19 Oct 2018 poem


I murdered serendipity in a Paris, Texas motel room
with a white oleander stem sharpened on a grind stone.

Serendipity did not seem to notice
and went about its business as if it had other appointments to keep.

My dog shied from my sap stained hand all day
while encouraging me to wash vigorously with soap and water.

Inside serendipity the oleander took root
and sprouted bright white flowers that emerged near its vest buttons.

I was surprised to learn, none of this
was new to the residents of Paris, Texas or the motel manager,

who found one of serendipity’s long brown hairs
on room one-oh-seven’s sink—

which is strange since I murdered serendipity with an oleander sprig
in room two-thirty-eight in the bed closest to the door.

Before I could check out of the motel, the police arrived—
or the marshals or the rangers or whatever they have in Paris, Texas—

and stretched crime scene tape around my car
(it being park in spot one-oh-seven).

I simply forget that the Red River was north
and started walking west along US highway eighty-two

to a Dennys brand all day breakfast,
because I was hungry and it was available nearby.

Also it is as good a place to hide as any
as I vanquished my desire for hash browns smothered under two eggs.



8 Oct 2018 poem

And Bunny Rabbits

You lived too loudly
and the earth trembled
whenever you neared me
and I thought,
This is the end of the silence
I so carefully cultivated
through the long growing season.

Your footsteps so compress the earth
that your footprints are crusted
in diamonds and other hard gemstones
and crystalline formations
and I thought,
This is the end of my poverty.
I shall not miss it.
What heavy subjects weigh on you?

Your passing assent
through the clouds into the blue sky
caused me to wonder,
Are you the second Child of the Christian God
who brushed by me
while taking a terrestrial inventory
of important things
like sea monsters, sand pipers and bunny rabbits.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney

This poem was written after rereading “The Tenor of Your Yes” by Mary Ruefle, from her book “Indeed I Was Pleased With The World“.  Ever since poet Robert Arthur Reeves introduced me to Mary Ruefle’s work, I have been a fan. If you enjoy seeing the world differently and writing that expresses that other-vision, I suggest you check out Ruefle’s books.



6 Oct 2018 poem

Without Cream

Paul plunges his spoon into his oatmeal.
The oatmeal thrusts the spoon up and into the air.
The spoon clatters to the table and feels itself a pawn
in a struggle it does not understand.

The Washington Post sits unread, folded.
Its newsprint rubs off on the table’s surface.
Line by line, a story crawls toward the oatmeal bowl
and Paul’s downward looking eyes, but bumps into the spoon.

The sun brightens only half the table top.
No part of the table top is jealous.
Illuminated bagel crumbs dry out quicker
than their shaded brethren.

Paul’s empty coffee cup
waits upon the server caffeine delivery system.
The coffee cup wonders if it is a clone
due to all the identical coffee cups upon other tables.

The chair opposite Paul remains empty
with expectations of a guest to dull Paul’s loneliness
and telepathically attempts to steer
new female patron’s Paul’s way.

Sparrows at the table to Paul’s right
tug a piece of toast toward the table edge.
No one sits at the table to Paul’s left
but a pair of salt and pepper shakers stand upon it.

Paul sees the ghosts of once upon a time obligatory ash trays.
He sees the ghosts of ashes accidentally tapped on table tops.
He hears the long ago smokey conversations as a slight buzz.
He sips yesterday’s coffee in his cup without cream.



1 Oct 2018 poem

My Selfishness

I poured all my selfishness into September
with no time for anyone else that month.

Unfortunately, my selfishness was too large to fit in September
and carried on until October fifth.

My visual acuity is not so good with intangible volumes.
Or, maybe, my perception of time is larger than the actuality of time.

I stuffed September with my selfishness,
because I believed the world has a plan for me

that I must be open to
so I may get out of my own way.

I thought of my method as an indulgent stripper bachelor party
before I wedded the fate the world planned for me.

