Galley Slaves - Thomas Piekarski

Galley Slaves - Thomas Piekarski

With wages frozen at zero                          

and minds uncircumcised                            

it was all we could do 

to withhold our rage.

Yet we supported them 100%, 

every one of us in favor

of stepping up production 

in their horrible galley. Otherwise 

we would be rammed, sunk

into the sea’s deep abysm. 

Constantly they whipped 

our scarred backs as we spit 

black pitch.

Across the Aegean, then 

the Mediterranean we rowed, 

rowed until dawn when

we slumped, died at our posts, 

shackles tight.


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About the Author

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.