I take a baseball and toss it as high as I can.
My toss fails to puncture a cloud.

My hands fail to catch the ball when it returns to earth.
The ball’s white hide is now grass-stained.

I determine to practice until a throw punctures a cloud.
I require a great deal of practice.

A crowd gathers to watch my tosses.
No one interferes and some cheer me on.

The cheers apply to good tosses.
Ones that come really close to the clouds.

The crowd enlarges and people at the outer edge
are not quite sure why they are here.

Nor can they see me toss the ball
even though they do see the ball go up and up and up.

The fringe of the crowd starts drumming and dancing
which diverts part of my crowd to become their crowd.

Other parts of the fringe play music on instruments
while others startup rope-skipping competitions.

So the crowd’s attention is now split seven ways to Sunday
but it is Tuesday and the saying fails.

On my eleventy-twenty-third toss I hit a cloud
but do not puncture it as planned.

I think the cloud took pity on my tiring arm
and lowered itself.

Though it may have wanted a closer look
at the drummers, dancers, rope-skippers, and crowd.

The cloud rains just a little. Not much.
But enough to dampen a square inch of each shirt in the crowd.

We continued until it is nearly suppertime
when everyone disperses.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Holding The Door Open

Even though Paul requested a seat
at the counter, the hostess
lead him to a corner table
and ignored him
when he spoke up a second time.

The corner was the corner
farthest from the door
and shadowed
so the crowds of young
men and women
probably would not notice him.

He took out a sketchbook and pencil
and wrote lines and lines in it
that might eventually be arranged
and rearranged into poems
or prose poems.

Paul immediately discarded the idea
of imagining all the young people naked.
Instead he attempted to discern
their particular behavior
if they attended a dinner hosted by Buñuel.

Their own aged version of Benjamin Button.
What skeletons hid in their closets.
Who each would invite to their ideal dinner party.
And, last, what it was about this place
that compelled them to arrive and leave repeatedly.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I thought I was home.
I was in the arctic.

I climbed out of my father
and left his body upon the ice.

The relative temperature felt the same
against bare skin.

I mean I left behind his behaviors I learned
through childhood observation.

I mean I never want my hand
to make a fist to teach a lesson.

Not even to punch a hole
through the darkness in search of light.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Against The Wall

Our poetry group
allows a class of psych majors
to observe us
as we undertake writing exercises
and read first drafts to each other
for critical review.

One doctor sharpens
2B pencils
to be helpful
oblivious to the fact
all of us write in ink.

They stand witness
of the altered behavior
caused by their viewing.

We are accustomed
to writing poetry in crowded cafes.
Given a few minutes
we tune them out
and return to our normal behavior.

The session concludes
in a surprise birthday song
with cake & candles for Joanne.
The doctors reappear
from where ever it was
we vanished them to
and they partake
at Joanne’s insistence.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney