Holiday Oddity

Paul insisted on wrapping lies
around an awkward truth.

He wrapped both in Christmas lights.
Colorful LEDs to save energy when plugged in.

His drunken faith justified
tobacco unrolled from cigarettes

tossed on the Yule log as it burned
to keep Santa away from our chimney.

Paul buried himself in a flatscreen football game
and counted the girls in advertisements

amazed that they now look more human
in the sense of varieties of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Through all of this he made himself tolerable
somehow reading our faces

as his invisible dials tilted toward self-loathing
by the time the eggnog ran out.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Blue Ribbon

A sunny day
heats up my cafe table
through the storefront window
while my knee jiggles
with nervous energy,
while I study
a wrought iron fence
with fleur-de-lis tips
across the street
in front of a Victorian house.
A shopkeeper
sweeps the walk
clean of last night’s
Saturday celebration
of football brotherhood
and a big game
that tasted sweet victory
with local implications —
which is what I thought
tipping a pint
with friends
while watching sports
was in the first place.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney