Poems By  E. Martin Pedersen


spend it
jigsaw puzzles
the one into the other.

When I ran a chain of vending machines
I had few worries and little means
Fill the stacks in the racks
Empty the coins with a clack
Whistle while you snack
In an old pair of jeans

But I wanted more and better
Higher education, a degree in letters
Now I’m depressed
My eyeballs compressed
Neuro-pain expressed
Punishment for the go-getter.

spend it
jigsaw puzzles
the one into the other.


Micro-managing the Unpredictable

Before I was a newborn babe
I left this land of dreams
dropped into the bright lights
with neither ways nor means

I learned to swim in the water
I learned to work on the job
when I embarked on my mythic quest
I has only a donut and a dog

the people I met tried to cheat me
a few for pity took me in
I found refuge in human arms
spotted arms fat or thin

I sit on a life-preserver
what happens next I don’t know
I ride with whatever high tide
go with any even flow

that is the secret I’ve discovered
no choice so why pretend
it’s all the infinite maybe
maybe a beginning maybe an end

the trick is to look out
look out and enjoy the ride
don’t long for what you don’t have
stay in the sun, don’t hide



Nothing Would Work

If I had no feet
I’d need no shoes
If I had no screwdriver
I’d need no screws
I invented those screws with a double slot
I made some money, not a lot
Yet no screwdriver would do
If I had no shoes
A brogan shoe or a slipper
Flathead or Phillips too
I need you all
You are precious
Nothing would work
Nothing would be true
Without feet
Without screws




It’s the pain that defines
essence to be alive

Cards scattered on tables
begging to be piled

Dog on the roadside
injured to be car

Father’s ventilator
tapping to be time

Coffee on the boil
burnt to be tongue

Enter family home
after to be funeral

Icebergs shrink alone
coast to be Antarctica

Satellites and drones
tell us where we are / to be

I’m sorry about the fire
your home and your turtle
your friends, your home
sorry to be Paradise.



Writing on a Train

The train’s so fast
tracks so narrow
you jerk side to side
jolt if you stand
hold on or fall down
this is a fast train, man
jostling to a brand new land.

Where the plants are new
you’ve never seen that bright green bird
everyone is mesmerized
we look out as they hide
those can’t be dinosaurs
we’re fools safe on this train
rocketing through our E-ticket ride.

And you meet someone and fall in love
the one you’ve always wanted
without knowing you wanted
the person just for you
but it all goes bad
obstacles prevent it
the conductor’s against it
heads down, passengers so sad.

You sit and take notes
a chronicle for posterity
what’s up on board
and what’s what outside
it could end with arrival
or continue in eternity
it’s not a good ride, it’s the only ride.

Biography: E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over forty years in eastern Sicily, where he taught English at the local university. His poetry appeared most recently in San Antonio Review, Danse Macabre, Neologism, Quail Bell Magazine, and California Quarterly, among others. Martin is an alumnus of the Community of Writers. He has published two collections of haiku, Bitter Pills and Smart Pills, and a chapbook, Exile’s Choice, from Kelsay Books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *