Paul took a long drag
on American exceptionalism
while he drank
a pint of upward mobility.

He looked
from his laborer hands
to the barroom mirror
and searched his face

for the American Dream
and found the Liberty Bell’s crack
and the manure piles
of Paul Revere’s horse.

He taped the ashes
off exceptionalism into a glass tray
and relived the putdowns
he hears each day

by those people paid for their brains
not their physical actions
and the currency of elitism
over his bartered production.

Paul might have been created equal
but what was equal
about the poverty he was born into
and the wage war

his father fought each day
trying to achieve decency
against the ideals
of free markets and capitalism.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Some bells say,
Time to come to church,

while other say,
Time for your next class.

Some bells tell time
and tell you nothing else.

Other sound an alarm.
Others peal victory.

One said, Liberty!
but it rings no more.

The Carol of the Bells
is Paul’s favorite.

All that hand-ringing
so appropriate.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney