Traffic Stop

In the clumsy countryside
bicyclists fell at one of twenty four speeds.

Unaware of this I traveled cross-country
on my Trek manufactured in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

I got confused by the lack of street signs
and turned into a long silence.

This disorientation landed me in front
of a cafe where angels roosted on the roof.

One of them served me tea.
She spilled a few drops on the wing-swept floor.

Before I ordered eggs over easy
she reminded me when she flies high

all of us bicyclists look like insects
navigating asphalt ribbon.

She put her foot down for emphasis
and I decided not to think out loud.

The syrup amplified the hotcakes
to the point where I could not hear the bacon sizzle.

The angel followed me outside from the register
and jerked my handlebars up to a thirty degree angle

so I might clear the unexplained and inexplicable divide
filled with betrayals of love.

I pedal into the sky rising like a moth
thinking the sun is as close as a street lamp.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Left Him Alone While It Rained

Paul sat at a cafe table.
A sign stood on his table with the words
Arguments five dollars.

He played to his strength
since he was not good at reading
tarot or palms.

Business was not brisk.
In fact a cafe patron took pity on him
and brought him a burger with fries.

Paul looked her square in the eye
and said he asked for ham and Swiss
on pumpernickel with chips and a dill pickle.

The woman walked away in huff.
She failed to read the fine print on the sign
that said he accepted barter.

Paul would have added Coke no Pepsi
in quasi-honor to John Belushi
but the woman had brought him a ginger ale.

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