Thomas Piekarski: “Legalese”


Too early in autumn for leaves to turn,
and boats are still on mum harbor waters.
I feel the warmth of an unencumbered sun
as it massages my back and shoulder blades.

Here at the waterfront retaining wall
that bends and curves its way from the head
of bustling Fisherman’s Wharf,
general contentment rules the day.

From the railing I scan down a few yards
to the beach where a little boy, all alone,
is building a mound from wet sand.
With every handful he shapes and pats
his private little Mount Everest.

But his cause is lost, for the law of erosion
is absolute. And as if to demonstrate
the veracity of this law, the tide
continues to build, rising with every
incoming wavelet. Those wavelets
wash the mound away at a faster pace
than the boy can replenish it.
And so he gives up in defeat,
walking away dejectedly.

A hippie guitar player blissfully strums
and sings to the pleasure of passersby.

Then along comes the spunky Park Ranger
all decked out in an official uniform.
He extends his hand in mock friendship
mandating that the musician move on.

Meanwhile a ways down the stone seawall
a harmonica player carries on uncontested.
He bums a cigarette from a skateboarder
then continues blowing his harp, confident
no law could make him trim his scraggly beard.


Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly and Pushcart Prize nominee. His poetry and interviews have appeared in literary journals internationally, including Nimrod, Florida English Journal, Cream City Review, Mandala Journal, Poetry Salzburg, Poetry Quarterly, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Boston Poetry Magazine. He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems.


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