Saturday, April 30, 2016

you say you wanna wear your rustbelt for celibacy

to keep yourself working & out of trouble
like an ancient chastity belt
but of non-rusting new age materials
like aluminum or polymer
(be sure & wear your hazmat suit)

rust & pleasure
are incompatible
they'll have to go their separate ways first
& get ready for
the old world of the new world economy
low wages and big promises
mountains of student debt
uniforms with your name & biodata
stitched on your breast
inside a smiley face

if that doesn't necessarily
strike you as a life's endeavor
don't be afraid to chuck it all
get your bearings
tune-up that instrument
write those poems
rewrite that novel
take it to the streets
sometimes the grass is greener
     a million drums can't be wrong

--- e b bortz

Friday, April 29, 2016

indian god rock

allegheny river

stands through the centuries
of abuse and expropriation
     europeans always envying
     the algonquin nations
their figures
     free in the river flow
before the dams and railroads
water sounds rising from the riverbed
surround the maples
in a language beyond
and beholden
     to no master

--- e b bortz

Monday, April 25, 2016

every shovel full speaks

the tag read like a flag
     gold mop false cypress
a disguised cousin of the
     japanese lemon thread
as we liberated mostly clay
some sweat & spirits
and stood them up proudly
in holes three feet apart
on a terrace still recovering
from the sharpest
of rose bush
many red badges of courage
and history of pain
     where a fort once stood
     a hundred-fifty-three years ago
and people dug defensive trenches
designed to stop the confederates
if they turned west
instead of east
     to gettysburg

--- e b bortz

Saturday, April 23, 2016

earth note 398

head of the ohio river

there's a gray tinge on the water
skimming across to brunot island
making a mix of reconstituted green
and a reflection of fool's gold
from an orthodox dome in mckees rocks

barges and railroad cars labor in coal
diesels get hot under the collar
trying to finish by quitting time
after all it's friday night
     and earth day

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

a blue jay flew in with a message

and a blank new york state ballot
singing the praises of an idealized world
rationalizing even forecasting
how every bird song will grow into
a chorus of justice and peace

is there really any other way
to carry on?

reality fracks into the soul
eating away the marrow
drowning your better instincts
before being fully exposed
in the pain of revelation

but for this day
let the treetops

--- e b bortz

Friday, April 15, 2016

no one invited me

but i'm gonna throw out the first pitch
for bernie sanders
and his brooklyn neighborhood
in memory of jackie robinson
and ebbetts field
and the wooden bench bleachers
of forbes field
and roberto's first games in right field
in a strike against the lynch mob
and the cackling thugs
miscalled the masses
     just wake up

--- e b bortz

Monday, April 04, 2016

freeport pennsylvania beach 1959

if you thought there was sand
you'd be wrong
nothing but pebbles
along the allegheny river
the morgan kids leaving their farm
for the day
showing us the world in their
customized '50 chevy
and even the surf of a few coal barges
ripping past our side strokes
always mindful of the current
with a dream of a mouseketeer
on santa catalina island
without sunbaked beauties
or sailboats
no jellyfish in these parts
to get stung by
but plenty
of fishing line

by the time dusk fell
the cars revved & moaned
their loneliness
i didn't know the word
and maybe still don't
but we changed back into our denims
circled the block one last time
     never finding
     that beach road

--- e b bortz