The only way to get me
to sit through Sunday church
is for me to write myself into a story
where I sit on an old walnut pew
with red velvet cushions
and hymnals sleeved on the back
of the pew ahead of me.

And the drone of the preacher’s voice
is more like bees entering
and exiting the hive
so I can believe something sweet
will come of all this
instead of the preacher’s fire
and choking brimstone fumes
as if his finger wagged
the whole congregation
into old testament supplication.

But there I would sit
patient with poems in a binder
until the benediction
fell upon stirring feet
ready for the recessional.
And I would make my way
to the roof top
among the pigeons
and read aloud
while the bell stood firm
in its immobility
the clapper like a tongue
that lost its sway.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


I stopped meeting my friends for happy hour.
I stopped reading the news.

I ceased going to my cafe to write.
I ceased greeting people’s dogs on hiking trails.

I put an end to attending poetry readings.
I put an end to getting my palm read.

Placing book reviews on Amazon came to an end.
Knowing the future came to an end.

I swept the kitchen floor seven times today.
I washed every doorknob nine times.

I sterilized everything except for a batch of cookies.
I washed the empty beer bottles twice.

All my books are now my friends.
All my friends are yesterday’s pages in my diary.

I watched every Star Trek episode over again.
I studied an ant crawling up the shower curtain.

Hunger is disoriented and arrives at odd intervals.
Tragedy waits in the zeal of Sunday churchgoers.

My phone is painful to hold when it rings.
Uncontrollable shivers rattle my bones from time to time.

I attempt to learn the subtle meanings
of my dog’s various woofs.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney