Unnecessary

Dog chasing cat movies
went viral.

The cats sprinted up trees
to escape.

This was repeated
by differing species all over the world.

In thousands of postings
with billions of views.

A thousand million people
worry about the cat.

How the cat will get out of the tree.
Thus home.

No smart-phone documentarian
has yet filmed

a dead cat in a tree.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Back Home on a Shelf

Paul sat writing haiku
wreathed in mist
among the cedars.

His haiku
were little poems
avoiding convention.

His dog Whisper
snuffled about
interested in a stray wine glass.

Paul decided
the fluted glass
was meant for champagne.

He imagined
forest mice getting drunk
on its contents.

Tipsy mice
vanish quickly
in owl talons.

Whisper licked
pine needles coated
with flattened bubbles.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Inspiration

It use to be I got inspired to write poems
while walking four to ten miles on the mountain.

If my dogs accompanied me, I got less inspiration
because I minded them instead of inspiration.

It was not that my dogs were not inspiring
but I was sick of writing dog poem variations.

I did find positive feedback from poetry readings
brought out the desire in me to write more popular poems.

But then I wrote poems from that part of my head
that wanted to write positive feedback poems

and it pandered to the likes and dislikes of the audience
instead of writing from the heart.

My heart was happy I walked four
to ten miles on the mountain each day

since that kept my heart in good shape
and it beat without obstruction.

My beating heart did not care if I wrote poems or not.
I liked it when the dogs came along because my heart beat lighter.

During my walks on the mountain
I paid less attention to the mountain

than to my recent human interactions
especially if they involved love or the lust form of love.

The mountain and the mountain forests
did not feel ignored by my inattention to them.

Occasionally I was so lost in replay of an interaction
I tripped and fell due to inattention to the mountain.

My falls did not bang poems out of my head.
Though they banged a poem or two into my scraped hands for typing.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Underlying All Molecules

The revisionists got hold of the bible
and started a rewrite with Genesis.
They extended it to include evidence
of evolution and carbon-fourteen dating.

They dumped the begat chapter.

They created one hundred and seventy-two
synchronistic Abrahams
one each in the different cultures of the world
founding a religion as best each Abraham understood.

God did not order anyone to sacrifice a child.

The revisionists used two different fonts.
One for metaphorical verses.
One for literal verses.
They did not consider colored ink due to expense.

They did not include Jesus.

The revisionists made God
able to communicate with everyone at a heartfelt level
so that a savior was unnecessary.
Race and nationality never became an issue.

They gave women equal footing with men.

They gave people dogs instead of dogma.
Ritual remained important.
But not so important that ritual was static
and unbending.

There were no lists of death sentences.

The revisionists made clear that the apocalypse
was not an act of war or divine reckoning
but a revealing of the truth that exposed all closets
so people could be themselves—unafraid.

copyright © Kenneth P. Gurney

Evergreen Air Freshener Hangs from a Light

A broken TV
receives and projects
only FOX Opinion
to rooms outfitted with
green La-Z-boy loungers
set on synthetic carpets
with cigarette ash burns.

The sound comes out
of stereo speakers
that flank the fickle flat screen.
The fake walnut casing
clashes with the Bronco orange
paint on the walls.

A dog sleeps at the far end of the room
alert enough in sleep to wake
if a single footstep touches the carpet
even if the steps lead away
into the kitchen and a half empty case
of beer cans.

Flies in the kitchen buzz
in slow death on a toxic strip
or in full life over food
not yet put away into the fridge
after canned supper
was emptied into a pan.

The only art on the walls
is provided by gun manufacturers
who sold this guy
on the idea of survival
after the apocalypse
of democracy
spread to all hands.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Faculties

Paul screams.
He is not hurt.
This is not an emergency.
He tests the soundscape.

Much of the soundscape
is beyond human capacity to hear.
Just like more of the scent-scape
is available for dogs.

Every animal goes quiet
as Paul’s scream
echos off the mountainside
and pinballs through the tall pines.

The wind ignores him.
The lake threatens
to drag him under and drown him
if he does it again.

Paul does not understand the danger.
The lake’s voice is beyond his hearing.
Just like the voices of the dead
are beyond his hearing.

In the wake of his scream
Paul remains quiet
until and beyond
the animal sounds returning.

He checks his compass.
North moved a fraction of a degree southeast.
But not enough for Paul’s eye or compass
to register the change.

He wonders why God created humans
so large amounts of data is unavailable to them.
God replies Use it or Lose it.
But the sentence is beyond Paul’s hearing.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Outside Port Angeles

Snow falls on the ocean
and approaches the cedars on land.

The mud at the side of a stream
that enters the ocean hardens by freeze.

Deer birds big cats hide themselves
as the fall thickens, speckles my line of sight.

I brought you here
into these ancient woods

under these conditions
thinking it might change you.

Foolish me.
But not disappointed

at your requests to go home
and make hot chocolate

for a seat by the hearth
to watch the dancing flames.

The snow collects on your long hair
scarf and shoulders.

I appreciate such beauty
and your bothered brown eyes.

You call out to our dog Home!
so she would know

we turned around
even though she was out of sight

bounding though the trees after a rabbit
not letting any snow collect on her back.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Before a Walk

The thrasher’s tweedle-eet
startles me awake.

The apple tree
does not care if I acquire knowledge.

I read each incandescent leaf
of a poetry book

while eating potent cereal
without the fear of added sugars.

There are no curtains to pull aside.
Sunrise invites itself in.

Why do train conductors
not spark and shock people as they take tickets?

Such questions afflict me
in the time between stars and blue sky.

I never call my dog a bad name
because she never calls me a bad name.

When I place my bowl in the sink
my dog knows it’s time to go to the door.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Filled To Brimming

Consider the dishwasher.
How after you fill yourself with dinner
you fill it with plates, flatware and glasses.

Outside the light takes that slant
that turns the air to honey
as if a magician snapped her fingers.

Inside the dog is frustrated with you
for not sharing your food
and lies down in a huff by the sliding doors to the backyard.

As you slide into your easy chair
and take in hand a magazine
you have been meaning to read

you consider police cams
and imagine if you had to wear one
to document all of your work activities

during office hours
with the knowledge that superiors
and independents will review

your every single keystroke
and zoomed business interaction.
Big Brother? Or checks and balances?

Your partner brings you tea.
Caffeine-free mint because it’s evening.
You plunge yourself

into an article about the armor and weapons
the Greeks and Trojans used
in the various eras covered by Homer’s Iliad.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney