Broken Helmet

My blood left my body
without my leave.

Three powers acted against my good will:
my pumping heart

gravity’s pull on my unbalanced bicycle
and the gash in my broken nose.

Blood did not gush
but dripped dripped dripped like a leaky faucet.

My nose screamed endlessly.
My mouth did not cooperate to give my nose voice.

Exposed to the air
my blood became oxygen rich.

Exposed to the sun
while pooling on the ground

my blood separated
into plasma and cell platelets.

My blood clotted quicker on the ground
than on my broken nose.

The blood freed from the tyranny of my body
sang jubilee and liberation.

Its songs were so beautiful
I asked my blood to sing at my funeral.

The EMTs hearing my muttered request
assured me I was not going to die.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


On 14 May 2021 I had a bicycle mishap and broke my nose while the ground gashed my nose open. The first person to come toward me in aid, blanched upon seeing me and got others to help. I did not realize how much blood was on my face, arm and ground when I waved to get their attention. After 4 hours in the ER, I was sent home. Taking a Lyft ride home (during Covid) from the ER is surreal. Technically my nose is healed, but still tender where my glasses press on it. My broken bicycle helmet is replaced and I am bicycling again and past the jitters.


When Paul first woke
he was pretty sure he only dreamed he woke.

He realized he truly woke
by rolling over and looking out the window.

The thrashers fed their young in the nest.
He rolled back over to face his girlfriend.

Her side of the bed was empty.
Paul realized he had no one left to support.

His memories of that wretched moment
told three totally different stories.

The back of his mind stated all of them were sick lies.
Paul sat up and his head swirled.

He looked out the window
to a vacant spot in the driveway.

There was a map he needs in the glove compartment!
But there was a rip in the driveway where the car should be.

So the car needed mending.
Or was it his memory of the car that needed mending.

In the bathroom mirror a bandage covered his forehead.
Removing it revealed a long gash and seventeen stitches.

A false nurse appeared by his bed.
A real nurse appeared in his false room.

The thrashers were gone.
A glaring light daggered his brain.

Paul reclined in the bed and returned to sleep,
so he might wake from a different dream.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Uneven Even

Paul trips on an uneven sidewalk.
Pigeons startle and Scatter.
Instead of hitting the mirror they enter it.

There is no logical reason for a mirror
to be standing in the park.
It is obliged to be an art installation.

Paul looks straight into the mirror
and sees an American Girl Doll.
Obliquely he sees a dancing Fabergé egg.

Paul searches the area for cameras,
technology and special effects devices,
but he locates only a little girl’s giggle.

A janitor in overalls
collects scraps of litter and the mirror.
He wheels his cart away, wherever away is.

Lastly, Paul examines a hole in the ground.
where the grass is thick and thinned.
He lies down and inspects the rabbit tracks leading in.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


In this poem I am trying to capture a trip and fall that leads to a concussion and passing out on the ground.

The worst concussion I suffered in my life left a two week long blank spot on my memory. It happened at university when a flag football game became a bit rough. During that two week blankness I was told I functioned around campus normally to the point of not missing a single class and getting a B+ on a calculus test. Over the years snippets of that time period have surfaced, but not much.

In the most recent concussion I received (a bicycle wipe out where my helmet and head hit the street curb) I remember this mirror-like silver sheet of light forming in front of my face for an undetermined amount of time. I assume that marks the moment my head connected with the concrete and the seconds or minutes afterward.

Since I am a surrealist at heart that may explain some of the fantastical images that I saw during the early moments of each of the five concussions I have received during my adult life. Why I remember these images when I do not remember other details is a mystery to me.

Since concussions are nasty things to live through, I suggest you avoid them. I understand they are part of the risk of living an athletic and/or adventurous life. So you will decide for yourself how often you put your head in harms way. If you do receive one, err on the side of caution on how quickly you return to active sports and adventures.

Love & Light