While We Are People

Poetry is a sign of my ancestors
interacting with my great grand children
none of whom I have seen or met.

This Now is a timeline
twisting into rope.
And untwisting as well.

This instant is a binding
and an unraveling
that affects the beginning and end.

Poetry is a fathomless orange
marking a reconstruction
of innermost perception.

Not some wild guess.
Not some flock of geese rising off a lake.
Not some infants index finger pointing.

I asked for your raw emotions
instead of a mask—
but the crowd scared you thirsty.

The orange sunset
tossed the edge of the world high—
with no sign it will return to earth.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul seeks a starting point.
He wishes to un-scroll a set of disagreements.
He remains sure it is a language issue.
Cultural differences of the same words.

Everything is specific to human emotion.
Reactions often not coupled with decisions
where knowledge and will overrule
the visceral, the adrenaline rush.

Divides to span. Walls to scale.
Like cutting a strong raw onion
with company present in the kitchen.
Forced tears are unstoppable.

Again. A starting point.
A beer over Irish nachos in the pub?
A walk to the mountain top?
An email first to test the waters?

He tries to make sense of his memory
of the causal interaction.
Maybe the exchange is best viewed
as water downstream of a bridge.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul invented
a way to speak
to his pain
and how it felt
like California

He failed
to detect
the difference
piñon, aspen,
and juniper

So it was
the wind
his pains
over miles
of charred

Paul found
the granite
of his grief
towered over him.
El Capitan
he climb
without a rope.

He figured
why not wait
for a thunderstorm
to start
the ascent
out of the chaos,
since no one
will know then
if the droplets
are tears or rain.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


A father sledgehammers his son
with the “big boys don’t cry” lie.

The son learns to cry
in his own time, his own space.

There is a large rock upon the mountain
that collects his tears in a granite bowl.

The steel of the son’s spirit
strikes sparks upon the rock with each drop.

The son realizes the polished steel
is a looking glass and a weapon.

He chooses to use that steel
to prop his eyes open to the light.

In that light, he discerns the generational pain
lashed to his father’s hard words.

The son searches family photo albums
to learn what is long gone and sharply missed.

The photos devolve from color,
to black and white, to a stiff sepia.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney