Friday, September 30, 2016

earth note 428

khao sok national park 1989

the gravel road
is a challenge
on skinny tires

the sun makes you
remember the first song
you sang out loud

hardwoods are a surprise
here on the edge
of a rain forest

the reservoir is quiet
almost motionless
rubber trees misplaced

heat will bring you
to a new plateau
your ankles will sweat

--- e b bortz

Saturday, September 24, 2016

class struggle


it was a sunday afternoon
at the bowling alley
brighton place & california avenue
in the hallway downstairs
that elmer fleishman
asked tiny (the biggest among us) & me
when we were going to go upstairs
and get ready to set up pins
for the steelworkers duck pin league

we both said in unison
we were on-strike today
for higher cents-per-line
and now a couple more pinsetters
chimed in and it looked like a full-fledged
worker action of 13-year-olds
and elmer was nearly in tears
as he whined about how bad
the business was
and then
even a couple of union steelworkers
started pleading with us that we should just
pin-set for them today and "negotiate" tomorrow
with elmer 'cause that's the way
their union would do it
but we remained "belligerent"
13-year-old "wildcatters"
trying to get more pinsetters to join us
and after about a half-hour
realizing we only had half the numbers we needed
to really shut it down
we joined the others in our holes at the end of the lanes
thinking about how to do it better next time
scarfing up the extra quarters coming down the lanes
for tips
& lessons
in half-ass solidarity

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

a simple pledge

refusing to choose
among the trumps&clintons
fire makes ice makes water makes fire
from this cycle

--- e b bortz

Saturday, September 17, 2016

when the storm finally comes

watch the tops of the trees
and stay downwind
keep a shovel nearby
dig a hole if you have time
don't worry about phone reception    

there are trails to follow
that lead to the outcrops
after all
your ancestors
were cliff dweller stone masons
not pokemon

the emergency broadcast signal
is a failure to communicate
we shoulda been worrying
about all of this about the time
of the industrial revolution

before going off the high ground
learn to be a sailor
take all precautions
for the high water
there'll be no kayaks
to rent
or steal

don't bother reporting
suspicious activity

--- e b bortz

Thursday, September 15, 2016

earth note 427

you think you know
the depths
of a september river
but you forgot
that there is silt
coming up from the floor
stirring free
     clouding your brain 
rising from dormant
like iron ore waste piles
broken up in life
a life just as well
kept hidden
from every dream
left in fragments
     green landings
     just beyond

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

earth note 426

sometimes the prevailing winds
will be less than truthful
sending out false signals
that the sky is clearing

norway spruce and white pine
on the ridge
go limp

--- e b bortz

Monday, September 12, 2016

earth note 425

big torch key

struts out a few miles
past the highway
its wetlands and inlets
resisting the bullies
old ways and natural decay
merge in the mangroves
egrets & herons
look for cover

--- e b bortz

Sunday, September 11, 2016

earth note 424

key west

on the atlantic side
there's an irregular juxtaposition
most notable
between food trucks
heavy in frying
and the expensive hotels
just across the avenue

the ocean
is the common denominator
settling all disputes
as the tide speaks
you will put away
territorial notions
and just listen

once in a while
a group stuffed
in a convertible
will pull up
onto the beachside sidewalk
for photos
and showing off bodies

we're living through
ego mania like it's
a new survival technique
there's no use complaining
i can't rationalize it
'cause i'm part
of the problem

the city streets
are packed
with once-a-year bicycles
i wear my eco stickers
on my bicycle top tube
and believe i'm doing
my part

yes aleppo
that city in syria
is being bombed again
refugees flood toward
the ocean
connecting us all

--- e b bortz

Saturday, September 10, 2016

sad times indeed

my dad would often say
be the optimist
find the positive
within the negative

i've tried dad

fifteen years out
and the planet
is afire
worse than
my dark imagination

water wells
are not running
oil & gas wells
have pushed everything else
to the edge
an abyss
in the making

poverty is the
sole identifying
for what was once
called life

so many wars
the protagonists
haven't even named
them all

the democrat apparatchiks
still blame ralph nader
for speaking truth

the summer of love
is only a rerun
the creatives now
are all in it for the money

trees are afflicted
throwing up their offspring
leaves going directly
from green to dead

a particulate mask
is the new fashion
madison avenue

leaving only
a throat
as a voice
as a statement
as a rant
as a blank sign
to be filled in
as quick as possible

--- e b bortz

Thursday, September 08, 2016

earth note 423

unless you live in a mountain chalet
in durango colorado
with a paved driveway
snaking up to your outdoor hot-tub
the dust never really settles
coming up the dirt road by junction creek
up up to the big pines
of the national forest campsites

the dust near sunset
is sepia
giving you faraway thoughts
of green hills
rubber trees
a big buddha on koh samui
in thirty baht flip-flops

the hikers near junction creek
traverse their way to the trailhead
over-compensating their start
in four-wheel drives
and two hundred dollar hiking boots

i tried but failed
to get good pictures
with the dust suspended
from memory

--- e b bortz