April Poetry Month (Day 15): Ed Werstein #npm15 #wppoets

[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]

Ed WersteinEd Werstein, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with the poor and working people of the world. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, his poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Mobius: Journal of Social Change, Stoneboat, and a few other publications. His first chapbook, Who Are We Then?, was published in 2013 by Partisan Press.




How do you know when it’s finished,
or at least finished with you?

How do you know,
when each time you see it
you cross out words,
change them,
sometimes changing them
back to what they were before,
and next time back again.
The same two words
            leaping over
each other
there on the page.

And because you’re probably not ever
going to be finished with it,
how do you know
when it’s finished with you,

the way she was finished with you,
while you went on,
each time you saw her,
hoping for different words
to come leaping from her mouth.

The Way Philanthropy Works

At concerts in Rockefeller Center
sensitive ears can still hear the cries and wails
of the Ludlow miners
and their wives and children
slaughtered on the picket line in Colorado, 1914.

Without opening a book,
keen eyes can read
the lost lives of unschooled steel workers
on the facades of thousands of  libraries,
part of the Carnegie bequest.

And who remembers
the abandoned artistic ambitions
of the aluminum smelters, the oil riggers,
and the bank tellers who labored
so the Mellon family could endow
the National Gallery of Art?


taps me on the shoulder
and says she wants
to take me to bed.

I tell her I’m just
going to finish
this chapter and then
I’ll join her and
she’ll get what she’s after.

Sleep is impatient
keeps poking me
insisting I pay her
some attention.

I think she is jealous
of my books.

Sleep slips a mickey
into my herbal tea
and has her way with me.

I wake at three and realize
she’s left me again.

She’s thrown my book
on the floor
and hasn’t even bothered
to turn out the light.



[April Poetry Month 2015 Table of Contents]

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