Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared widely in literary journals internationally, including Nimrod, Portland Review, Mandala Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Boston Poetry Magazine, and Poetry Quarterly. He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems.
My blood bloomed in one aborted afternoon’s wide clearing.
I beheld many specters rising from a mushroom cloud, angels
drinking liquefied brains of goats, and those oblique images
had me half paralyzed. It has been written that no harm could
possibly come to the truly ubiquitous spirit. Yet there I stood
as anacondas writhed across a flaming hayfield. Utterly awed,
my words stuttered in shallow catacombs. Countries blown
to bits, their detritus meteorites orbiting my head. Oh where
had my empress gone? The cards she read were accurate, I was
walking the plank, about to plunge into a gaseous ocean. Mystic
visions, and mountains of knowledge exploded upward, ripping
holes through an invisible empyrean. The sun above slumped.
And then from lava flow the gunslinger, jolly seraph arrived
to shoot a crystal bullet through my heart. All of the marshes
on which swans inherently depend dried up. Furious winds
twisted every which way, spitting radiant atmospheres about.
I could have easily crushed eternity in my fist like a soup can.
Bridges from Venice to San Francisco had been swept away,
escape hatches all disappeared. And no trees to climb anymore,
lost in the labyrinth of history. Poets sat grumbling, having been
rebuffed by immortality. Priests prayed and prayed to no avail.
Whole populations had dared gaze upon Medusa’s countenance
and were reduced to stone. I walked a blank city street, observed
the ghost train rambling along foggy tracks. It ran perpendicular
to the world, carrying cargo unsuitable for human apprehension.
Prescience vanished, everyone begging for daily bread. Hornets
buzzed by the millions, and saltwater species longed to interdict
any trace of oxygen. Prophets gagging on stale parables, cyber
spies motes that zinged like black positrons. Pentacles swam
concentric moats that jiggled inside my eyes. Stars developed,
erstwhile illusions ingested in the guts of atomized dreams. Slivers
of light jetted every direction. Of all this no sorrow was warranted
since for sorrow survivors had substituted disgrace, and besides
nobody believed anything of substance was left to be reconciled.