Friday, December 28, 2012


photoart: ralph murre

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,
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 in New Verse News