Sunday 5 May 2024

1 Poem by Thomas Piekarski


In the distance out toward Rio Vista
wind turbines in a long row whirl.

Puffy whipped cream clouds drift
through a dazzling turquoise sky.

Sunlight electrifies the vacant space
across acre after acre of green fields.

A black gate with fleur-de-lis spikes
and crowned silver lions welcomes.

Brightness shifts brilliant to minimal
as a stray cat yowls and crows cackle.

Ryde in its prime an exclusive getaway
for the Southern California smart set.

Hollywood stars favored its fine hotel
opposite the rippling Sacramento river.

They relaxed at this Art Deco shrine,
would pop open a bottle of Napa wine,

maybe indulge in a fat Cuban cigar,
drunk on money and transitory fame.

But today on the other side of the world
there are thousands of bombs exploding

and innumerable corpses decomposing
across a totally anonymous landscape.

Most of the dead had never seen heaven
in a grain of sand and now it’s too late.

The peace Ryde yet confers upon us
is useless to those vanquished patriots.

Anyway as palms swoon in the wind
I’m glad to have regained my swagger

and will soon be sadly departing this
illumination inside a living painting.


Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry has appeared in such publications as The Journal, Poetry Salzburg, Modern Literature, The Museum of Americana, South African Literary Journal, and Home Planet News. His books of poetry are Ballad of Billy the Kid, Monterey Bay Adventures, Mercurial World, and Aurora California.

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