If the world presented its plan in September,
I fear I missed its power point projection from a seaside lighthouse.

My selfishness brought me to a rounded stone beach
not far from a spiral striped lighthouse

for the resonance of receding waves
as they nudged and flowed over and around clicking rocks.

Man made objects washed to the beach
disrupted the resonance of the receding waves,

so I picked up all the plastics I could
in their various tide abused states of deconstruction.

Three naked and injured Barbies I set aside for the proper burial
of some anonymous children’s dreams.

I created a second pile of broken glass
tumbled smooth and opalescent by the sea—

The sea-glass could have remained among the stones
for local jewelry artisans to find and treasure,

but my selfishness had a few remaining drops
that deeply desired to rest in a recovered Coke bottle

once I assembled it
from the sea-sculpted menagerie of broken pieces.


Love & Light


Reactions to Kavanaugh Hearing

This entry is my reaction from the 27 September 2018 judicial hearing about allegations of sexual assault by supreme court nominee Kavanaugh that were televised.

I did not watch Dr. Ford’s four hours. I already believed her story.

I did watch most, but not all, of Kavanaugh’s time before the senate judicial committee. His aggressive demeanor and evasions pissed me off too much to remain in the TV room the whole time.

To me Kavanaugh came across as a privileged white guy jerk, who knew the lines he rehearsed that his privileged old white guy mentors coached him to speak. He came across as a guy who did exactly what those women claimed and was pissed that it did not stay in the dark closet of his past and might disrupt his future ambitions.

Just because Kavanaugh has academic honors and played basketball at Yale, does not mean he did not also drink and behave badly as alleged. But he kept reciting those facts as a desperate mantra to waste time and evade direct answers. When I attended University the sports team members were some of the school’s heaviest drinkers—in general they were responsible enough not to over drink when they did not have the next day off. Many were dean’s list in their academics.

Kavanaugh’s aggressive, bullying manner when sober gave credence to the women’s allegations of his likely behavior when drunk.

His shouts of partisanship on the Dem’s part and what goes around comes around causes me to think he will be an incredibly biased and aggrieved judge with a score to settle who will not vote on the merits of any given case if he is voted in to the supreme court.

I jaw dropped when Lindsey Graham displayed his anger quite openly about the whole day’s events. Kavanaugh’s treatment bothered Graham so greatly he yelled, pointed fingers and turned red, even though Graham has reacted so calmly to every school shooting that left children dead and was nearly passive when it came to light that immigrant children where separated from parents and held in cages. Where was that damnation and hellfire attitude for justice for the common man and human rights?

I found myself angry at Kavanaugh playing the aggrieved card for what I think he perceives as a hickup in his conformation and what his family has gone through. I wanted to know how many death threats he received? Did he have to move out of his home because of threats as Dr. Ford had to relocate? Then I drifted toward my reasoning deep end and found myself angry that this SOB was whining so much even though no police had arrested him, or beaten him while in custody or killed him while arresting him as has happened to so many men of color.

Also, I found myself angry with the Democrat senators who kept asking the FBI investigation question over and over to the same non-answer.  Did anyone ever ask if Kavanaugh had gone through AA? Or was that a known fact from his statement and I missed it?

I found myself angry that senator Kennedy of Louisiana brought God into the hearing as if a belief in God causes the truth to be spoken. I wonder if Kavanaugh was Jewish or Muslim would Kennedy bring God into the hearing? Or take Kavanaugh’s response as gospel?

How about Hatch saying Dr. Ford was attractive and pleasant. I just shook my head in disbelief.

It is my fool’s hope that all US women of voting age, regardless of party, will refuse to vote GOP for the next three elections. Okay, that is not fair to down ballot contests for local and state level elections, but I am writing this slightly pissed off eighteen hours after the hearings closed.

