Fluorescent Screams

So many people translate
the english language into outrage
without really hearing
any of the words
or parsing for meanings
other than what they know
a statement must mean.

When house cats are used
as suicide bombers
it will proves the new Visigoths
are bloodying the earth
with roman stones
and burned law books
releasing those tying straps
to feline torsos.

The new Buddha
sits under a piñon tree.
He listens to the magpies’ chorus
while eating peaches.
And wild horses struggle,
skin rib-bone stretched
and salt-crusted nostrils
seek water.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Remind Me

Paul wore a red and yellow striped fish upon his head.
It was once a paper mâché piñata.

He wore it on morning-afters when his head throbbed
as if it were hit many times by bat swinging kids.

He wore it to signal his friends to be wary,
since his tolerance was infinitely shorter than infinite.

When Paul entered the cafe, they knew from the fish
to bring him coffee before he ordered.

In this state of mind he feared the giant hedgehog,
Spiny Norman, but conceded he might be

placed outside of a Monty Python sketch, then wondered
if he needed to wear pearl earrings and a dowdy frock

to be his best at a cafe breakfast
of scrambled eggs and a double chocolate cake slice.

Paul wore a red and yellow striped fish upon his head.
He asked people for the name of Dudley Do-Right’s horse.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora dressed up
as the Easter Bunny
to greet the plumber
on the theory
colored eggs
blocked the pipes
even though
it is a drought
ridden August day
and no rain dancer
ever wore
long pink ears
or hopped up
and down
turning this way
and that
distant cracks
of thunder.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

July Fourth

Fireworks started
popping off
each night
near sundown
in our neighborhood
from mid June
and kept up
well into August.

Early morning
when it was quiet
Dora drank
her coffee
out on the porch
entertained by
the thrashers
doing their back
and forth
feeding fledglings.

By seven-thirty
at the latest
I bicycled
a fifteen mile
loop to beat
the summer heat
and viewed
the burnt asphalt
and expended
from the previous
night’s colorful
of the lower sky.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Okay. It is past the Fourth of July. But on 25 August fireworks woke me from sound sleep as a neighbor or neighborhood teens set them off. I find I am willing to put up with a couple days of fire works explosions around the fourth, but not past Bastille Day at the latest. Unfortunately, the police have proved unable to enforce any ordinances against fireworks or excessive noise (short-term mobile noise).

Enough whining.

Love & Light.


Good Morning Work

Be patient with me
on my first day
returned from
the hospital,
so we may renew
our old acquaintance
to the applause
of mechanical clicks
and clacks
as machines
start up the next run
of two color
printed handbills
that some
band groupie
will staple
to every
telephone pole
on the trendy
east side.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Alternative Telling

At the inn,
Joseph and Mary
held white handkerchiefs
over their noses,
thus insulted
the crowded room
of farmers
and laborers.

I have a memory
of standing
with a clay pot
in my hand
and drinking
Egyptian beer,
knowing I was
bodily unclean
with sweat and dust
from a long day
shaping stone.

How silent the room became
as all eyes turned
to the newcomers.
We listened
as the innkeeper
sent them to the manger
to sleep with the animals
even though
there would be room enough
for the couple inside,
once we workers headed
for our homes.

Where were
the lord’s angels
with their trumpets
to blow down
the walls created
by our cold shoulders
while the innkeeper
cleared away empties
and tabulated
Ps & Qs?

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Long Shot

Data shows
the chances of
asteroid 2018VP1
hitting our planet
on November second
is less than
half a percentage point.

Even if it did hit earth
the asteroid
is way too small
to cause Armageddon.
It is measured
at one-tenth the size
of the Chelyabinsk meteor
that generated
a bright airburst flash
which sent a shockwave
through the region,
injuring about
fifteen hundred people
and damaging
seventy-two hundred buildings
in Twenty-thirteen.

I will check
the Vegas odds
on asteroid 2018VP1
hitting Albuquerque
so I may place
a fat wager,
payable upon impact,
to my State of Franklin
friend Beth.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Draft Day

Leon died in the middle of analyzing stats
before making his next fantasy baseball selection.

The pigeons at his window did not notice.
The people on the street did not notice, either.

He had created many pages sorted by position.
He had ranked each player.

Some of the players were crossed out in pencil.
Others were circled in blue ink.

There was an asterisk beside Mad Bum.
There was an em-dash into the margin by Anthony Rizzo.

The maid found him slumped over his desk.
His laptop computer open to a draft webpage.

She knew better than to clean his study.
Or straighten his papers with rows of numbers.

A number of instant messages prompted him
to make his next pick.

The top message informed him he timed out
and lost the pick for that round.

An email waited in his inbox informing him
he had been disqualified from the league

for not completing the draft
and his entry fee would not be refunded.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Horace Greeley

Paul lived with his girlfriend
until she brought home
a dancer statuette with a clock belly.

Its proximity prevented Paul
from painting, writing poetry,
and fielding hot grounders at shortstop.

He ate a bucket of fried chicken
and used the leftover drumsticks
to remove the clock’s unwholesome aura.

He tapped on the statuette
with the bones until he worked up a sweat,
but to no effect.

After the two of them dropped dumplings
fumbling around with chopsticks,
he decided it was time to go.

Paul was sure an unwritten rule applied
that allowed him to not be home
when she returned from work Tuesday evening.

He packed while she processed
insurance claims for incidental auto damage
such as a grocery carts rolling into front grills.

Even though he paid for the bathroom digital scale
he left it behind.
His copy of Hirshfield’s After he left behind by mistake.

Upon arriving at his friend’s to couch surf,
he noticed a total lack of trees and grass
at the apartment complex.

He decided to think this over with a couple beers.
On his way to the bar he passed speed radar
that flashed thirty-seven, his lucky number.

He never stopped for the beer.
He pulled onto the interstate instead,
blasted Bat for Lashes and headed west.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


When Paul first woke
he was pretty sure he only dreamed he woke.

He realized he truly woke
by rolling over and looking out the window.

The thrashers fed their young in the nest.
He rolled back over to face his girlfriend.

Her side of the bed was empty.
Paul realized he had no one left to support.

His memories of that wretched moment
told three totally different stories.

The back of his mind stated all of them were sick lies.
Paul sat up and his head swirled.

He looked out the window
to a vacant spot in the driveway.

There was a map he needs in the glove compartment!
But there was a rip in the driveway where the car should be.

So the car needed mending.
Or was it his memory of the car that needed mending.

In the bathroom mirror a bandage covered his forehead.
Removing it revealed a long gash and seventeen stitches.

A false nurse appeared by his bed.
A real nurse appeared in his false room.

The thrashers were gone.
A glaring light daggered his brain.

Paul reclined in the bed and returned to sleep,
so he might wake from a different dream.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney