House And Home

My body battered by my mind
trembles in place.

My blood hollows itself
blueing under oxygen debt.

Knights joust upon my tongue.
A soggy pink field torn to pieces by mad charges.

Love is a word I do not speak to myself.
It is an abstract others speak of solidly.

It has something to do with the difference
of the words House and Home.

My body houses what God’s mouth
breathed into me.

But this flesh does not feel like home
for all my consumed communion wafers.

In this state I tell myself
this night I feel the holy dark about me

and the floor’s broken glass is fear
not a bottle dropped

after liquid numbness fails
to add color back to old photos.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Park

Sundays, after breakfast
we go to the park instead of church.

The park did not invite us
and felt put upon.

Its interest was in birds
especially flocks.

Enough of us responded
to meet-up text messages

that we began to resemble
a flock of geese.

The park complained
our outfits were not uniform

and the girls should not be wearing
manly bright mating colors.

In an effort to appease the park
we began singing

love songs to attract a mate
though none of us

intended to nest
where the park could observe

eggs hatching
or the antics of fledglings.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dear Police Officer

I am sorry
you are just
a badge number
in city hall’s
machine.

If only
your blue uniform
hearkened back
to the Civil War
when that color
meant freedom
from the oppression
of slavery.

Please keep
in mind
your body cam
is to capture
the truth
of an encounter
not you
drawing your
hand gun
as a first option
when other
tactics
remain unexplored.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Amethyst Irises

Dora was not born like the rest of us.
She sprang from the thought
of the One Tree.
The solution to a cypher.

Not a hybrid of two species
but something new
and complex
sung from a creation hymn.

This was after the seven days
and many years
gone by in a wink
of God’s eye.

Outside evolution really.
A creature placed
into bone and flesh
as a new design.

I say it was the wiring.
Her brain. Its connectivity
to the heart
to understand emotion

the chemical escapades
that invest survival
and appear
irrational.

She has the quality
Rain Queen
for a desert people
busy with I … I … I … I … I.

Some days I see her
as a star-shine bridge
all rainbow
and ominously Norse.

Speaking with others
we cannot agree
upon her appearance
as different eyes

give her different attributes.
For me her hair never grows
long enough
for braids.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Depression Daydream

Somewhere
another sun
another blue ball
blue oceans.

And maybe
just maybe
its version of
boys

dozens of them
play a game
with a ball
that is kicked

or thrown
or both.
Play with
no bad blood

that leads
to intentional bruises
or racial slurs
for color shades

skin tones
used to exclude
the likes
of Satchel

Buck
and Josh.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

I was pleased when Major League Baseball decided to include the Negro Leagues as “Major Leagues” and merge their statistics together. In this poem Satchel refers to Satchel Paige. Buck refers to Buck Leonard. And Josh refers to Josh Gibson.

Pestered

I was bathed
by the tidal rush.

As the water troughed
between waves

something
clung to my hair.

My eyes
refused to look

at what my hand
felt damply

in case it was
a star

fallen elsewhere
into the sea

and just now
washed

upon my head
mistakenly

believing I was
an astronomer

and knew its place
back in the

heavens
day or night.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Thinking Before I Speak

At a loss for words
my tongue clicks against
the roof of my mouth.

What do I say
so the moon takes human form
and visits for a time.

What would I say
to all those who expectantly look up
to see the starry void instead.

It would take a life time or two
to speak three billion apologies
in person.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Drowning

Paul’s granite expression
spoke volumes of crows
to the pentecostal lines
queued for their dunking.

Interrupted by a plume
of cigarette smoke
his cough coincided
with an earthly tremor.

The faithful thus shaken
took a step back from the plunge
to see if the crows smoldered
then burst into flame.

A few questioned
their stone tablet impressions
and the weight those slabs placed
upon their shoulders.

A gargoyle channeled the river to mud
and ended hope for many
unaware that a few of them
would not have resurfaced if submerged.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Abstract

I looked for Paul under the nautilus shell.
It was one of his favorite hiding places
when he felt the gods were upset with him.

My second thought was the bar
where the cocktail waitresses dressed like angels
with the false promise of falling.

That failing I tried the bushes
where the white-crowed sparrows liked to gather
and discuss bird feeder banquets.

Then I remembered it was Saturday afternoon
and a baseball game played out in the park
with bleachers brimming with uproarious little league parents.

There he was quietly stealing signs
but keeping the information to himself
instead of giving one side or the other advantage.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Into The Beyond

I no longer notice the pasture fence.
The morning sun illuminates the white horse.
The breeze carries song snippets.

A hollyhock bloom chewed and swallowed
provides strange clarity.
My body’s edges fail to retain definition.

Fragments of reprieve.
A broken butterfly on the ground.
One wing perfect.

Clear sky shudders its lack of rain.
A muted promise.
A dry expressionless blue.

The white horse takes a carrot from my hand.
Relaxed meditative inertia.
A second carrot. No sticks.

Beyond the sky. Invisible.
Planets spin their courses and trajectories.
Sunna’s hold on them unbreakable.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney