Your Side Of The Bed

I see you have a new
boa constrictor.

Your voice tells it
to stop crushing the elephant

decorated comforter
or you’ll put it out to the dog house.

Last year’s dandelion puffs
cloud your bathtub

in place of fragrant
bath bubbles.

This prevents you from
soaking too long

thus pruning your skin
into a bushel of peri-wrinkles.

Our dog started eating
the boa constrictor’s tail

just as the boa swallowed
our dog’s tail

in the imitation
of something mythic

I once heard you murmur
between your petite snores.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Attachment

Delphi recalls her dog
after lavender overwhelmed its senses.

The dog ran outside herself
the silver thread barely visible in moonlight.

Delphi knows the importances
of walking away from yourself to gain perspective.

Last night she swam the ether
to the international space station.

Some part of deep sleep
rewinds the soul-cord to the bodily spool.

The dog inflated its astral self
like a balloon at Albuquerque’s Fiesta.

She meant to spread herself like a kite
to catch the solar wind.

There she was the next morning
curled, tail on nose, at the foot of the bed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Pent Up

Paul let his hammer sing
through the air and crash

on two small plastic toys
that broke previously

under his boots
because he did not bother

to carry a flashlight
on this well known patch

of woods and rocks
last night after dark,

returning from watching
a cormorant at dusk

out of place
on a beaver pond

on the stream
carrying snow melt

down the unvisited
mountain top.

Paul’s dog flinched
each time the hammer struck

and little pieces flew
in all directions

for Paul to vent is rage
at turning his ankle

a deep blue-black
and swollen

after sidestepping
other might-be toys

and landing on
a tree root wrong.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trick Of Light

Tonight,
speaking for the dead,
a reflection
of a musical road
opens in the starry sky
to the sound
of rubber
on gravel.

See the split second
animal lives
as species struggle
to answer the call
of the twisted snake
inside them.

Might as well
eat both feet
up to the ankle
to form a human
Oroborus.

Tell the dog
this act
is symbolic
and she is safe
even when she hears
stomachs
jump start
the wild hunt.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Interviewing

A dog waits for the right person.
Her nose records stories.

The right person will know her name.
There will be a ball of the right size.

It will not squeak.
No squeaky toys!

The yard will house three point two squirrels.
She will keep the squirrels treed.

The person will understand her contract
prohibits killing squirrels.

As long as they stay in trees.
On the ground—fair game.

Her right person will not use her
to torment frightened people onto slave ships.

Her right person allows laborers to unionize
and drive hard, but fair bargains.

No rounding up cattle.
They have enough problems.

In a famine her right person
will share the last scrap of food with her.

She half-closes her eyes
and sniffs more stories as they walk by.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

First Thing

Paul woke up.
The remnants of a hot dog bun
littered his sheets and blankets.
He looked into the bathroom mirror
and asked, What happened?

His mirror image
launched into a long story
about his golden retriever
leaping out of an airplane,
the parachute not opening,
the impact destroying
the church steeple
and how he ate his sorrow
all hours of the night.

Paul stood slack jawed
as his mirror image
finished off the story
with gory embellishments
too terrible to hear.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

At Thirteen

My parents left the house.
They left me alone.

I am less alone than when they are present.
I will be less alone for ten days.

The dog is asleep.
We walked seven miles.

We walked that distance as a delaying tactic
so my parents would be gone

by the time the dog and I
returned to the house.

The dog gives little woofs
through her sleep.

The TV plays without sound
so the dog may sleep

with her head on my thigh
on the couch were she is forbidden.

My mind rotates through subjects
just as the TV slow motion baseball rotates

on its way to home plate
to complete its part of the pitch.

A squirrel looks in from the window.
It presses paws to glass.

It knows this is the spot
where my parents place peanuts to attract it.

This spot is adjacent to the door
that allows the dog into the yard.

When the squirrel sees I do not move
it jumps on to the bird feeder

and knocks its willy-nilly
so seed scatters on to patio stones.

The squirrel scoops up the seed.
The TV shortstop scoops up a ground ball.

A double play is turned to end the inning.
The dog repositions her sleeping head.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Outside A Small Town

On the neglected billboard
the wind created a collage
of nine previous messages.

Addictions really.
Imperatives posted
by pushers of agendas

laced with profit motive,
not love. A wandering dog stops
and sniffs the wooden pole that forms the base.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Beach or No

Paul sits at the end of a beach.
In your mind do you see him
where the water meets the sand
or where the sand meets the grass?
Or way off to the left where the rocks stand tall?
Or way off to the right by the asphalt parking lot?

I will not be surprised by your answer.
Even if you place the end smack dab in the middle of the beach.
Our perception of the end changes as the fog drifts and rises.
The wandering dog changes our perception of the end as well.

What if Paul sat on the last grains of beach sand remaining?
What if Paul sat at the end of time on a beach?
What if Paul’s dog carried a stick from the other side of the ocean?

What if time is a song with inaudible lyrics?
What if we all inaudibly sing a part in that song?

Prepare to sing inaudibly. Your time is about to begin.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney