Saturday, December 31, 2016

earth note 445

so i ask myself
have i gone off the deep end
or is this just reverie

you know the deep end
might just be the shallows
off snipe point

where the short-finned pilot whales beached
a couple years ago
and couldn't return to the sea

their bodies limp
the sunset reflecting
across their glassy eyes

every new year
the question comes to the surface
only to be ignored after the news hour

i hear the champagne plastic
clinking in starched bow ties
cruise ships disembarking

the waves refuse to crash
call it a requiem

--- e b bortz

Friday, December 30, 2016

no-name lagoon

nothing more than a big puddle
about a mile in
from the main road
on no-name key

the deer path has been
traveled hard
more beat-up
than a woody guthrie song
or kerouac ground level
lookout post

the gnats roost
on the water's edge
like the hens
on white street
in key west

the water's brown
with a faint smell
of sulfur
which i can't
for the life of me
really smell

but there's hard ocean rock
and coral
poking thru the soul
turkey vultures swarming
like hot air currents
above a songbird or two
deserted in their nests
a viewfinder
looks beyond

--- e b bortz

Monday, December 26, 2016

earth note 444

cortez, colorado

the ducks in the city park
had a small pond to swim in
near the library
always competing
for space
their voices never silenced
'cept by shouts
from children
with their summer games

at noon
the entire town management
comes walking down main street
maybe a half-dozen of them
the mayor is obvious in his bolo tie
at the head
of the entourage

the real worker though
might have been
the woman with the briefcase
and working lunch expression
on her face

the diner across the street
opened their doors
to the weathered look
of cowpokes
and dusty augusts

--- e b bortz

Thursday, December 22, 2016

earth note 443

from a distance
koh samui rose
from the ocean
the hills standing
against the sun
laying bare the idea
that you need
a certain status
from birth
to be rewarded
with wonder

long before the year
of the tsunami
and a hundred miles
thru the rainforest
i replaced my flip-flops
falling apart
in the marketplace
in phuket
next to the stall
with shiny red stones

my thai was so broken
but understood
as the woman vendor
explained that the stones
were smuggled from burma
in spite of the prisons
     the red color coming
     from the sunsets
and that it was necessary
to keep this secret
from the authorities

i still look into the horizon
for rubies

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

winter solstice minus one

the rain blasted for half an hour
giving up to late afternoon no-see-ums
bicycle tires getting washed off
though the road was left with deposits
of grit & small stones
a few handfuls of fronds
scattered like the crosswinds
of a little torch key winter

i don't think my eyes
deceived me
when a couple
of pet peacocks
crossed the road
slipping under their
do not trespass

the bay was calm after the rain
a lone boat moored
     water like glass
     mangroves dripping

--- e b bortz

the yucca will make you bleed

the dark blood
of land abusers
sent in to build
livestock pens
on buffalo plains
sucking rivers dry
hundred-ton trucks
of rock and coal
reshape every cloudless horizon
in dust storms
and asphalt scar tissue
carbon byproducts
trading in less-life
while carbon barons
make modern-day
robin hoods
for each generation

this land is not your land
it has no owners

--- e b bortz

Saturday, December 17, 2016

earth note 442

hot easterlies out of the caribbean
an osprey acknowledges
with feathers blown full
my left shoulder
warms to the idea
of qi gong
in the morning
while the ibis peck
after the tide recedes
every action
causes a response
it isn't just
simply physics
there is flesh
and thumping blood vessels
in the distance

--- e b bortz

Saturday, December 10, 2016

recovering notes from the deep, part 8

key west

a drifter's lament
might just be
what keeps you
going to the end
with the road
its own global positioning
without ones & zeros
the sun rises on the same
the census missed
if you're looking for
safety from the elements
keep your eyes wide
to scarcity
a plastic garbage bag
is a windbreaker

the new normal
doesn't bother
with excuses
your bootstraps
were never meant
for sharing
they say

and anyways
we need to be listening
to the tourists
who aren't motivated
by anything taking
more than a new york
or montreal minute
how fast can you say
instant hedonism

the hotels are busy
eating the beaches
is all that's left
this sand
can grow up & become
a barricade

there's no such thing
as culture shock
maybe only conscience shock
we all come out
of the same soup
there is no justice
or burial monument
deep or true enough
to comfort hundreds
of african bodies
in key west in 1860

every sunset celebration
needs a moral compass
let the cruise ships
drop anchor
on the potomac river
in time for the coronation

i plead guilty
to stretching these words out
no one ever asked me
for credentials
so i look to the road and gestures
     and try to listen closely
     to your language

--- e b bortz

Friday, December 09, 2016

earth note 441

fronds taking deep bows
to the winds

most of them
stood their ground
facing the nor'easter head-on

surge from the canal
no seawall will stop
sandbags petition congress

--- e b bortz

Monday, December 05, 2016

at an undisclosed location in the florida keys

empty trails weave
through the mangrove
within a couple hundred yards
you've escaped the landed gentry
with their power boats
& surveillance helicopters
covering your ears
to the incessant moaning
of perhaps
lost surplus value
or is it just
less complicated

take the quiet
when you can get it
leave your bare footprint
for the next traveler

--- e b bortz

Thursday, December 01, 2016

earth note 440

there's no need
for excuses
when the air turns hot
dripping in moisture
asking all
for a pound of sweat
a payment
to the false gods
of human dominance
their boats & trailers & shouts
negotiate the narrow canal
shifting quickly
to avoid collision
other life beings
trying to stay away
from contact

but there is music
from the sea birds
when you decide
to listen

--- e b bortz