Two Poems

by Thomas Piekarski

Peanut Land

It really isn’t hard to understand
how the Martians wound up in peanut land.
As children they were schooled in physics
that existed beyond the boundaries of light.
The telescopic eyes inside their minds
scanned spheres far and wide
on which they could potentially settle.
For them this was a necessary task
since life-sustaining elements were rapidly
vanishing from their native planet.
Despite the ominous power they possessed,
amongst the worlds that were considered
none within the Milky Way would do,
not even Andromeda, nor the many
parallel universes that were up for grabs.
And then one day the sun began to toss
enormous solar flares that reached
even beyond lonely little Pluto.
As you would imagine, Mars was turned
into a fiery ball that incinerated
the entire population to tiny dust specks.
And that is how the Martians were sent
to peanut land, safe and sound, intact.


If you expect to get to heaven take hell
for granted. Dress up as Santa at the spring
equinox. Emulate Lennon and McCartney, Watson
and Crick, the Smothers Brothers. Should you desire,
you can conceptualize Wallace Stevens
as the authentic roller of big cigars
and legitimate connoisseur of chaos.
You can bend your thoughts around
the lip of the Utah copper mine
that was closed due to a landslide.
You can make this existence one worth keeping
or follow everybody else’s vision.
What is this cheap talk about transformation
of a plated fork into a wunderkind
and the time you soiled yourself at aunt Jen’s?
Rather get good and ready for the next
sensational splendor says a knowledgeable
space probe. Abide the monstrosity gestating
in the tomb of the unknown pilgrim.
Factoring imagination and brain wave, body
motion and motivation, an insubordinate
attitude about how this came to be
is a fabled method many choke on.
A wrestler applies a full nelson.
The boat rocks loose of its slip
and goes jetting across whitecaps.
Love follows hate like a used napkin.
Which way did the pockmarked daughter
of CNN go? If necessary I’ll follow her
to the end of eternity and perhaps gain
a little more space in which to cram my theme.
And certainly not because my distant cousin
is suffering COPD. Not because some guru
pressed upon me illicit pleasures.
This is no formula for rescue from
the deep, desultory lockers where you pile
innermost scoops. Can you guess what
Doctor Zhivago would have given up love for?
You’ll have to keep on guessing.
What art does it undoes instinctively.
Tomorrow wouldn’t be gone today
had it not appeared in last month’s
chapter published posthumously
in the book you’ve yet to read.

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared in Nimrod, Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, Gertrude, The Bacon Review, and many others.  He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.

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