Dibs On Wrigley Field

The vicious wound of our break up
scabbed into a velvet ant.

It scurried across the new typeface
you designed to write your next chapter.

Anger’s loud yawp, kept loneliness at bay
long enough for paint to dry

on white apartment walls
ready for sanity’s scrawl and height-line measures.

Our friends took sides according to taste—
the craft beers

you stocked in your new fridge
compared to the ones I stocked in mine.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Skyward

I did not think pregnantly
during my pause.

When a week’s passage
finally hit me,

I transposed the letters in baby
into all possible combinations

on the hypothesis one would raise
the shadow-cloaked mountain

skyward into the sunshine
so the tide might be spied

on the ocean’s gulf coast
where beaches stand void of people

afraid of virus contraction,
knowing intubation

stifles a patient’s
fearful moans.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Complex

Now you know
I was once
committed
for owning
one more
complication
than I
could juggle
without dropping
everything
while my dog
barked warning
that the church
pounded nails
out of scrap iron
ready to pierce
my flesh
as a refresher
parable
for the rows
and rows
of warehoused
worshippers.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Joins In As One

Her perfect voice
remains silent.

When she says, I love you.
It penetrates marrow deep.

When we walk the cemetery
her fingers twine with mine.

A white stone marker has no name
and halts our progress.

There is space enough
for both our names.

We muse about crossing over together
and what awaits us.

A cello ushers in the night.
Her perfect voice joins in as one.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Protesters Silently Walked By

God hung out
on the empty streets
of a pandemic city
curbside, by a brewpub
no longer hosting
poetry on Monday nights.

God scrounged
the sidewalk
for dropped words
and sentence fragments
to wrap in Zig-Zags
and light up.

God wore a red cap
with a grey wolf logo
and searched
the sad eyes
of homeless girls
who shared
the trafficked fate
of poverty.

God watched
the protesters
employ their right
to peaceful assembly
and march,
letting their homemade signs
give voice
to their outrage
and collective
sense of humanity.

God missed
the clickity-clack
of the skateboard
sidewalk surfers
on their way
through downtown,
who saved
sofa cushion findings
to purchase
Thrasher Tees
or new aluminum
trucks.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Ninth

I pin George Floyd
on you, on us
on our collective
indifference
that allowed
the traditional
racial violence
invested in the creation
of our union
to remain systemic
through a thousand
amendment and
software updates.

How we carried
our victim trauma
and torture-fears from
seventeenth century Europe
to the New World
to our town hall meetings
to our first interactions
with those who
held the land before us
and those we stole
away from their homes.

Oh, the hypocrisy.
Declaring three-fifths a man
those with different color skin
upon the establishment
of our founding documents
and declaration
of all men being equal.

We owe George Floyd
and all who we have harmed
two-fifths of our
two and a half centuries
of prosperity
to be expended
in balancing justice’s scales
through reparations
as if we were on the ninth step
of a twelve step program
to free ourselves
from unqualified fears
and exploitation addictions.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Clay Pigeons

The exit wound
always exceeds the diameter
of the bullet’s initial penetration.

So it is with harsh words.
Just enough velocity to enter
the brain and rattle around,

ricocheting off the bone walls,
shattering self-esteem
like so many clay pigeons.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Plateau

In the desert
you smell rain storms

before they clear
the horizon.

It is the salt tinged
taste of hope.

It is magpies
bending in the heat.

My twisted heart
straightens in sage thick air.

Juniper snips
the bindings of time.

I dive into a cloud’s shadow
and swim.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Nirvana

A mother’s love
is not guaranteed at birth.

Genetics supply
only a protective instinct.

Postpartum depression
cancels both.

This is the way of the world.
God made it so.

To find perfection in this fact
is to stand on Nirvana’s cusp.

I see you hesitate to walk
into an unpolished pearl.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

One Or Two In Every School

At a thousand yards
broken children
hear each others’ silence.

Without the superpower of normalcy
each knows they are a mutant,
wanna be X-Men.

Too young to understand
there is no such thing as normal,
they compare invisible scars.

The bewildering business of being
traffics in misunderstanding
and a roster of bullies.

On a future day, a teacher
will succeed in educating them
that they are fully human.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney