Fractured Moon

Decades of rewriting memories
produces a fictional clarity
on childhood trauma
placed in the autobiography.

It all comes back
while endlessly talking
to no one in particular
at the fairgrounds.

The devil was never in the details.
The devil was in the inappropriate touch
and threat-enforced silence
of those who did not care about transgression.

Each neighborhood firework that spikes the sky
or gunshot that punctuates the night
reinvigorates the old shock
and trauma skitters memory bank to nerve endings.

It is not the spangled lights
but the explosive’s radiating displacement wave
that rattles the spine up to the skull
pushing a soul out the top.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Gotten Old

The first cool gray evening
since summer’s longest sun.

Distant gunshots ring out the day
or in the night.

I’ve given up believing
those small explosions are leftover fireworks.

I wonder what disagreement
sparked this disturbance.

Maybe his girlfriend unbraided her hair
in front of the wrong man.

Foolish of me to assume a man
wields the popping gun.

But women prefer knives.
Or poison. Right?

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

No Soliciting

Our limp flag concedes
it is ready to be made into a dress.

I receive a letter from the capitol
apologizing that its members are gutted fish
ready for the fry pan.

Remind me why I am writing a script
about a spangled starfish
that curled its toes in the Potomac Tidal Basin
with a view of Jefferson.

A barrage of fireworks
fail to create new constellations
for the nation’s navigators to steer
the ship of state.

Opportunity brushed by
leaving a scar on my patriotic shirt sleeve
but no mark on my arm.

A bullet salesman rings the doorbell
wanting to show me the contents
of his samples case.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

July Fourth

Fireworks started
popping off
each night
near sundown
in our neighborhood
from mid June
and kept up
well into August.

Early morning
when it was quiet
Dora drank
her coffee
out on the porch
entertained by
the thrashers
doing their back
and forth
feeding fledglings.

By seven-thirty
at the latest
I bicycled
a fifteen mile
loop to beat
the summer heat
and viewed
the burnt asphalt
and expended
from the previous
night’s colorful
of the lower sky.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Okay. It is past the Fourth of July. But on 25 August fireworks woke me from sound sleep as a neighbor or neighborhood teens set them off. I find I am willing to put up with a couple days of fire works explosions around the fourth, but not past Bastille Day at the latest. Unfortunately, the police have proved unable to enforce any ordinances against fireworks or excessive noise (short-term mobile noise).

Enough whining.

Love & Light.