"You act like this is a game—" and "Sunflower Seeds of Indignation"

You act like this is a game—

this is not a game
the election is not a game
the virus is not a game
the climate is not a game
social justice is not a game
winners and losers and how
to turn the tables in your favor
gain points on your opponent
come out on top when everyone's
down, everyone's down and through
playing, we demand serious action
be serious, be active
stop talking and posing
we only care about results
but then we go to the same
news source for those results
that told us what the stars wear
a great new whole-body exercise
and percentage points
we know they manipulate
we know they lie
we know distraction art
look over here not over there
this is what's important
based on your latest polls
you decide what's sexy
I would turn it all off
turn off the lights, live in
dark caves, but I can't
they've got me playing
so I fear for my life
if I stop.



Sunflower Seeds of Indignation

I am pissed off every day—
another bomb
in Aleppo
in the market where Mom sells
ginger and paprika
with my legs blown off
by mines as I played football
like Zidane
as we run for our lives
they shoot Kalashnikov
Uzi and AK-15
they shoot my father
grandfather and
older brother
I can't long march to Antioch
in the filth, the shame
the horror, I hate to be
have you ever visited Palmyra
it is truly magnificent, destroyed,
a ghost town, I hate to be
an American, who can't help
following the latest event
our media madness death
hopefully this image could be shocking
feed every one by sad one
the crack, bite, swollen tongue
the salt in the broken lip
till we all bleed along
with the Parkland 17
we all bleed powerful nutrition
meat protein and oils
wipe clean the locker tarnish
even bleach can't linoleum unstain
I can't stop thinking about it
as I watch Dancing with the Stars
until we cannot look away
from it, it drags us in chains
the sun we worship draws
forces us to follow the light
laser pointer cat tricks, red dot
sniper rifles shining in
our third eye—enlightenment—
the sun forces us
to follow
so many yellow smiley
faces twisting, retwisting
our vulgarian feelings
out of control.



E. Martin Pedersen

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 appeared most recently in Avatar Review, Canyon Voices, Slab, SurVision, and Helix Literary Magazine, among others. 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. A full collection, Method & Madness, is forthcoming from Odyssey Press. He recommends the Pacific Crest Trail Association.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 - 22:27