Beautifully Intricate

Paul dumped his brain
onto his laptop computer
and allowed its superior sorting ability
to organize his thoughts
within little digital blue file folders
and subfolders
with indexes both numerical
and alphabetical.

He returned the information
into his brain, only to learn
his genetic archival structure
of neurons and their networks
strangely hurt
at the attempt to think
when it involved two experiences
brought together, compared,
and measured for probability
of success-or-failure.

Three aspirin did nothing.
Nor did a hot bath.
And now calculating a batting average
correlates to a beanball
thrown by Nolan Ryan at his best.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bargaining

I was thirteen.
I was cast as a nineteen year old.

The casting director
was my thirteen year old friend who wanted beer.

I was cast
to walk into a liquor store and purchase a six pack.

He wanted Heineken.
We had just enough money for Red White & Blue.

Yes. Red White & Blue—
a brand of beer originally brewed by Pabst.

It was very patriotic.
It saw its best sales during World War Two.

It is a dead brand now.
Current Pabst executives consider resurrecting it, but don’t.

I was cast to be a nineteen year old
because I was six feet five inches tall at thirteen.

My friend was barely five-seven
in his stocking feet.

My friend thought I would do this bit of theater
for three of the six cans.

I did this bit of theater
for his Ron Santo autographed baseball.

The liquor store clerk
never looked high enough to see my young face.

My friend and I ran into contract difficulties
while making this a recurring role.

The next time he cast me to be nineteen,
I asked for his Ernie Banks autographed baseball card.

It would have been easier
to pry St. Peter’s bones away from the Pope.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Absolution

Paul had a sudden craving
for land mines.

He thought it might be
the temporary crown the dentist planted

where his canine tooth
broke and was reshaped.

His fortune cookie suggested he learn
to suffer with dignity.

How, he wondered, was he suppose to do that
when his direct ancestor lost the garden.

He loitered in the wilderness
on a frozen meadow that stretched to the horizon.

An Arctic Fox approached him
and offered to take his confession.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

I went through the 2019 posts to this blog site, selected what I thought the best poems and created a book. Amazon Link to Book.

Roll Over

When you roll over in bed
all things become tabulated
and cease to be guesses
or assumptions.

No Marvel superhero
has this power.
No sound effects
need be added to the scene.

You roll over in bed
once each night,
thus inventory is taken
with accounting accruals and deferrals.

This is not the same
as knowing everything.
So you are not God
with omnipotent knowledge.

When you roll over in bed
the sheets pull from my body
as if you require every square inch of white
to complete your calculations.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Childhood Reenactment

My pet mice were named
Joseph and Mary.

One of the six in the litter
had to be named Jesus.

But which one that lay
on the shredded paper nest?

Our dog enacted the roles
of all the barn animals each day for treats.

Our outside motion sensor light
was the Star of Wonder.

Three house finches at the window
played the Wise Men.

Not taking us seriously,
our local youth priest mock-blessed

the liquid inside the no drip
small animal water bottle.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Post Mortem

Father’s emptiness
spilled into every corner of the house.

His emptiness evicted his feelings.
Emptiness chilled him through and through.

Our house became the house of held breath.
Our house became the house of tangible absences.

In the yard we planted a memorial tree.
Its growth rings recorded a thousand confessed remorses.

Nothing I tell father goes past his ears.
His void does not carry sound.

Mother, broom in hand, swept emptiness
to the living room and under the carpet.

The house thought it protected the world
behind hidden doors.

After a year, the emptiness was a thin layer
of ash and dust still warm from the furnace.

After a year, I answered when my parents
called me by my brother’s name.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Graduating Class

The dead passed me one night
moving single file
over a forested hillside
on a trail I thought
worn only by me.

They stopped at the spot
where I liked to look at stars
within a ring of stones
that contained no signs
a fire had ever burned there.

I noticed they wore
a variety of clothes,
many wore hospital gowns.
I guess they wore
whatever they last wore in life.

As they stood between the stones
they were asked
their destination,
in the voice of a train station agent
without a hint of judgement.

One by one they answered.
And their forms dissolved into cinders,
the types of which
I have seen emitted from
steam engine locomotives.

Once they were all departed
I mounted the knoll.
Between the crown of stones,
I found no trace of ash
nor heard any voice make inquiry.

I followed the trail back
and ducked through
the lighted doorway
into my cozy home,
where I leafed through university yearbooks.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Expansion

Thank you for wearing a face mask
as you look from the outside through the window to see me.

Thank you for the lines at the edge of your eyes
that tell the nature of your smile.

Thank you for walking my three-legged dog
while I am blighted.

Thank you for painting mountains on the window
knowing how much it heartens me to see them.

Thank you for your personal appearance
even though you could FaceTime from home.

Thank you for holding up an unrolled yard of sod
so I could be refreshed by green grass.

Thank you for playing bird songs during our conversations
so I could feel my backyard in this hospital room.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Oh! You Signed My Name

Thank you
for drawing
four hundred
and forty-one
paper penises
and sending them
to the House.
And a hundred more
you sent to the Senate.
Oh, yes, I noticed
the balls were drawn
like Turkish figs, and
you included
a wagging dog-tail
for those congressmen
and -women
whose political contortions
facilitate the gratification
of licking their own.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Two Inch Hailstones

I heard talk
that Apple’s ear buds
are set to burst
simultaneously
with enough force
to cause
dismemberment
or decapitation.

This will take place
when earthly violence
overmatches kindness
and some cloud algorithm
initiates Rapture
regardless of diverse faiths.

No matter
if this is truth
or internet rumor
the weather
will continue
to mystify
the forecasters
espousing national
and international
models.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

Hey! The Umflop blog site passed the milestone of 10,000 visits yesterday. Thank yous go out to poetry fans, poetry dabblers, keyword searchers and the misdirected for stopping by and visiting.