Tor Day by Thomas Piekarski

Tonight the full moon is due, but will it be
silvery? Yes or no, I want to have on display
the new collectibles I’ll purchase at the wharf,
precious little oceanic enameled pillboxes,
one a red lobster, the other a green crab, inset
with rhinestones, having brass appendages,
and so sleek you could pass them as Faberge.

I will set them on the coffee table along with
my Eiffel Tower candleholder and shiny bust
of Napoleon purchased in a flurry at Montmartre.
I want them to have my back in case some mean
Avenger should drop by and decide to harass me
later tonight while a full moon soars above the sky
affecting every tentacle of every thinking being.

But first I must procure them. This day perfect
for taking photographs: Monterey’s distinct glow
synthesizes with energy produced by enthusiasts
congregated at the wharf. I observe nonchalantly
the usual homeless pandering, and loud wails
of a lonesome guitarist, when the spirit of portly
Pop Ernst the abalone czar springs into view.

Pop Ernst who popularized and made commercial
the tough and rather tasteless abalone of the time.
He found the means to tenderize and render it juicy
and succulent when combined with the right batter.
I have seen in preserved old photos his restaurant
exactly at the spot where the gift shop now sits at
the wharf’s head, where I purchase my treasures.
The girl lifts them gingerly from a fine glass case,
rings me up and, most polite, bubble wraps both.
I’m amped, about ready to board a boat for Tahiti,
when I come to my senses and realize it’s getting
high time to make my way along the coast past
Pacific Grove, the lighthouse and great tidepool,
park and get to Tor House before the big crowd.

A block from the wharf at the city Plaza a trendy
multicultural hoedown in full swing, music from
India, Mexico, Korea at large: giggly young girls
holding hands dance clockwise in a circle, skirts
from multiple far corners of the Earth whipping
in a brisk wind that spins around the party with
stealthy pathos, vision, empathy and brute power.

The world could use much more power, but not
the kind that pollutes, daily dumps umpteen tons
of sickening waste into the ecosystem every day.
It’s reported that if the best nuclear bomb were
to be detonated above ground at mid atmosphere
all power would be cut off worldwide, everyone
homeless, helpless, plundering a black planet.

Of course we must avert this at all cost. No-one
wants to be mauled to death by a band of roaming
cannibals, especially not on the way to a festival
at the home of California’s most prodigal poet ever,
home built solely of stones he gathered from shores
against which waves incessantly beat, a huge source
of psychic power that he absorbed night and day.

Jeffers could never be tethered with any other poet,
and yet he hints of Shelley, gigantic in scope, able to
construct epics such as Medea with uncanny execution.
A venerable congregation of unfettered Jeffers lovers
visits Tor House this day each year. It’s theirs now,
along with Hawk Tower and immaculate blossoming
spring garden, string quartet, painters, punch and sea.


Gather Ye
Photograph by Thomas Piekarski

About the Author

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly, as well as Associate Editor of Impact magazine and The Literary Monitor. His poetry and interviews have appeared in dozens of literary journals both nationally and internationally, including Nimrod, Portland Review, Mandala Journal, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Journal, Gertrude, and Annapurna.  He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.