After Lassitude


Get on a steamer to Portland

To do some good work there

Leave off healing, God and Gertrude

San Francisco: too much to bear.


If I ever get over the headaches

The tremens and the Chinese

With Boss Ruef safe in San Quentin

IÕll gambol about at my ease.


Yet a tin box of ashes inherited

With my own lust letter on top

I hate you, old Gal, for leaving me here

Awaiting the big final plop.


Off we go to Paradise

Tromping around the ruins

Goodbye to Frank, Mary, Charlie, Jack

And all California Bruins.


Trapped in a stinking cabbage house

Sweating into sad bedsheets

Now IÕm declaring independence

Walking for the last time down my fair jumping-off streets.






Oh my, that seaweed is salty

and crabs take some work to crack

to fashion a pole for knocking down coconuts

a lean-to to keep the lizards off my back.


a lot of people couldnÕt live this way

some would curl up and die

I feel like the King of the Cannibal Islands

watching for food from the sea and water from the sky.


if I ever get back to the Sunset District

and put bare feet on a sandy beach

IÕll know that life is livable, thrivable

and paradise is within my reach.



Fat Man  (tune: Zebra Dun)


I am a roly-poly type

Bob Crest is my name

I work inside an office now

For that I am ashamed

I used to walk across the land

To get the awesome view

But my back went out, my hips went out, my knees went out

No wonder I am blue.


I drink to forget now

I eat to ease the pain

If I could go back in time

IÕd sacrifice my brain

For a body slim and tan

I think you know whatÕs next

It isnÕt easy for this 400-pound man

To get any real good sex.




I Give Up


Only clowns and freaks, jesters and geeks, around me

My natural LSD levels rise

Day life worse than nightmares

Vampires with flickering fire in their eyes

IÕm thirsty and several bones are broken

IÕve forgotten every single crossword I ever memorized

We take mystery pills like peanuts

Politics: all lies in ties

While watching 3D theatre of the absurd

I think I want less sex and more masturbation highs

They say theyÕre ruling with our consent

Play a naming quiz for the grand prize

If you can say your true name so loud it rings

More whiskey beer and chicken wings





Can't play the Phil Ochs and Malvina Reynolds records anymore

Don't ask me if I'm a-marchin' anymore


Pros you know, their 60 I-Deals cryonize, get it? cry-on-ize

I couldnÕt jump into the volcano of bubbling guano, refuse to evoluze


Phil, if you climb higher and higher on that tower of stools

And the termites eat the legs through, you go flyin', baby blue


We fit the battle and the walls came a---tumb----ul-----in ...

Doves bear Hawks now, eat their young and grin


Yes fell to no, love fell to hate, peace fell to war, oh beautiful nonsense!

The humanitarian thing = drop the nukes to arrest all violence


Killkillkill adults to save the children, flush Ōem down the generational drain-o

While youÕre at it, stir up the anthill and watch the frenzy fun-o


Sit in the rocker, please shut that draft, learn a new TÕai Chi movement

Turn on the news, take the streets down to a fine dining establishment,


So Vote for Nobody with a Nowhere Plan, Nowhere Man

Have more candy and watch the play-off season end


Vintage wine and antique furniture, take

Opera, for Godsake.




These Things Take Time


When the tilt of an upper lip (reminds you of)

your wifeÕs cousin (what was your name, love?)

and you wonder why round faces (go with round boobs)

wrists, hair, thighshapes – youÕve seen them all, fool

beauty rented, you are still, letÕs say,

susceptible to in, however, a relatively new way

because at home, Ōyou are my life,Õ

ŌAnd you mine,Õ he answers to his loving wife.


I suggested to Sergˇy

to translate from Bulgarian the Slovena Veda

but it is in a dialect that no longer exists

and of 1513 verses consists

the number of dead on the great ship

or how long it takes to slip from your grip.




When the Circus Comes to Town


When the circus comes to town

Electrodes and caterpillars abound

Heart-shaped swimming pools

Filled with overpaid self-righteous fools.


I'll see it all, the short and tall

Spring and fall, the Berlin waterfall

I'll lick my snot; I'll puke and trot

I'll rend my sails; I swear it's hot

Bust a dance, my limbs a-flay

Spray my hair, across the bay


And if the circus don't come to town

I'll blow my brains out any- how/way

how   way  

how   way


E. Martin Pedersen


Bio:  E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 35 years in eastern Sicily where he teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared in The James Dickey Review, Ink in Thirds, Mused, Oddville, Former People, The Bitchin' Kitsch and others. Martin is an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He blogs at: