Thursday, March 30, 2017

i know i've used color orange like a drumbeat

as in sunsets
ocean horizons
summer mountains
autumn leaves

it writes itself
like a muse

spilling out pain
as necessary

it jumps in
without making excuses

speaks and listens
at the same time

it's a couple of tints more yellow
than blood red

though i'm certainly
no painter

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


is scorched memory
uniquely calculated
for longevity
like no other

as one scrapes
thru burning gun sights
the confusion of the shovels
with the tapping of survivors
is impossible to distinguish

speak their names

the sky fills once again
blind smoke
to hide every flag

--- e b bortz

Sunday, March 26, 2017

earth note 463

temperature inversion
pollution alert coming
if they're being honest
more carbon-petro-chemical
in the offing
the river valley
being the conduit
your sacrificial lungs
turning gray
then malignant
then a death spiral rising
called an uptick
in the markets

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

earth note 462

si surat stupa, surat thani province, thailand

on a bicycle in 1988
the hill was always a challenge
a magical view across the valley
rolling out into the gulf of thailand
refocusing your perspective
every turn of the crank

sunday was a day
to open every pore
lovers finding
cool shadows from the stone
where a whisper echoes
like a singing bowl

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

the words will know where to go

let them go
out the backdoor
down the ravine
toward the highway

touch a grassy berm
still wet from last night

there's no propriety in any of this
if you think your words
are sacred
look for obscure translations

planting seeds you may be surprised
sometimes they stay hidden

the rain will cleanse
the text
you've spilled it all out
no apologies

go easy on the critics
     grow the garden

--- e b bortz

Sunday, March 19, 2017

earth note 461

an overcast is easy
on your mind and eyes
without expectation
snow melts when mountains
and hollowed out bodies
every runoff is a tear
on swollen rivers
trees rub shoulder to shoulder
with rust
     an i beam has no ego

--- e b bortz

Thursday, March 16, 2017

the wind storm has passed for now

in pittsburgh
waking up to the dutch election results
rolling in on their classic wind mills
or more recent wind turbines
keeping all the internet chatter
from going dark
or maybe it'll go dark

groenlinks (the greenleft) seems to be growing
like a new forest
emerging in a strong voice
democracy without corporate logos
solidarity with immigrants
the social safety-net
to stop austerity
or however it's described over there
     putting your body on the line
the xenophobes will go the way
of the false prophets

listen to the young

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

earth note 460

northside pittsburgh

a string of row houses
on mccullough way
& along california avenue
have gone to dirt lots
broken red brick
grass poking its head
out of the leftovers
blue bell diner long gone
blue moon coming back
only by special request  

and then there's the exact
location of the house
a teenager walks away from
at 1713 buena vista street
     now it's on record
where radical leaflets might still
be milling around in the rafters
waiting for the barricades
to go up
never one
to bowing down

--- e b bortz

Monday, March 13, 2017

earth note 459

northside pittsburgh

it took the whole winter
to finally get a forecast of
six inches of snow
on the marshall trail
if i want to ski again i've got to be ready

the ground
still has some give to it
the deer never seem surprised
their bodies in motion
in full contrast

forty-eight years ago
it rained
as i walked down
to the draft board
to say

every story has a moral
even this one
but don't ask 
the weatherman
to find the right map
it's time to go by instinct

forty-eight years ago
i refused army induction
passed out anti-war flyers & buttons
as the sergeant started his pep talk
and a couple of ready soldiers
grabbed me by the elbows
and moved me out

i tried eye contact
with the whole room
blurting out
a few words
you don't hafta cross that line

and that became my mantra
a muster of moral persuasion
in simple terms
but mainly
as if killing & dying
can be reduced
to a common denominator

--- e b bortz

Saturday, March 11, 2017

earth note 458

late afternoon crows return
their primal screams
speak freely
without hesitation
through bare branches
they teach us to breathe deep
into a full moon

--- e b bortz

earth note 457

shattered blue sky
makes up
for the snow covered
leave your excuses
for celebrating st patrick's day
a week ahead of time
and maybe just dwell
on the ides of march

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

earth note 456

kin khao
let's eat rice
share what we have
find the quiet
of the palm fronds
the secret contours
of the shore
shaped through the body
of every woman

--- e b bortz

Saturday, March 04, 2017

a name-dropper by any other name

putin is no yevtushenko
chernobyl is no bratsk hydroelectric station
but trump
is the insatiable roy cohn
even out on the studio 54 dance floor
grabbing everything unclaimed
in a sloppy rendition
of infamous manhattan fame
giving mort sahl
a reason to take the fifth
in his own monologue

like the strangest of bedfellows

--- e b bortz

Friday, March 03, 2017

earth note 455

march 3rd
& waking to a dusting of snow
getting back in one piece
was enough
where there's a highway & fog
up against west virginia hills
and every coal seam
seems worked out
like a short legged steer
on mountain shrub grass

eighteen wheelers bear down
to beat the tornado
dodging shredded tires
and swollen creeks

--- e b bortz