Paul forgot to erase his browser history.
Forgot is a strategic word.

Lori found his porn searches.
He knew she would.

Those porn searches were bookended
by poetry and civil war URLs.

She did not know he liked Sekou Sundiata
and had signed up for black powder rifle lessons.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Each June Twenty-Third

I waved a gun around last night
like four years of war
were finally declared over
and we had won.

I jabbed it in the air many times
without the bayonet
as if to punctuate my joy
which I lost at some camp ground.

I did not fire the gun in celebration.
That would have taken
twenty to thirty seconds of preparation
for the peculiar bang of it.

No one saw this repeated celebration.
The back yard was cloaked with trees.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


On June 23, 1865 Confederate General Stand Watie surrendered at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation (now Oklahoma) which ended the American Civil War more than two months after Appomattox.

Procession of Taillights as I Neared Bentonville

I drove the Ozarks
along the old Telegraph Road.

The telegraph poles
were replaced by telephone poles.

I am not sure of the difference
but there must be one.

It’s path was laid over the path
Native Americans used to take.

They followed the buffalo
who made the original path.

I followed the route south
by Curtis’s troops during the Civil War.

I wished to see
if the land repaired itself

after two long days
of so much dismemberment

at the hands of men
wielding black powder weapons.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

My Mess

Douglas stands on an address book.
Javi on a backup drive.

Telehealth guidelines and procedures
are spread on table top

like newspaper
at the bottom of a parakeet cage.

There are rules for black powder weapons
in this house, this poetarium.

There are rules to establish order
in five hundred civil war books.

The Lord’s Prayer.
There is no spoon.

Bulletinboard material
like business cards

and certifications of appreciation
for long term donors.

Poems stored in manuscript boxes
marked by year

litter the floor and shelves
along with three-ring binders

waiting their turn
to be full again.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Douglas is a toy stuffed animal elk.

Javi is a toy stuffed animal javelina.

A poetarium is a artist studio for poets.

In this case The Lord’s Prayer is a poem by Tani Arness

Veil of Open Mouths

Paul collected our exhaled breath
in burlap bags
but refused to state his intention.

I did not think it contained
any ingredient pertinent
to the production of black powder.

He once collected spoken words
from every earthly tongue
placed them in a blender
to create a universal language.

No mattered how he filtered the mix
stale tobacco and garlic
left a sour taste in the mouth when spoken.

Lori suggested carbon capture
to create some airy darkness
that might produce thunder and rain.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney