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The Untied States of America, a Poem by E. Martin Pedersen

Untied, tied, bound, gagged

squirming and groaning

forced to piss ourselves

duct-taped and superglued shut.

U.S., the U.S., the 'us', the us versus the them

them invaders with funny long names

they dare to stand and speak and act

black latino asian women maybe gay

not 'us'. not our U. S. A.

Divide and conquer ourselves

waiting in the dark for an exquisite


in the dark where critics disappear

where rape happens beatings dishonor, then eventually

-- light.

light is inevitable.

Can we heal hug regroup recommit

take special tools to cut string

tape blindfolds chains

break locks uncover windows

all together. outside in the sun

join in circles holding hands

smiling singing of corny love?

or is beating fascism like COVID-19?

as soon as one mutation is gone

it's time again to quarantine?


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 Ginosko, Metaworker, Triggerfish, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and Grey Sparrow Review 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, just out from Kelsay Books. A full collection, Method & Madness, is forthcoming from Odyssey Press. Martin blogs at:


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