I find, since Trump’s election, that I am sick of old white guys (and women) in office. I want new blood. I want fresh ideas. I want a government whose faces reflect our national diversity (both racial and financial). I want a much lower national debt. I want health care I can reasonably afford. I want equality under the law for all Americans. I want privilege laws struck from the books. I want the National Park Service fully funded by congress—pet project of mine.

Oh well. That is enough steam released that I do not fear the brain-kettle will explode.

Love & Light





26 Sep 2018 poem

How To Walk On Water

It is easiest to wait for Winter’s freeze,
but believers want a miracle—
something visual for sharing on social media.

The trick is to possess a horizontal frame of mind
while vertical on bare feet—
soles slathered with Vaseline for added buoyancy.

The believers insist on walking,
not just standing—
running would be better if this exhibition fails.

The walking must be in many directions
to prove there is no plexiglass support
beneath the water’s surface.

The walking must maintain the tops of the feet
above the water’s surface, otherwise
they will believe the walker channels a duck.

The rules do not allow the use of cattails as hiking sticks.
The rules do not allow participants to skate on oak leaves.
The lake murmurs encouragement. Hear it deeply.

Through all your attempts remember
what it was like as a baby learning to be a toddler.

You will fall down that many times and more
before you get the hang of walking on water.



Statute of Limitations

This entry springs into existence from mulling the Kavanaugh hearings for the Supreme Court confirmation in the light of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.

My knee jerk response, as a guy, upon learning of Ford’s allegations was that the alleged incident happened in high school, more than 30 years ago and should not be part of this hearing. Does a misdeed dog you all your life? Does foolish, maybe criminal behavior, as a youth follow and affect you all life long?

My secondary response was to look up how many states have no statute of limitations on felony sexual assault. Eight (8) states have no statute of limitations, while a total of twenty-seven (27) have defined circumstances that cause no statute of limitations.  I do not know if what Kavanaugh is alleged to have done qualifies as a felony.

Because sexual assault affects and influences the victim’s entire life, I have decided that if Ms. Ford’s allegation is true or simply credible, Kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. In a he said/she said confrontation, I believe we should lean toward believing the injured party. I am not a fan of Kavanaugh in the first place, so this leap is easy for me to make in this case, but I think we should treat all cases this way.

I think that the statute of limitations on a crime should be extended to a period that mirrors how long the injury affects the victim, if it extends past a legal set minimum— seven years. Any crime that involves violence or trauma to the victim would have a statute of limitation until the victim was done with physical rehab and any therapy to recover from the trauma—which might be their whole life.

On the assumption that the allegation is true, this episode reveals a deeper part of Kavanaugh that I read as a disrespect for other people’s rights. The drunkenness involved is not an excuse, but a door that opened to how he views the world. He is privileged, where other people’s rights do not matter. Not the sort of person I would want on the Supreme Court to enforce the laws of the land in an even and just manner. In fact not the sort of person I want on any federal court bench.

Again, assuming the allegation is true, it brings the question to mind, if Kavanaugh has been an upright person for the last thirty years, are we (society) applying justice or vengeance or something else when putting a big dent in his life by not confirming him to the supreme court? If the assault was prosecuted in the year following the incident with a guilty verdict, would Kavanaugh have made it to where he is today or would he have become an ambulance chasing lawyer or been prevented from all white collar positions in society.

There is something to be said for the victim’s right to closure and knowing society has their back in enforcing the law, even if it is delayed. (Hmm. I am not sure closure is a right, but I do not have a better word for it.)

I disagree with the GOP senator’s idea of pushing Kavanaugh’s confirmation through and concluding hearings with no FBI investigation. To me that smacks of the good ol’ boy network protecting their own in the knowledge they all have past incidents that would not survive scrutiny if they ever came to light.

In the spirit of the golden rule, I think each of us should think before we act and weigh the effect of our actions on the rights of others to the best of our ability. I do not know that this idea is compatible with capitalism and type-a personalities. It is definitely not compatible with manifest destiny if any one continues to use that argument to justify their deeds.

Love & Light