Street noises pierce the open window screen.
Bird songs punctuate engine grind.
A centuries old bronze bell rings the faithful to church.

Paul plays an Irish tin whistle.
His breaths and stops.
The barely discernible tap of his fingers upon the holes.

Rain falls on the mountain top too far away to be heard.
And so the cloud pushing wind.
And the vibration of sun rays heating the atmosphere.

The pump of blood thumps arteries and veins.
Run-on thoughts bang the brainpan.
A stirring of fiction for self-amusement.

The footsteps of ghosts upon the carpet.
The call of the wild for the prayer of my attendance.
The waft of the first golden leaf to fall.

The gentle slap of shoe laces as they form bows.
The creak of the chair as it ejects this body’s weight.
A mechanical rustle when the door nob turns.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora’s hands rub red
and purple sweet pea blossoms.
Oils scent her palms.
She places her hands to her face,
inhales deeply. Worry lines smooth.
She strokes her pillow case
and lies down for a nap,
fitting snuggly
into their heavenly scent.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Autodial Once A Day

As copper coins sink
into the withered eyes,
his favorite cologne stains
the simple pine box
and per his instructions
mother dials his phone number
so it rings from within his pocket
and his recorded voice speaks
greeting to the anticipated
creepy crawlies.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Artifactual Slumber Party

Annie finds herself in a room
floor to ceiling in blue tile mosaic.
An ancient emperor stares at her.
Of six scripts, she discerns six languages.
None of them a tongue she knows.
There are no doors.
Only archways opening into darkness.
Annie finds herself thinking of Dick & Jane
and apples, serpents and Genesis.
She looks up to inspect the domed ceiling.
Pizza, chocolate chip cookies,
molded Jell-o with fruit, sticks of Irish butter,
and bowls full of sweet and sour chicken
loaded with MSG descend
on clear plastic serving platters.
Annie deeply inhales the mixed aromas.
Nineteen grey burka dressed Barbie dolls
goose-step from the archway darkness,
each being pre-nineteen-sixty-five editions
of the iconic western beauty.
They play charades late into the night
snack, and share all they know about boys.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The early versions of Barbie (before 1965) did not have knee joints. So their knees did not bend. To walk, they would goose-step from here to there.

Tit For Tat

When you want your war
to be an internal affair
it is foolish to kill foreigners,
especially tourists.

But killing tourists
gets your splinter group’s name
on international media platforms
for six to twelve hours.

The explosion is not a wake up call,
but part of the grey noise
war inflicts upon participants,
blurs the We were wronged message

and you fear asking for peace talks
is a sign of weakness.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Isa enters the church each day
spends an hour on her knees,
head bowed, mouth reciting
a prayer spoken so often it is worn ragged.
Her head is humbly down.
She is face to face with the crucified Christ,
but on Wednesdays she turns to Mary
in her blue robe.
By now, Isa’s head should shimmer
with the glow of a faint golden halo.
She has put in the hours.
So many hours. She should be consecrated.
Her name and face should be posted
on the church bulletin
Parishioner of the Year.
But that could lead to pride,
a fall from grace.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


From an old faded
purple velvet
Crown Royal bag,
Dora draws Night out
and unfolds it.
For a few minutes
she spins it
on her raised fist,
then tosses it
high into the sky
and canopies
the earth with stars
to a depth unseen
and unfelt in daylight.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney