On Schedule

A girl on a bus stop bench cries and kicks her legs outward
and connects with several city transit underwriters.

The marvel is that no one offered comfort or solace.
Not even a candy bribe for the girl to desist.

If only it were a literary enterprise and not real life
with minds churning through business calculations

to leapfrog hours to lunch at an oyster bar
or the drudgery of strip club cleaning before hours.

No one thinks of a miracle or invokes God
at least not in a positive manner.

With the arrival of the bus
the girl ceases her tears and kicking.

She believes her tantrum caused it to arrive all the quicker
when actually it was exactly on time.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cruising Underwater

Today I woke to the smell
of fresh baked muffins
and the remnants of a dream
where I lassoed an orca.

It is fourteen years
since I lived on Puget Sound,
where I never took
a whale watching boat.

I remember sitting
on the heights
above Clallam Bay
watching three whales circle.

This caused me to think
about all the whales
in the earth’s oceans
I have never seen.

Who, thusly, have
not seen me
running at various speeds
along the shore.

And now I think
of all the people
I never met
who walk the world.

I did not meet
everyone who lived
on the Olympic Peninsula
during my four years there.

In fact, I have not met
any of the people
who ride the bus
I ride to work.

We stare blankly into nothingness
so no eye contact takes place
so no awkward conversations
start up.

Oh! The muffins.
They are done cooling
and Dianne hands me two
straight out of the tin.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Four AM walks past
my bus stop
as I sit on the cold green bench
awaiting the first
number fifteen of the day.

Grief litters un-mown grass
and concrete
around the bus stop
where it was left
by undone people
coming home from work.

Roadside, in the puddle,
the moon gleam
shows no sign of its craters
where a rat appears
near a grate
then scurries over to
the brimming trash bin.

Four AM circles back
in the guise of a feral cat
silently padding
through the taller grasses.
She strikes the beast
slowed down
by a partially eaten
burger with cheese.

The fifteen arrives
and I carry both
this stomach-filling victory
and family loss
into my bus ride trance,
but set it on the seat
across from me.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Before Backspacing

I ride the bus.
The number ten bus.
It does not have a bicycle rack.
I wish the bus was metaphorical.
It is as real as my wish for a car.
My cashless wish.
I cannot afford a new car.
I cannot afford a reasonable used car.
I can afford a junker.
It does not matter though.
I cannot afford auto insurance.
So I ride the bus.
Or I ride my bicycle.
Remember, the bus does not have a bicycle rack.
So I cannot combine the two sequentially.
I do combine walking and a bus ride sequentially.
I would like to walk while on the bus.
It would effectively demonstrate Einstein’s relativity theory.
The people I share the bus with do not care about Einstein.
Well, not to the best of my knowledge.
The worst of my knowledge calls everyone an ignorant boob.
And it named all the girls Veronica.
I am sure none of the girls are named Veronica.
Two women on the bus look like university students.
They talk biology and organic chemistry.
They might appreciate Einstein and my demonstration.
And Darwin on the origin of species.
But not Walt Whitman with his Leaves of Grass.
Wait. That was the worst of my knowledge speaking.
It is stupid. It is so stupid it spelled stupid stupide before backspacing.
Really. An evolved person should not call people names.
I guess I am not evolved.
I should read Darwin for Beginners.
I ride the bus, so there is time on the way home.
And the way to work.
Today is one of my two weekly days off.
I am on the way to the zoo.
I will seek Darwin lessons there.
I am sure Einstein demonstrations are there, too.
I bring Whitman along in my head
to recite to the animals.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I have never recited poems to the animals at the zoo. I have read poems from poetry books to the trees of woods I like attending. Generally those woods are away enough from populations that it was rare someone heard me reading poems to the trees.

In the 1990s I participated in guerilla poetry readings while I lived in Milwaukee. Usually the city government buildings and the downtown business center. Recite and dash.