Poems by E. Martin Pedersen

Pic by Anni Roenkae



On First Publication

When you told me it was fine
Maybe something I’m good at
I read my work again and found
I’m not a total jerk.

I did that, it’s mine
I might be worthy of love at that
I might even be glory-bound
I’d better get back to work.


Temporary Wake Up

under a table in a bar
closed hours before
grating rock ‘n roll echoes
he wakes up wondering
did johnny go?

to nurse the gauntlet home
there’s an empty room, a bed
women’s co-op slam laughter
kitchen pasta salad after

he only wants to wake up where
no specks float in the morning air
where no raucous memory
disturbs his linoleum sleep there.


Ode to a Pretzel

You twist
loop the loop
to home
(how flowery!)
for bread
(how salty!)
you come
small large
hard or soft
plain or with
yellow mustard
along the path
through the trees
past the rocks
over the hills
the finger
the bent circle 8
for the heart’s


Ready, Set …

60 years of ready set
20 more to go
when I’m ready
I’ll know
I’m prepared
I’ve done my homework
trained my body, trained my mind
nurtured my soul on strawberry wine
I’m ready
I think
then I get sick
feel I’m losing it
I’m set
fixed in my ways
set in concrete
for life
life set
but ready
not ready
to go.



you ring my bell and come up the stairs
I hear you say don’t worry, you’re not ….
I fall back and whimper, shake uncontrollably, unable to breathe
your hair is pure white but you are the same
thin mousey girl I lived with in school
in a house full of rooms and barriers
you enter and explain
I can’t hear you
political fiction or something
that now you’re here to stay
you’ll be everything I need
assist my work, remain at my side
rub my back, wash my back
hold me in your gentle golden glow.

To read more poems by the same author, click here

About the Author

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 has appeared in numerous literary magazines. 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 and a full collection, Method & Madness. Martin’s poem, “Gull Eggs,” was nominated by Flapper Press for the Best of the Net Award 2023.