Warriors

I painted my enemies’ feet
my favorite shade of blue.
The blue harkened to the Celts and Scots of yore.
Pantone three-o-one-five-C.

This act earned me a swift kick.
Painting my enemies’ feet blue
was meant to immobilize them
so I could speak to them without fear.

I feared they would attack.
I feared they would run away.
I should have picked red.
Stop sign red.

My goal was to build a foundation of trust
so we could set down our weapons.
We had many weapons.
Every imaginable type of weapon.

We even turned tools into weapons.
I suggested we turn them back into tools.
They feared my fire was
part of a smoke and mirror scheme.

It was really passion, but they knew passion
mostly through their hatred.
I talked to them until they were blue in the face.
I mean, I took up all the oxygen in the room.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bearing

I think about leaving.
as I sit against a witness tree.
It is all about staying.
It is all about this beloved earth.

I sing time into a fog.
I feel memory unwrap from my being.
As I waft away from gravity
I know memory is the tether that holds me here.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Countryside

I have a fist full of anger.
But I cannot aim it at Trump
or his enablers.

What ever I pick up to do
the anger contaminates the task
no matter how much I think I have let it go.

I tried washing my hands with soap and water.
I tried washing my hands with turpentine.
I tried rubbing some dirt into my palms.

I picked up a flattened stone
and wrote Anger on it
then skipped it across a lake’s surface.

All I accomplished was for my anger
to ripple across the lake
and out through the countryside.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

All The Same Size

I lived in a line.
It was sequential.
There were no do-overs.
I tried a do-under, but that didn’t work either.
Tradition made the line a little less visible.
Singing turned the line into a landscape.

Memory made copies
of small line segments.

I could sort them last in first out.
I could sort them first in first out.
I could create a totally random access.
Like a deck of cards, I threw them
and picked them up one by one.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Reversion

The boss calls a meeting.
A semaphore signals the agenda.
By entering the office you turn into your favorite animal.
The Type A predators feast upon their coworkers.
Nothing different really.

A tiger picks its teeth with a protracted claw.
It expects productivity to continue by the consumed.
It pads the hallways between workstations.
It growls the word Synergy the whole while.
It finds an orangutan to be shepherd.

The orangutan chants motivational coffee cup sayings.
It plays shell corporation games with styrofoam cups.
It creates a football betting pool to boost morale.
It draws a supply-demand-price curve on a white board.
The orangutan picks roaches out of day old coffee and eats them.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Star Spangled Tie

Exposed sky covers itself with clouds.
Extreme extinction endlessly on the cusp.

Make no mistake when cooing.
Make no swallows of ginkgo-numeric tea.

The barn awaits a clean sweep.
The barn stores folk songs in the loft.

Unimaginable pain fleets an uncertain future.
Unrequited pain finds a bar and orders.

I understand you meant your other Yes.
I depend upon the impossibility of your No.

No ticker-tape rains on our parade.
No jazz to twist into balloons over our heads.

Sequined words sewn on a poem sparkle.
Shoulder blade cuts steak into bitesized pieces.

This morning will return in March reruns.
This evening bruises all the good girls and boys.

God’s plan, all in tatters, drifts on streets as litter.
God’s trinity is boycotted as a good ol’ boys club.

I create a suit to clothe your needs.
I tattoo a star spangled tie to your chest.


Copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

This poem is a fancy made from word play and stream of consciousness. If you find a deeper meaning to it, please educate me with a comment.

Point Where Two Curves Meet

I cannot see my grandparents.
I thought they would wait for me
on the cusp of the apocalypse.

Maybe they are there
but I do not recognize them.

Maybe I do not see them
because I never knew what they looked like.
There were no photographs.

I look around for Mom and Dad.
No bickering, so they are not around.

Maybe this darkness with an edge
is not the apocalypse after all.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

It was only after my parents’ death that I learned of a photo album that contained images of my grandparents. I was born after three of them had passed away. I knew my paternal grandfather briefly with only one clear memory of him sitting in a chair in our house at Christmas when I was five years old.

I do not know a way of measuring the effect of having or not having grandparents in your life, how their presences shapes you, and so on. Also I do not know how to measure how their loss affected my parents’ (or anyone’s parents’) attitudes and practices in raising children.

My guess is, through lack of knowing my grandparents, I failed to appreciate family history, the farm, the immigrant experience and how it shaped the family. Simply put, I never got to hear them tell the stories of their lives.

Dianne walked in and wants to hang out. And our brief conversation that initiated hanging out knocked the thoughts I was leading to out of my brain. So If any of you have a thought about the previous three paragraphs, please leave a comment.

Love & Light.

Kenneth