadows
or reflections to record it

ego now replaces light

--- e b bortz

Monday, March 07, 2016

berning up the highway

saw a guy blow past me today
on I95 in florida going north about 90mph
with a bernie sticker on his bumper
and a michigan license plate
     maybe a pissed off former auto worker

every vote tomorrow
will count

oops...sorry...forgot about the super delegates

--- e b bortz

Friday, March 04, 2016


swaying side-to-side
over brighton place
we decided not
to take it
and get a few extra
games of pin-ball
down on federal street
walking instead
to downtown

i hated the slick look
of shark-skin pants
but wore them anyways
'cause the mouse said
it was cool
& i was new in the neighborhood
from out in the butler county sticks
& it went along with my
trenchcoat (collar up)
pall-mall on my lips
one of those fedora-type hats
so you could pretty much call me
a wanna-be

about the time we got
to the poolroom
on the second floor
fifth avenue downtown pittsburgh
it was looking cold gray outside
and i said
we should save enough
for the streetcar
back to the north side
and mouse agreed
but only after he
ran the table on me
a couple times

--- e b bortz

Thursday, March 03, 2016

earth note 392

holland park, hollywood, florida

ibis clustered
like a herd
methodically moving together
across a wetland likeness
not much has changed
over millennia
with this

from the observation tower
looking south
the apartment buildings
look full to capacity
waves rise against the causeway 
between the ocean
and another development
this original land
is unrecognizable

dump trucks
add to the piles
at the heart
dust blooms
expands with a northerly wind
if you look hard
the beach
in the distance
is bleeding

--- e b bortz