Two Poems

by Thomas Piekarski

Bucket of Blood

 
The Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City
is a repository for waterfalls of blood gushing
downward to kingdom cometh. There ruffians
once crooned at the Faro table and slung
silver like a pendulum.
 
The dearly departed of this Earth
are scarcely heard from, tumbleweeds
scurrying across a vapid open prairie
not seen and so likely expired in our minds
except wherein genealogists mine
their souls from microfiche archives.

Pilgrim

Spears sticking up in peat where dead sparrows nested.
Expressway frozen still. My double is your Valentino
thumbing his way back to Alaska. The middle occupied
by abandoned reindeer stranded on your daddy’s navel.

It’s muggy tonight. My Venice, your gondola. Voltaire
disguised as a motley harlequin hiding in the bushes.
When walking the wide Rambla in Barcelona watch out
or you may be ambushed by the ghost of Pablo Picasso.

Black sandpaper sky. Neighborhood houselights sparkle.
A few scraggly stars through the smog. Hoorah Uranus.
And then a dry field, parched tinderbox where I watch
jackrabbits morph into zebras before my bulging eyes.
Tis said you felt the essence of your sentencing within
those stanzas you penned, dear poet. Credit hard labor,
dust wrapped in cellophane. My Brutus is your Judas.
The poor ride the metro. The rich pontificate, and stall.

Strolling to the chapel of love, it could be anyplace. Take
this pill and chill out. If just for once go preemptive. Let’s
annex music and swing on grace notes. Green Lantern will
make his own way. My enlightenment is your epiphany.

Magritte taut, sweats, casts a big broad smile, hard at work
on a self-portrait, him wearing his typical bowler hat and
black tie, smokes a J-shaped pipe. Meanwhile Rimbaud is
having a ball, rides a comet tail round and round the moon.

The ferry leaves in ten minutes but who cares? This tidbit
of information irrelevant, and contrary to the development
of one’s understanding. All for one and we equally free-fall
said thunder hailing ancient Arcadia with a boatload of light.

City rail cars zip past, then a freight train trundles by, both
barely skirting catastrophe. My reality is your fond fantasy, so
we’re even. I have blood cells and thin air to dish out, although
we won’t gain satisfaction this night any more than gnomes.

Grand bedfellows my indistinguishable cadence coupled with
John Philip Sousa snoozing in the heart of the sun. And the sun
never rises without a prompt, an approval from you my friend,
my fiend, dark paramour. Now I’ll sing my latest song for you.

 


Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared widely in literary journals in the U.S., India, Canada, Austria, and the U.K., includingNimrod, Portland Review, Mandala Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Journal, and Poetry Quarterly. He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern California, andTime Lines, a book of poems.
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