This is What Happens

Lori was impressed by the power of speech.
Not enough to learn debate like back in high school.

Instead she attended poetry readings
at a corner bar with Guinness on tap.

She drank a pint through the casualties
and victories portrayed in verse.

She always sat a the bar
at a safe distance from the open mic.

Lori catalogued snippets and couplets
that resonated in her ear.

And for the first time she thought about
the stinging ghosts that populated her life

and their regular admonition to order
a second round, then a third.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

One Shoe Drops

Lori describes her bed
as a sack of potatoes
and her pillow
as a bread loaf full of hungry mice.

Of course she is in her cups.
Of course she feels an ache for connection.

It is the hour of brag
that men label happy
where work-day stomach pains
relax with applied poisons.

Of course she wants someone in her life
to break up with.

Far away in Ukraine
fourth cousins three times removed
fight an enemy armed with lies
that generate a holy sense of purpose.

Of course Lori does not think about it
at a conscious level.

Lori is dimly aware she survives
a toxic, sexist digital workplace
drinking until everyone goes home
and the door shuts her out.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Saturday Special

Cigarette after sex.
Long night of drinking.

Uninvited love.
Countertop predicability.

Big Hopes.
Four Horsemen Street.

Any City
with a bridge
and view of the ocean.

Broken Down.
Ten miles drunk.

Trying to time
the sunrise instant.

Rainy windowpanes.

Awash in bed linens.
Another chance.

verses reality.
Beer bottle.

White filter soggy.
Nothing funny.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


It was too late for Paul.
Too many beers to drive safely back home.

Being too late, his relationship might end.
But his relationship’s trouble was why he drank.

If the cantina had not been too busy
the bartender might have listened to him vent.

In that case he might have drunk less
and been home at a reasonable time.

In time for an argument about the beer on his breath
and her contention David Bowie

was the greatest rocker of all time.
A designation he gave to Led Zeppelin.

He loved arguing this type of personal truth
when he was twenty-something.

Now he felt all these debates should be settled
since social media was readily available

and ranked choice voting applied
to determine the greatest rocker once and for all.

Paul kept his keys in his pocket
and pulled out his smart phone for a Lyft.

He went outside to wait
afraid he would not notice the arrival notification

over the brassy mariachi band
and lovely Latin girls dancing skirts aswirl.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney