Sunday, July 28, 2019

earth note 693

higgs beach smathers beach key west

the coral is still up against the wall

the african cemetery mourns sunrise to sunset

aids memorial grows new bricks

a bicycle drops two hundred dollar sunglasses

friday artists open their booths with bluegrass

dog park liberators run an underground railroad

happy hour drunks are happy to forget what happened yesterday

a guy named al still runs a taxi service

by new years eve there will be a premium on high heeled sneakers

a cruise ship is flooding duval street with fake currency

every convertible rental comes with a barf bag

the people who work at the library deserve a big raise

ditto for the people at the salvation army thrift store

another street musician another poet finds a home

--- e b bortz

Friday, July 26, 2019

table for two no waiting

beside a red bird house
where the legs are still rigid
forged in the crucible
a sanctuary
like barcelona
that my father spoke
in whispers about

there's enough shade to give us cover

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

only gray

i've tried but failed
to explain it
in black and white

very likely
there will be hell to pay
next year

our hands and hearts are open
but the words on the banner
bleed obsolete or confusion

carry it forward
maybe the river will alter course

stow away all previous explanations
including the words
     new epoch

this is not an exercise
in pessimism
or any ism

but simplicity
is not a strong card
right now

find your neighbors
keep your backpack ready
help carry the water

--- e b bortz

Monday, July 22, 2019

earth note 692

it took a month to acclimate
to the rainforest in thailand
opposite side of the earth
the body dripping free
like a monsoon summer
water     always the source of life
flushing out soot and rust
coming from the midwest
where names are best forgotten

it's only fair
to begin at the origin
     stolen land and slave ships
backyard coke ovens and coal mines
there is more than history here
     twisted & forgotten
mountain songs
spring outta bowels and fault lines
     skipping past the egalitarian dreams
ellis island has walls of its own

there are no answers outside the rainforest
     this is not an original idea
maybe there are no answers
     at all
keeping an open ear to the ground
looking for the cloud trailing off with a story
you'll know it when you feel it
even rain pelts eventually shrivel the body
in the age of the ancients
there are no timelines

--- e b bortz

Friday, July 19, 2019

earth note 691

marshall trail

without speaking
the woods say it all
there's a tree laboring along the hillside
a steel lash close behind
a maple perfecting
the rope-a-dope
the twist & shout
the rattle of a streetcar rail
empty for decades
like the car barn scrapped
in piece rate
coughing up another deficit
     void of imagination

the judges from judges row
have fled to the suburbs
their terraces abandoned
secretly bleeding toward the avenue

when the air is heavy enough
the asphalt sweats
escape and follow the old trail
of the ancients
every tree contributing its own weight
rooted by common soil
of the living

--- e b bortz

Thursday, July 18, 2019

earth note 690

koh samui 1988

for now the water is calm
lie on your back
you are closer to the equator
than you realize
a compass is only an instrument
by dawn the sea will open
like an extended hand
you'll suddenly find sunrise
it won't be like yesterday
or the week before
the waves pitch unique angles
on every floating body

for now the water is calm

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

earth note 689

the trees have lost their mojo
     gone limp
motion drained out like a clearcut forest

a dove sits alone on the wire
dreaming of escape
too hot to move

when the storm finally arrives
critters will panic for higher ground
flood plains will spread thru the hinterlands

at least one specie will be looking
for a place to bury their head

tv drivel is the offering before the upheaval
getting in all the advertising
before the power goes out

leaves hang from their own weight
only the dog knows what's up
barking like a precursor

corn & soy beans rot
where the sun hides
where the river meets the highway

--- e b bortz

Sunday, July 14, 2019

every open end wrench leads to pennsylvania

the wind will rise
with the 5 o'clock whistle

it'll wake up the proletariat
like no manifesto

just in time for friday night drive-ins
starring the wild ones

& every rebel
with a cause

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

earth note 688

medano river bed

the water learns to ripple
like blood from the earth
every spring
barely surviving the summer heat
great sand dunes
the driest of southwesterly mexico winds
from the hillsides you see
towns     highways     dust storms
let your feet find footing
in the shadows
sangre de cristo

--- e b bortz

Monday, July 08, 2019

earth note 687

koh samui, 1989

it had rained a rainforest
the night before
thatched roof holding on
mosquito netting stretching over
the bungalow windows
for a sunday daybreak
all was quiet
tide washing up a steep pitch
channels in the sand
dark by dim light
i had thought it before
but never said it
     i was alone
     but not lonely

today would be a challenge
i would bicycle one and a half times
around the koh samui ring road
before the last speedboat of the day
left for surat thani

heat and rising water droplets
from the hin lat falls
would bear witness
tuk-tuks would buzz all day
european and aussie tourists
would sing and gather on the beach
like in a quest of discovery

a farmer would pump up his bicycle tires
load his full weight in bananas
turn away from the sun
roll over the hills toward the port
     draped in a sweet smell of mango

--- e b bortz

Monday, July 01, 2019

recovering notes from the deep, part 21

it's been about fifty years since consciously
giving up sloganeering as ideology
     (as best i could)
     as a means to an end
which never rang true with my union brothers & sisters
obvious during the many ganja lunchtimes
in the parking lot
from those who actually looked beyond
the putrid haze
in the cusp
of rustbelt deindustrialization

it was more like up against the wall motherfucker
you're not telling me anything
     we haven't already lived

so it all gathered like a restless storm
antsy to
     get out
anxious to get off those stranded overhead crane runways
of neville island
find a new way and a new place
electrician tools and good wits
far far to the north
beyond the wrecking ball renaissance
where corrupted minds
(my own included)
dodging those aiming to break your spirit & body

so with each north woods winter
frozen death before renewal
when you see the northern lights
when you hear the loneliest of howls
kiss the night as your lover
raise an open hand

--- e b bortz