Paul fades in the distance.
He walks home from a visit.
Earlier he entered my studio touched.

The second dictionary meaning.
Slightly insane. Crazy.
Affected by something unspoken.

He floated like a cloud.
Heavy with rain.
Too thick to catch a glimpse of the sun.

He poured himself a cup of tea.
He perched on a stool.
Then a workbench.

Then he stood adjacent to my canvas.
He pointed to something.
His finger touched the wet paint.

A combination of white and blues
in the process of becoming sky.
He wiped his fingertip on my blue jeans.

I turned to glare at him.
He stared back daring me.
My brush stroked his nose.

He broke into a grin.
The grin expanded to laughter.
His laugh was infectious.

We laughed for a good long while.
We laughed until our sides ached.
He clapped me on the back.

No rag removed the paint from his nose.
He exited my studio.
He walked up the grassy hill toward home.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Paul Creates Two Stacks of Documents

The one on the right is standard letter sized
eight & a half by eleven sheets
all white with black inkjet print
and stacks neatly as if ready
for a box.

The one on the left is random sizes
shapes colors from little cards
with cute mice eating seeds on them
to a drawing of a map
that emulates the world
as seen by Amerigo Vespucci
but in bright colored pencil
instead of faded ink.

The right stack could be poems
based on the irregular
amount of words and letters
and the spacing on them.
Eight hundred and twenty three sheets
all with a date from the calendar year

The threat is the paper shredder
on a short table in between
the two stacks.

The threat is the last orders
(will and testament)
that spells out
in plain English
to destroy a life’s work.

These two stacks are just the beginning.
One studio closet is full
of manuscript boxes
and several portfolio cases.
And that does not count the walls
hung with framed work
or poems push-pinned onto plaster.

Paul opens a whiskey bottle
and pours himself a drink.
He swishes it about his mouth like Listerine.
Then swallows.

The power button on the shredder
glows blue after he presses it.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

A Dark Body of Clouds

A dark body of clouds enters my brain.
It is a line from a poem.
It is a covid fog slowing my thoughts.

It is not I who caught covid, but Cathryn.
Being my friend, I share her burden.
This dark body of clouds.

Happily it does not cause dark thoughts.
The fog causes people to think she is a ditz.
In this shared existence I am thought a ditz as well.

The darkness is how cruel people can be
when their expectations go unmet.
Thunder voices hurl insults at our covid slowness.

We could hurl insults back at their ignorance.
We could hurl stick or stones.
In tandem we remain silent.

If we could find ninety-eight more people
to share Cathryn’s burden
each of us would carry one-percent fog.

Thus disperse the dark body of clouds
back into a line of poetry.
Oh darn. I cannot think of the poet’s name.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


The poet whose name I covid-fog do not remember in the last line of the poem is Mary Ruefle. The title is a variation from her poem title “Darke Body of Clowds”. It is found in her book “Indeed I Was Please With The World“.

I do hope you (dear readers) have gotten your covid-19 vaccinations. Cathryn is one friend who has long haul covid difficulties. Over the past 15 months several acquaintances passed away from the attack of the virus upon their bodies. So I hope you take the virus seriously.


The last mass you attended
you were in the coffin
that kept you dry
from the million tears
a hundred mourners shed.

It has been decades
since you dressed in altar boy white
and performed your sacred trust
knowing your papa would treat us
to ice cream soon after the benediction.

I remember how you waited
for spring to warm enough
to dry the cold ground
so a ball striking a swung bat
did not sting so much.

I remember the night
you ate nine bananas on a dare
before you drank your first pint
while the Friday night fish fried.

During the regular season
I miss calling you up
and talking baseball for hours.
Conversation interspersed with the updates
on family and friends.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Like many of my poems this one is a mix of fact and fiction. Mike and I met in our 30s. We played on the same softball team. We became friends with baseball as one of our focuses—both MLB and the APBA baseball simulation game.

Mike passed away last year. I began thinking about him again as Spring training started up because he and I would have been on the phone talking about the upcoming season and the reports on which rookies looked promising.


Two friends fall asleep
next to each

with the innocence of puppies
after a playful romp.

They slump onto each other.
Head upon a shoulder.

Head upon a head.
Hands touching along blue jean seams.

Their breath soft as a breeze
through willow branches.

A flutter of pale green leaves.
A sleepy recession of awareness.

One dreams a thread through the needle’s eye.
The other dreams an unnoticed sun.

Two friends will wake.
And realize their closeness.

One will uncurl and stretch naturally.
The other will doubt the innocence of it all.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Hoping To Be Heard

I looked through you.
I spoke to myself.
You seemed an imposter.
Like a Koons Balloon Dog.

I saw your despair.
Irritation in your eyes.
Your frail hands wrung in worry.
And your legacy rose up in smoke.

You spoke softly.
Under our umbrella.
Your hand clasped mine.
I heard your soft sigh through this touch.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Link to image of Koons Balloon Dog.

Letting You Feel Lighter Than Air

I could call you a friend.
Ask for your salt.
Ask for your sand.

I love the somber sea foam
as its bubbles burst
when the water recedes.

I love the mineral spring
with its whitish crystals
crusting granite and animal tracks.

I love you friend.
You are a house full of children’s voices.
A cool breeze bare of secrets.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul turns his back to us.
His bristly hair is shaved in back.
His exposed skin flips us the bird.

Things are not poison between us.
Just a bit off. More naked than usual.
It takes time to adjust.

I wave off the waitress
when she starts to remove his pint
from the table.

He will come back
and we will resume where we
left off.

Maybe not tonight,
but tomorrow or the next day
at the latest.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney