Glow

The trick is
to hold out your hand
and convince
a cluster
of carbon-dioxide
molecules
to dance
upon your palm
which will
produce a white light
while you stand
perfectly still—
static—
and it will last
as long as you
keep the molecules
excited.

So do this trick
in the nude
and exhale
deep breaths
onto your palm
as if you blow
a kiss
across the room.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Brushmanship

I miss handmade paper.
The irregularity of sheet thickness and texture.

How a brush is a better tool for applying ink
than a stylist or nib.

Think the word brushmanship.
Think Chinese or Japanese characters for example.

Forget the Greeks with their stone carved alphabet
all jammed together on a line.

Or the Norse for that matter.
Or cuneiform triangles pressed in clay.

On my last sheet I wrote a letter to my beloved
and pressed flower petals into the fibers.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

School Bus Zone

Thirty small children
in blue wool coats
rank and file
march into school
first day
of September
post Labor Day
heads full
of Summer’s last
memories
while leaves
remain green
before the change
as if orange
should be a color
that announces
school’s resumption
as if orange
announces
the construction zone
for building young minds.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Restoration

Dora places
bright orange
construction cones
around our
love seat
as we initiate
the project
of building intimacy
but refurbishing
may be a better word
since we have
been together
fourteen years.
Lovely years
interspersed
with flareups
over silly things
like my ragged
flannel shirt
or her coffee mug
with the broken handle.
And serious things
like my resolving PTSD
and her releasing
codependency.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Fever Dream

I learned Latin yesterday
and promptly forgot everything I learned.

I watched two biopics on Hemingway
and failed to understand the literary reverence.

Maybe it was the forgetting as with Latin.
That was last Tuesday.

Hopefully not the last Tuesday ever.
No. Not the last Tuesday but the penultimate.

I suppose I suffer some hard to pronounce disease
delivered by mosquitos.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Gnostics Have These Answers

Why do second-hands sweep?
Time is no cleaner for all their effort.

In which case I am glad they do not sweep up memory
so I recognize my beloved when I see her.

The night fills with dark.
But it is the absence of light that makes it so.

Not that the light is absent.
It is blocked by the earth’s rotation.

Like when my beloved turns her face from mine
and I cannot see her smile.

When I am at a loss for words
I have plenty of words at hand ready for use.

But all those words seem to be
the wrong thing to say under the circumstance.

Why are my words at hand?
It is not like I ramrod them in my mouth

like the barrel of a muzzleloading musket
before firing away.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Translucent

I stand
facing the window
with a faint image
of a full length mirror
on the wall behind me
existing in
the window’s reflectivity.

I see
the glassy image
of my bare backside
imposed over
all the nature
my front yard
supports.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

FaceTime

Oceans are blind.
Telephone lines are deaf and dumb.

At the bottom of the ocean
lies ten thousand miles of transoceanic cables.

Text message threads.
Voice message threads.

Compressed image binary data bundles
decompress on transoceanic screens.

My new niece’s baby face
appears on my phone in Albuquerque

all the way from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
Apple of my eye.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Repair

I placed my goal
in a vow
of silence
that should last
at least
three years
so the air
would have time
to heal
from my
violent rhetoric
in our last
stupid fight
over the date
Constantinople
changed its name
to Istanbul.
Which was
nineteen-thirty.
A date
neither of us
had right.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Outside Port Angeles

Snow falls on the ocean
and approaches the cedars on land.

The mud at the side of a stream
that enters the ocean hardens by freeze.

Deer birds big cats hide themselves
as the fall thickens, speckles my line of sight.

I brought you here
into these ancient woods

under these conditions
thinking it might change you.

Foolish me.
But not disappointed

at your requests to go home
and make hot chocolate

for a seat by the hearth
to watch the dancing flames.

The snow collects on your long hair
scarf and shoulders.

I appreciate such beauty
and your bothered brown eyes.

You call out to our dog Home!
so she would know

we turned around
even though she was out of sight

bounding though the trees after a rabbit
not letting any snow collect on her back.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney