Not Available at Lowes’ Garden Department

Dianne and I grow good omens
in our garden.

Admittedly she does most of the work.
I spread the manure.

We cut bouquets to give to our friends
when they fear dying.

Or when they invite the four riders of the apocalypse
to gallop through their living room.

God admonishes us for giving away
the beautiful blooms

before the bees finish pollinating
and the good omens go to seed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

House And Home

My body battered by my mind
trembles in place.

My blood hollows itself
blueing under oxygen debt.

Knights joust upon my tongue.
A soggy pink field torn to pieces by mad charges.

Love is a word I do not speak to myself.
It is an abstract others speak of solidly.

It has something to do with the difference
of the words House and Home.

My body houses what God’s mouth
breathed into me.

But this flesh does not feel like home
for all my consumed communion wafers.

In this state I tell myself
this night I feel the holy dark about me

and the floor’s broken glass is fear
not a bottle dropped

after liquid numbness fails
to add color back to old photos.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Answered

Walking down the wrong street
bullets called out your name
but none of them knew how to pronounce
the umlaut over the A
so their lead missed your body
but hit many other things
that shattered upon impact
or shattered the bullet upon its impact.

You were not oblivious
but more concerned about the stranger
who screamed out for a hug
while two dozen tiny moons circled their head
as a reckoning of how many lunar mouths passed
since they were last touched.

Believing they witnessed a miracle
the shooters scattered
not wishing to be in the proximity
of something so holy that God’s breath
saturated the neighborhood’s air
like the little puff from a kiss just let go.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunday

Paul deduced that Time
was not something God created.

As far as he could discern
all of God’s creations

stopped for a while to rest
and recover

but time never missed a beat
even when he missed

one of time’s beats
if not three or four in a row.

His heart which beat without stopping
did speed up and slow down

but time only sped up or slowed down
in the scope of his human perception.

Paul thought about the sun
and its fission and fusion

of atomic particles
and how it created elements

only up to iron
before going nova the first time.

But that going nova proved
a beginning and end of the star

no matter how seemingly countless the days
from ignition to boom.

I suggested Time was created
by Missus God

but received an ungracious grunt
and dark look for my effort.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Hart

Inside the Lord’s pocket
lives a red hart
with velveteen antlers.

It roams the silky green expanse
the pocket’s narrow valley
provides.

It lovingly knows
this threaded ground it treads
and the ancient seams.

The red hart senses
a larger world outside the pocket.
A multicolored universe

with an inverted world
where all is displayed to the sky
and hills were smoothed by receded ice.

The Lord though
requires this red hart
held close to the vest

to power its face and tongue
to expand its songs
that burst stars upon the void.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Persistence

Delphi tells new people she meets
they wear the face of God.

Those people who see
a demon in the mirror

choose not to believe her
for at least ten hearings.

It is only after the twelfth time
a crack in their marble facades

appears in the faintest
glimmer of a smile

that the unassumed dare
might contain an ecstasy.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Loneliness

I do not know what I have done
and I do not suspect God will answer me
whether I am on my knees at the alter
or on a walk through the woods.

And what is worse is that each morning
I wake and look into the mirror
only to wonder whose eyes those are
that look back at me with such reproach.

There is a promise I have threatened to make
which, with twisted words, might mean
I will love my self, but, on some days
it is more a bargain just to see the sunset

and lay my head down again upon the pillow
in the slight knowledge that tomorrow might be better,
might be the day when my soul walks inside of me—
not two steps behind and one to the right.

Down at the river where the rusted railroad bridge
supports the many nests of swallows
I gamble with the dusk, with bread that draws
the ducks over to speak for me

to the God who must reside in the distorted sky
as it is reflected in the water below the bridge,
below the darting swallows, as a McDonalds’ cup
fails to snag on any of the river’s branches or rocks.

But no one speaks, except for that voice within my head,
the voice that says, You are ugly. You incompetent boob.
You … The list goes on and reciting it darkens the moon
as it rises above the trees, as the sun filters orange and red.

There is the offer of the bridge, of the bloated fish that float by,
of the river’s merciless current that lifts the dead and discarded
and carries them toward the sea—but the river with its flow
will not fill the emptiness, nor carry me back to God’s loving arms.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bootstraps

We stopped seeking the Etruscans
amid the old, lonely thoughts
and assumed them absorbed

and dispersed through the larger stock
of the Romans as they spread
across their burgeoning empire.

The study of God, god, gods
fell away as well, this terra cotta notion
of in-grave kings and queens,

this riverine country of shoulder length hair,
the blackness of coffee a more perfect measure
of morning-afters in Winter.

What time is it to you, now that your ghost towns
have names in a forgotten language?

What day are you the lioness? The gazelle?
The small black spider with red markings?

Yes, you are slim enough for apples,
a serpentine appellation when you dance,
for night dark chocolate to alter our poetry.

But, the fact that your hand searches the wall
by the door for a switch, a light, the static glow
of molecules in excited motion

suggests something I can’t quite place my finger on,
the index key lost to the translation
of alder trees after the fire.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

On Schedule

A girl on a bus stop bench cries and kicks her legs outward
and connects with several city transit underwriters.

The marvel is that no one offered comfort or solace.
Not even a candy bribe for the girl to desist.

If only it were a literary enterprise and not real life
with minds churning through business calculations

to leapfrog hours to lunch at an oyster bar
or the drudgery of strip club cleaning before hours.

No one thinks of a miracle or invokes God
at least not in a positive manner.

With the arrival of the bus
the girl ceases her tears and kicking.

She believes her tantrum caused it to arrive all the quicker
when actually it was exactly on time.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Solstice

Snow falls
like God’s
white hair
undone
as a ribbon
pulls free
and the locks
cascade
down upon
the rounded
shoulders
and curved spine
covering
the series
of separate
and articulated
bones
of faith.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney