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Wednesday, August 08, 2012


by Ed Werstein

           the text of this poem has been appropriated as a payment of debts owed

What if, like other states, the state of poetry were in default?
Poets everywhere would be in debt.
A word lifted here, a phrase there,
a borrowed reference
and pretty soon it would start to add up.

The lenders,
wildly rich with words
piled high in library vaults
(words like money, gold,  jewelry,
yachts, estates, off-shore bank accounts,
private islands, portfolios, Porsches),
would lend to us
at ever-increasing interest rates.

We would continue to write,
but eventually our words would
disappear as we wrote them,

We would be left with only titles,
(signifying, not ownership
but our mounting debts)
and these few words:
austerity, crisis,
foreclosure, unemployment,
hunger, poverty, war.

Words that would never be taken from us.

Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, WI, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review,, Mobius Magazine, Your Daily Poem and a few other publications.