Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a regional VP of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. He is a sustaining member of Blue Collar Review. His poems have appeared in over 50 different journals and anthologies. Werstein’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2018 he received the Council of Wisconsin Writers Lorine Niedecker award. His book, A Tar Pit To Dye In, is available from Kelsay Books.

I’ve followed Ed’s poetry in Blue Collar Review and elsewhere for years. His commitment to poetry and to sharing it with others is special. I feel a simpatico rapport with this poet. Ed’s poems say something, something that very much needs to be said.
— Antler, former Poet Laureate of Milwaukee, author of the City Lights classic Factory



taps me on the shoulder
and says she wants to take me to bed.

I tell her I'm going to finish
this chapter and then I'll join her
and she'll get what she's after.

Sleep is impatient
keeps poking me
insisting I pay her some attention.

I think she is jealous of my books.

Sleep slips a mickey into my herbal tea
and has her way with me.

I wake at three
and realize she's left me again.

She's thrown my book on the floor
and hasn't even bothered
to turn out the light.

First published in Daily Poem

Evening meal                

Come, pump blood into my borscht,
heart-shaped beet,
fang-rooted Romanian blood-bulb,
vampire of vegetables.
I sink my teeth into you.

Warm this cold twilight.

First published by Shepherd Express

Fog Forces Cancellation of Milwaukee Air Show     
-- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headline

If only it were that easy
to stop a real bombing raid
mothers all over the world
would pray for bad weather
to spare their homes
their homelands
their children.

But here on Milwaukee’s lakefront
the spectacle is rescheduled for tomorrow.

This roaring assault on eardrums
and sensibilities is nothing
compared to the price paid by others
for the live-ammo show
rain or shine.

Here, parents bring the kids
wave flags

eat ice cream.

First published at New Verse News




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,
estates, off-shore bank accounts,
portfolios and 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 our ownership
but our mounting debts,
and these few words: austerity,
crisis, foreclosure, unemployment,
hunger, poverty, war.

Words that would never be taken from us.

First published by New Verse News