I Started Dying a Long Time Ago But I am a Slow Learner

Since I reached puberty
Doctors spoke to me more about
tombstones rather than medicine.

They suggested something simple
like the white marble of Arlington
instead of angelic statuary.

Others suggested fire.
I think those doctors wished to destroy
the chemical footprint

they placed in my body
with copious prescriptions
that had little to no effect.

I have been dying since
four-fifty-one when I started writing this
but in tiny increments

that delay the inevitable
and provide me an opportunity
to sell one investment or another

to purchase a plane ticket to Hawaii
for some tropical sun and a chance
for you to practice your grieving all alone.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


All the birds singing
in Paul’s breath
blur the love poems
as he reads
at open mic.

How they got there
has something to do
with swallowing miller moths
attracted to his porch light
at dusk.

At his last checkup
the doctor
placed a tongue depressor
in his mouth
for a better look at his tonsils

and saw
a lesser gold finch
poke its head
up his throat
and sweetly call tee-woo.

Paul notices
all the birds go silent
when he thinks
a sparrow hawk glides
on thermals about his head.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


On the third day
of my cut hand
bleeding through
the butterflies and bandages
I gave in to the notion
of doctors and stitches
and made a phone call
for an appointment
only to learn
there are no appointments
available for three full months
and without insurance
I must pay
five hundred dollars up front
with the caveat
that if it is a real emergency
I should go straight
to the emergency room
where they will bill me
at a future date
but that will not make it
any more affordable
so I plan to visit
the hardware store
for some Super Glue
after a memory-jog
replays Vietnam War medics
used it as a stop-gap
to get the wounded
to the field hospitals.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Do No Harm

Of the last four people I know who had hospital surgeries,
three of them died from post-op complications.

Those types of statistics prejudice me against health care.
You know. The cure is more deadly than the disease.

I blame it on small specialized boxes
and an inability of doctors to think outside of those boxes.

I blame it on the healthcare industrial state
and beancounters desperate to insure six figure paychecks.

I blame it on health insurance companies
because it is easy to label them the Judas Goat.

Last month was the date for my annual physical.
I found no reason to go.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney