— a poem by Thomas Piekarski

There is no solace in the lighted crevices
That stow away along the interstate.
Their mighty embers about to be trounced
By trucks signal pyric triumph.
The paean you hear is a battered stump
Expediting the path of a living shadow
That cuts your soul into little embryos.
The wheel uninvented. Thus the truckers
Must thump along with flattened purpose.
Oh look under the rock not so distant;
There your fortitude is born
In rocks fated to be formed.

And this isn’t some magician’s hoisting
A lit wand despite wails of warriors.
Adamantine are the stars. We view them
Mysteriously as though we’re unaware
That we are them, not by happenstance
But by virtue of a cosmic brotherhood
That breathes at once violet and then
Scarlet, magenta. When standing tall,
Back erect and looking straight up,
One fathoms its omniscience.

“All aboard the Thunderbird that flashes,
Stripping the varnish off green clouds.”

Lulu Bonafice rummaged through
The antique dresser drawer.
She found there only one nylon
And a pair of woolen socks
With which to wind
The grandfather clock.
The clock stuck at ten twenty-nine
For a total of seventeen years.
Or so her diary attests.

She well remembers depositing the check,
It happened tomorrow, a testament
To her autonomy amongst
Reprehensible forces at large.
Sorrow superannuated only when
Boiled over into a sponsoring vat,
To become soaring spore, astray
In the dawn’s unsteady melee.

Lulu wasn’t pandering. It’s merely a case
Where dead understanding pilfers,
And nothing can so much as pause it.
She remembered well depositing the check
As though it were tomorrow.

“Her immeasurable
Failed to stanch
The Prussian waifs’
Swarming cavalcade.
Like Joan of Arc
Steady in her ways
She rode astride
A ruby camel.”

Watch as poor Mr. Applebaum
Squeezes a cyanide pill
Between gilded molars.

Yet she survived. The sun survived.
The day went south as was its wont.
But time had evaporated,
Its dissipating spray
Like leaping antelopes
Swept her hair.

And nothing, nothing at all
Could contest that frenzied

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His theater and restaurant reviews have been published in various newspapers, with poetry and interviews appearing in numerous national journals, among them Portland Review, Main Street Rag, Kestrel, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Cream City Review, Nimrod, Penny Ante Feud, New Plains Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Muse-an International Journal of Poetry, and Clockhouse Review. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.