Sunday, August 31, 2008

earth note 114

ohio river trail across from bruno island

goose shit
green spread
surveillance new sodium pink lights
like eyeballs
semi-renovated hundred-year prison
hand-built twenty-eight foot stone walls
for new tasks
gray homeland security suv
circling.....more eyeballs
occasionally a shout from inside
interrupts goose & duck squawk
the only protests of record
steel bridge swaying aching coal cars
twenty-first century arthritis
looking for another fix

--- e b bortz

Sunday, August 24, 2008

earth note 113

breakneck ridge near portersville pennsylvania

a grassy plateau
rolls right up
to a synthetic fabric tent
all but forgetting the forest canopy
& cool musty cave
just below the outcrop
.....long after primeval animal skins
.....formed a lean-to

the lightning drove deep
into moistened loam belly
everything that was moving
.....diving low

it’s always been this way

--- e b bortz

Sunday, August 10, 2008

red dust still stirred

in the winter of ‘76
though the north hibbing minnesota
rich iron ore pit was abandoned
just the cold remained
one eye closed
on north country blues
while the other one
joined the wanderers & work seekers
a beginning still hard to describe
as new
as new as taconite
landing scraggly beards
uprooted back-to-the-landers
in another go around
with the pitch black northern lights
deep tamarack
white pine
poplar sheltered hidden lake
frozen two thirds down

in that year
zimmerman’s bar mitzvah synagogue
still stood on the edge of hibbing
and the old caretaker told us
the story of carrying live chickens
on the streetcar to the rabbi on friday mornings
even in the depression 30s
all of this
from the edge
of the great north woods
three fourths the minnesota distance

to the canada border

nothing was out of place
as steam poured out
from a log shed sauna
the door was supposed
to slam open
with the snow squall
you were expected to take
the short dive into the snow bank

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

empty hands

are the source
of every emotional ritual
nothing to give up
no finger pointing
of every element surrounding them
as if the sun and snow
without compromise
cracked joints and missing fingernails
ignored in the greater scheme
no fist.....handshake
or caress
in the act
of opening

--- e b bortz