Paul took a syringe filled with laughter
injected it into himself to lighten his heart.

He did so at an inappropriate time
when levity was not appreciated by anyone listening.

Paul was glad the injection had the long term effect
of allowing him to fly in his dreams.

He learned what was on the other side of the mountain
and the fact (over there) the grass was no greener.

Paul started telling his dour unhappy friends to go away.
Their DWIs would go undocumented except by the courts.

He thought about the first day he tasted oblivion
and found it bitter to the extreme.

That was the day he knew the company misery kept
was not the company he wished to keep.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Ground Cuckoo

Paul tries to find Lori through echo location.
Her fingers are in his ears.

He sits in the garden on a lawn chair.
She stands behind him.

He smells garlic since last October.
She massages that thought into his head.

A roadrunner sprints around and around a tree trunk.
Paul and Lori laugh at the same time.

They are most beautiful when they laugh.
Lori removes her fingers from Paul’s ears.

He locates her before their laughter ends.
The roadrunner dashes to the neighbor’s yard.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Ground Cuckoo is another name for Roadrunner.

Her Laughter

Thirty-three hundred patty-cakes
bounce my sleep.

The murmurs of an absent child
creak the staircase until dawn.

The iron nails securing my spine
flake a glittering rust.

It is hard to repair the pump
that primes my eyes for tears,

while the ghost in my attic
constricts my throat with her laughter.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Somewhere there are traffic signals
and instructions
on reconstruction
of civilized laughter.

All roads lead to tap dancing.

Crazy Glue back together
all the promises
you broke
and celebrated with champagne.

All roads lead to a fever.

Eventually a virus finds us.
No matter how well we hide.
No matter our tax bracket.
No matter our haircut.

All roads lead to barking dogs.

Somewhere there are traffic signals.
Yellow still means go very fast.
Thimbles hang from the crossbars
to catch the sleepwalking rain.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney