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Poetry By
  E. Martin Pedersen

Published on: 7/3/2013
Look the Other Way

I rode an elevator
With my own ex-wife
And never said a word
We've become good actors
Theatre abba absurd
Or proof, old dogs
New tricks learned
Yet my back then
Returned and burned
Multiple personality dis-order
The mystery of the sphincter
Leaves a single doubt
Who was that man I saw me with
In the looking-glass so strung out?

I turned away
Christ, I couldn't watch that.
Bosnia, May 17, 1993
Somebody brought war dead back
to their families in plastic trash bags
and the TV news had the poor judgment to show
the wool shawl women opening presents
the black rotted flesh, the stench
One old hag held a skull to her own head and sang her laments
with the other arm she beat her chest and cried dry tears
Then another truck of peek-a-boo bones pulled up,
I turned away.

I can't explain to you this mechanism in another way
When you get into 'you-don't' mode
teetering on the fulcrum like a Road Runner rock
and you're unloved, unappreciated, unwanted
desperate for mercy and pity, taunted
I know what you mean, I know what you want
I want to give you what you want,
but I don't; I give you what you need
the cold shoulder, the silent treatment
you wake up screaming, "More!"
I look the other way.

Published on: 7/1/2013

A man climbs into the upper part of the wardrobe surprised
it will still hold his weight and closes the doors
pulling out his fingers just in time
curls into a ball sideways
knees to chest
feet tucked in and head bowed
hands pressed to ears in the dark
if it ever passes.

Standing straight up
stiff as an ironing board
against the door jam
chest puffs, whispers
you do not need
to show
that you are a man,
you glorious
lightning bolt nuclear core telephone pole to China,
on the very spot that makes the human body
the axis of the earth and solar system
at the very least.

Lying comfortably
inside a slow flow mountain stream
cool gray stones deep green moss sierra pure shadows
of trees dropping exquisitely occasional leaves
looking up at the baby blue sky and play-party clouds
shimmering saran blanket of calm abiding
see myself
under the glassy reflection from above
my hands hold my chest down
I rest
wet and refreshed, whole and caressed,
headed downstream.

These are the exercises we all do,
This is the discipline of measurement.

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