Friday, December 27, 2019

not every trail leads to a petroglyph

even though the parking lot
is full of false expectations
only the ancients with sacred hands
speak with the mountains
volcanic rock sorting out the living from the past
the grasses turn yellow
and then move on

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

adobe portal

roughneck walls speak in tongues
the wood 2 by 6 door frame
is open even on christmas eve
you hope you've found
at least one secret

--- e b bortz

Friday, December 20, 2019

earth note 725

even a sunny winter day solstice
isn't more than a cross between
darkness and everlasting light

the eventual drying up of the rio grande
     a definite possibility
when the snow pack dies of thirst

so you ask
how is the weather in albuquerque
     there are no answers just riddles

last week a motorcycle traveler from wyoming then texas
on his way to an agricultural runoff in middle florida
said there's nothing but sludge in albuquerque

but of course he never acknowledged
his own sewer
so i guess i'll wear his element of truth
before the sun goes down and hides the evidence

there's a debate among the people living on the street
in the shadows of broken adobe & sheet metal roofs
about who should speak first
with their opening statement
like the walls the artists paint

with their own blood

--- e b bortz

Thursday, December 19, 2019

dog park justice


wildness just below the surface
and a couple of huskies mixed in
for good measure
the play gets rough
from time to time
or maybe it's all just for show
something learned
from washington insiders
wouldn't it be something
to bring on the road
to believe in
like the truth
will set us free
     round & round the perimeter they chase
mouths & noses open
to new sensations      new possibilities
stripping away the phony
     spit slips into the gears
of clunky machinery
greasing the money markets
with a false sense of accomplishment
     sisters & brothers this ain't the real economy
but the growth of bare subsistence
loose treats dropping down
into a collective bark
of desperation

--- e b bortz

Friday, December 13, 2019

earth note 724

highway 50 kansas

if you pound on a rusty grain silo
and it echoes back empty
you might be in kansas
or somewhere else
where the cost of planting and water
can bury you before you start

but there's still a sharp full sun
bursting down on clean steel rails
like a message coming home
arriving before the train
roaring past the once living canopy
waiting for the sunflowers

--- e b bortz

Sunday, December 08, 2019

earth note 723

a freight train enters the ohio valley
like it owns it
politicians are always looking for votes
their tongues sticking to cold steel
coal greased wheels
a hundred cars
at ten miles an hour
casino gamblers trickling in early today
replacing swing shift commodity traders
waiting for monday

--- e b bortz

Wednesday, December 04, 2019


traversing up to the ridges
     and above the ridges
along perrysville avenue
and the charles street valley
leave orange sodium glare
where there were once houses
bouncing off bare hillsides
     hillsides we climbed nearly sixty years ago
when it still snowed

and below
in the river valleys
streetcars sang through hairpin curves
and car barn turn-a-rounds

wet snow stuck to you
then soaked you through
until your legs itched
and then drying off
next to a hot radiator
taking the heat inside
     you didn't mind the gray winter

the bottom of buena vista street
led into the park
a footbridge over railroad tracks
frozen in time
marking your first steps
on your own

--- e b bortz

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

earth note 722

pine and maple
hold a snow dusting
in their arms
like a meditation

the traffic reacts
goes manic
for a tuesday
school buses need to chill
or go on climate strike

a sparrow looking for cover
knows every storm
on the weather map
crows straying from the graveyard
head toward the wake

i've been told that these lines
are sounding too familiar
i can't disagree
need a change in venue
even the dog is getting bored

--- e b bortz

Sunday, December 01, 2019

earth note 721

if i could catch the spirit
in a bottle and put it on the shelf
december wouldn't be
as dark and gray
as it started out to be

these green walls might lift you
up above the fray
where the newspapers fade to yellow
the truth leaving fast
there's no need to find excuses

the leaves are close to compost
where the death knell brings new life
you said there's not much difference
a debate is never a debate
the sky is like a beginning before the shouting

those are not wet streets
but mirages
like the highway calling out
close your eyes for a thousand crows
     your voice in a bottle

--- e b bortz