Confessions of a Rock Icon & some other stuff, by Thomas Piekarski

In the process of clawing my way to fame I commingled with a lot of foul characters. Shanghaied by their sordid ambitions, I was dragged into a moral black hole. I had to brown nose these scrubs, hate it as I did. And once I got famous the media hounded me, many of them claiming I was trash. The truth is I’ve battled these naysayers my whole life, finding that none of them has the DNA to be a rock star. So they can cram their crappy reviews; I say they’re the ugly ones. My art transcends them.

Before the music and while seeking an identity, I embraced Hume and Descartes. It was my nihilistic phase. I felt venerated when my photo ran in the paper showing me streaking naked across the Oakland Coliseum outfield. But such fame was fleeting.

In my latest song I sing about the rogue candidate who in his address to the nation about many possible solutions to the various environmental, social and economic malaises that plague us, flush with bow tie, neatly pressed pantaloons and harlequin hat, bows, and hopscotches off the stage to resounding applause.

I think my real purpose is to give it my best to reduce pestilence on this planet, and to lower the level of outright pedantic pursuits among the multitude. I visit Da Vinci’s schematics and discover what he realized, that science doesn’t walk art like a dog on a leash, and that art and science are related unsystematically. This is why I believe masters paintings can be found on millions of other planets throughout the cosmos.

I’m working on my next song, about the Brown Shirts. I have them marching down San Juan Hill, machetes gleaming, the spring sky filled with smoke. The land is littered with enemy bodies. No less than heroes, their enthusiasm is at a fabulous height, nationalistic rhetoric embedded in their gleeful chants—the fresh red blood glistening on their sweat-soaked uniforms.

Notes From the Naked Lounge Cafe
The man whose arms crawl with tattoos opens his laptop to wireless access. He is woefully corpulent, wears a stylish felt hat, and t-shirt with a Who concert logo stenciled on it. The blender can be heard from inside grinding ice for a delicious mocha as the man with a cigarette sticking from his stone mouth like a tube of dynamite holds a match and cruises job sites on the worldwide web. Palm trees massive, line the sidewalk, soak up the setting sun while a girl in the park across the street pumps with all her might to lift the swing higher and higher still. A newshawk in the helicopter above: its churning blades slash the wide blue sky to bits. In all probability he’s not mindful that “Whistler’s Mother” is on display in San Francisco for the first and probably last time. The woman inside stated in one of her poems that this city with two majestic rivers that merge into a single vein has no heart. And yet on a plaque in the California state capitol Rose Garden just four blocks away, the words of a second grade student read “God’s heart has many colors, and every color is a country.” Last week Lance Armstrong labored past this place in a wad of some fifty cyclists, only to crash the next day. A print of a classic nude lying seductively on a velvet blanket hangs above the head of the geek with a cowlick. He pivots his head, hoping to catch a glance of someone noticing his yellow Converse tennis shoes.

I would love, dearly love to help you
carry out your plan. I would revel
in seeing his skin peeled off, lashed
with a bull whip, appendages severed,
drawn and quartered, fed to dogs.

You were utterly betrayed, having poured
love and devotion, time and money into
the relationship. But you were naive
to think anything good would result.

“He was a miserable, lying, wretched
sonuvabitch! He promised his entire estate,
put it in writing, and then behind your back
reversed the trust and left you hanging.”

Is it possible to have orgasms in hell?
Are Jews sacrificed in the holocaust there?
If not there, then where? Valhalla?

Ok, we’re not cut from exactly the same cloth.
So what stops you from having me crucified?

“Better than that, I’ll have you gang raped
by a thousand bloodthirsty savages,
every bone in your body broken, slashed
all over with a stiletto, then left
to bleed to death in the city dump.”

Control your rage, brother. You brought
this on yourself. You could have acted,
but instead sat still on your fat rump.

Hitler slaughtered countless Jews,
but landed in hell just as much because
he broke the peace pact with Stalin
and cost the German people a million
of their beloved brethren’s souls during
that catastrophic invasion of Russia.

“My nostalgia is plethoric as I think back
on the many times I pleaded for
reason and understanding. I was lied to
by liars whose embodiments
dissolve in tubs of bubbly turpentine.”

Indeed a graphic reminder
of gut-wrenching times.
It’s a miracle you averted disaster.
You could have easily copped out
and leapt from a high overpass
onto the busy northbound freeway.

Remember, nobody forced you to
fall in love with her. Nobody even
suggested it. Of course you wanted
confluence and satisfaction for
the duration, but realistically
such harmonies are quite rare
even amongst the godly sages.

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His theater and restaurant reviews have been published in various newspapers, with poetry and interviews appearing in numerous national journals, among them Portland Review, Main Street Rag, Kestrel, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Cream City Review, Nimrod, Penny Ante Feud, New Plains Review, Poetry Quarterly, the Muse-an International Journal of Poetry, and Clockhouse Review. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices in Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.