Eyes Lowered from the Sun

Paul opens up at night.
Closes in day.

He thinks his lies are white.
They are darkening shades of gray.

Only after sex does he reveal himself.
It is when he is willing to study his nature.

He thinks his fake and stoic facade
is enough for the world.

He slavishly believes he is better than he is.
He is blind to his privilege.

Paul does say please and thank you—
it expedites future transactions.

He judges his appearance as good
only on the darkest night.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Blown Up

Paul pressed his eye
to the barrel
of a microscope
and sought a trigger
to first-person-shooter kill
viruses in his body.

Another day
he placed a fibrous page
of the bible
under the same scrutiny
in his search for god
through the not-so-black
hole of a period
at the end of a psalm.

When he examined
his finger
and through the skin
saw red blood cells
moving like
red coats toward Lexington
he had to decide
whether to remain loyal
to King George
or assemble at Concord.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Meeting Engagement

Lori never knew me.
I made her up for poems.
For men to fight over like the Greek Helen.

Sometimes in the dark of night
she walks around
seeking a bridge over the canyon.

Lori does not understand
the rift in her earth
or that it mirrors the Taos gorge.

To date no men have fought over her.
Though, the ones she dates
fight with her regularly.

It has something to do with her
calling them cowards
for not appreciating her independence.

Lori sits at the edge of the rift
and looks down nine hundred feet
to the silvery strand of river.

Instead of a thousand ships launched
she would prefer a thousand engineers
building her that bridge.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lack of Consent

A man trades two slaves for a horse.
I do not have to tell you about his Mississippi accent.

I do need to relate to you that he asked not one question
about how the receiver of the two slaves
would treat them

while the man with the horse sought assurances
the horse would be treated well.

We never think of a horse or a cow as a slave.
Or whether our treatment of them
will affect our entry into the kingdom of heaven.

The owners who argued slaves were livestock property
never stood trial for the crime of bestiality
no matter the numbers of mulatto children underfoot.

Or were arrested and tried for rape
for those owners who argued slaves were merely lesser people.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Flying Star 15 Aug 22

Old men type texts on their smart phones
with one finger and no emojis.

A middle aged woman slices her eggs
with knife and fork.

All but one of the laptops are Macs.
Most of the coffee is diluted with cream and sugar.

From the Quick Fix station
Dean gets a scoop of ice cream in a coffee cup.

Twelve indoor tables are empty—three full.
Twelve outdoor tables are full—three empty.

For the fifth time in ten minutes a person
pushes on a glass door that does not open.

Two young women use the cafe as their office—
write code on screens that look similar to 1980s DOS.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dreams in a Foreign Language

Lori has no beauty mark on her face
but feels beautiful anyway.

She dyes her hair blue, emulates Clementine
in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Lori would use Aladdin’s magical lamp’s wish
to banish porn from the internet.

She studies an old west photo book
of buffalo herds before they were decimated.

Lori refuses to ride in a man’s car
on the first three dates.

She thinks the door to salvation might reveal itself
watching orcas on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Lori considers the paradox that she
must lose her tongue to find her voice.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul’s dreams focused on the olfactory.
Unknown smells of obscure origins.
Smoke infused with grief.
Wet metal of a bell awaiting the call to prayer.

He recalled being five years old
and pushing a feather up his nose.
His first day In kindergarten
it was crayons.

At Sunday school the teachers
never brought in frankincense or myrrh
for them to scratch and sniff.
He never determined if his newborn brother was special.

Paul used his nose to detect Death’s approach
and managed to sidestep each grasp
before the boney hand
landed upon his shoulder.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Paul Juggled Halal and Kosher

He examined them for differences
as they spun through the air before his face.

Part of his kitchen trick was to then insert
keto and vegan into the rotating circle.

It is not like his hands could tell his tongue
the differences in spiritual weight

or if God actually infused such meanings
into the preparation of food.

It is hard to say what conditions took place
to form these popular movements when they took hold.

He wondered if each word represented
a form of monetary interest garnered by the founders.

Preparing food to fit a prescribed set of limitations
felt like prayer to his hands

as he added a little turmeric and saffron
to the olive oil in the heating pan.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Scientific American

A photon circled Delphi’s head.
Skull encased brain displayed hydrogen’s atomic structure.

Due to its orbital speed
the photon appeared to be a halo.

This caused her gynecologist some reluctance
to give Delphi an exam.

She read an old Scientific American
with legs spread, feet inserted in the stirrups.

Her mind projected images of t-rex on the white walls
along with Mesozoic foliage.

The gynecologist never met the dinosaur’s gaze
afraid it would step off the wall.

The exam room warmed significantly
as a meteor entered the atmosphere igniting.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul does not look to where he came from.
It has disappeared into the past.
The past is but a memory.
And memories change with each visitation.

He watches the news at night
only to have his brain cavity fill with blood
and the lines of victims queued
to tell their survivor stories.

Paul sees pupils sitting in a classroom.
They are present to improve their English—
to initiate the English language on their tongues
and struggle with unfamiliar syllables.

All those many old languages fall into the past
except at home with old country parents
who refuse to change though they initiated the change
approaching the promise of a flag and voice in government.

Paul sees on their skin the violence of the old country.
Scars that report blood once spilled into familial eyes.
Hands that must unlearn a culture departed.
Customs that change slightly with each visitation.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney