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

captivates drivers

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

eons ago.


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.