I am currently the East Region VP of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (wfop.org). I'm in love with another V-V contributor the fantastic Sylvia Cavanaugh. My chapbook, Who Are We Then? was published by Partisan Press. You can find examples of my other work on Your Daily Poem and on Little Eagle's RE/Verse.
The Way Philanthropy Works
At concerts in Rockefeller Center
sensitive ears can still hear the cries and wails
of the Ludlow miners
and their wives and children
slaughtered on the picket line in Colorado, 1914.
Without opening a book,
keen eyes can read
the lost lives of unschooled steel workers
on the facades of thousands of libraries,
part of the Carnegie bequest.
And who remembers
the abandoned artistic ambitions
of the aluminum smelters, the oil riggers,
and the bank tellers who labored
so the Mellon family could endow
the National Gallery of Art?
There used to be more sides in the world.
Grandpa’s barn had four good sides
before it went down in a storm in ’87.
Grandpa, too, had sides, a good one and a bad one.
They both went down in ’63.
When Uncle Jim took a steer to market,
there were two sides of beef,
a side in his freezer, a side in ours.
There used to be shorter fences
in back yards
and neighbors on each side
talking to each other.
And if they ever mentioned sides,
it wasn’t to say, you’re on the wrong side.
There was your side and my side, but we talked.
And politics? Jesus,
there were all kinds of sides
and lots of middle ground
in the town square.
Now sides are taken, not shared.
Newsmen boast about reporting both sides of the story,
as if there were always only two.
There used to be a sunny side of the street,
a few dead ends,
but every street with a sunny side,
not just Park Avenue.
Can you remember?
Can you even imagine it now?
Every street with a sunny side
and all you had to do was cross over.
©2016 Ed Werstein
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