With unbridled zeal I reported
to my new job yesterday
at venerable old Harbor House
that has stood for decades
at the very head of Monterey’s
historical Fisherman’s Wharf.
Harbor House would be described
by many as a pretty pink shack
or fairy tale seaside chalet, but to me
what I’d call New England Edwardian.
I was quickly put to use
greeting customers, and stocking
unusual precious mementoes.
The pink gleam the building emits
who in passing view it at the skyline
as they enter the Monterey tunnel.
And from the opposite side
it presents a postcard subject
for multitudes of tourists
who observe it on a daily basis.
Its bright blue sign painted
with bold white letters
can’t be missed as one approaches
while traversing the harbor walkway.
People from around the globe
roam throughout Harbor House
among countless trinkets and treasures,
ultimately making selections
that reflect and symbolize
their magical time in Monterey.
So now two lovers kiss and caress
on a bench above ocean waters
where potent breakers plunge against
immensely stout granite rocks
mostly coated with moss,
and then to rebound resoundingly
upon equally stalwart outcrops
completely covered with mussels.
This chaos doesn’t deter squirrels
burrowing furiously in sand.
They jettison those projects
to skirl, dart, stop on a dime
and nibble in between
behemoth granite boulders
that formed ocean bottom
Those ominous boulders returning
to primordial roots because
Monterey beaches are presently
losing ground to ocean rise
faster than any other
in these United States.
Some scientists even swear
that if I were to be sitting
on this very same rock
in a century or two
I’d be in for a good soaking,
as much as a quarter mile beneath
the tumult of bursting waves.
When the purse seiners would unload
fresh sardine catches just around dawn
the cannery bosses blasted whistles
that reverberated many blocks uphill
and rousted weary workers subsisting
in creaky little shacks. They had only
thirty minutes to report to their stations,
fed, sober enough and shipshape, able
to sever heads and tails, then process
ton after ton of those silvery victims.
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.