When I worked at a gift shop on Monterey wharf
selling seaside souvenirs to unwary tourists
on my way I’d often walk
through trendy Custom House Plaza
and pause at the Salvador Dalí museum.
Having limited hours, it was typically closed
so I’d be locked out from his eternal works,
though at times a faint ghost of him visible
shimmering in crisp coastal fog.
Call it doppelganger, loyal muse,
raw spirit spiraled from the abyss,
daimon nonpareil, dallying soul,
such words as I’d ascribe quite useless.
State of Art
In their song “Lather” the Jefferson Airplane tell a tale
of the laughable man-child who in his mind didn’t age.
He played with toys as if but a boy while minding his
business until they took them away. In similar fashion
art movements fade out, become eclipsed, toys taken
by others riding waves of joy, discovery, and disaster.
The artists come and go, make their marks, then exit
with the turn of a dial, clang of a bell, or drop of a hat.
The artist starts with nothing and creates alive images
that will last in our minds because though ephemeral
stand the ravages of time. The Impressionists gave us
the world as seen, Dada the idea of a world. Which is
preferable depends on one’s taste: Cezanne introduced
nicely colorized geometric formulas, then along came
Tanguy with his amorphous architecture who appeals
by means of integrating otherwise dissonant concepts.
From cave walls where sacred animals were depicted
to scenes from ancient mythology and Christian man
art has segued through the ages: nothing static in this
evolving world, not the position of stars, not glaciers.
Art is the mirror of our minds, the inner teachings we
draw from imaginations drunk with inspiration borne
on intuitive wings of enlightenment, thence conveyed
into the tactile world, put on display for all to observe.
Peer up, out into space and consider what significance
distant creatures may assign to our art. Would it seem
juvenile, irrelevant, meaningful, or ersatz hocus pocus,
play things like Lather’s sand pail and shovel? If we’ve
learned anything at all by virtue of Warhol’s soup cans,
it’s that his canvases will inevitably disappear one day.
We’ll never catch time in a bottle, so unable to foresee
art’s future, yet have its present and past to illuminate.
To the chagrin of their moral majority
geese gathered under a bubble gum tree
and attempted to appear silent partners
in continual squawks as they trundled
across a busy midtown expressway.
Once on the other side
craving to humanize
as the blue sun drilled
holes in their paper thin skin
while defying common sense
what was thought an instinctive duty
those birds constructed pyramids
in which to store their deceased
whose souls they hoped would ascend
like Osiris unto multiple singularities.
About the Poet
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry has
appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly, Literature Today, Poetry Salzburg, South
African Literary Journal, Modern Literature, and others. His books of poetry are Ballad of Billy
the Kid, Monterey Bay Adventures, Mercurial World, and Aurora California.