“Turning Back, Going Forward” by E Martin Pederson

It seems like paradise, but it’s a mirage.

No more concrete walkways through the wired treelings, by the serious cyclers, no kids with frisbee dogs
No more lawnmowers and leaf-blowers and sprinkler systems and rolling grass carpets over little mounds
In front of the clean ring of parking around the glass and aluminum fish n’ chip factories
The globe covered with green patchwork of English gardens, lawns, shrubs, landscaping
The globe with creeping red sand and creeping green ice and creeping gray criss-crossed splotchy blots
Fixed up, bandaged, and improved through plastic surgery, nip ‘n tuck, prop it up
Clean flowing streams regular flux flood gates pump houses recreation areas environmental engineering
Well-marked trails cut through the National parks preserved in eternity for our spiritual enrichment

Oh, mother, forgive us, please

What the world needs is a breather, oxygen therapy for the old lady
Put everyone on rocket ships to spend a term abroad, the gap
And stop the fucking bulldozers!
Stop burning the forest, can’t you hear the screams?
Learn all animal languages, we could you know
Dismantle our own carports and tool shacks
Take down the bridges and overpasses
Bust the dams, let the waters flow free
Then we’ll see
The view of the sea
From my new house I like so much
Whatever Gabriella needs
Luscious grass that will never stop
Growing up through the cracks.


E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 40 years in eastern Sicily where he taught English at the local university. His poetry appeared most recently in Blacktop Passages, Millennial Pulp, Scrittura, Albatross Review, and Harbinger Asylum. Martin is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He has published two collections of haiku, Bitter Pills and Smart Pills and a chapbook, Exile’s Choice, just out from Kelsay Books. Martin blogs at: https://emartinpedersenwriter.blogspot.com

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash