Impulse

Paul tethered himself to stone lions.
He was in front of a library.
He was devoted to myth.
He wished to create his own.

Paul pulverized pomegranates
because he liked the sound
of Paul pulverized pomegranates.
That was good enough.

None of the passers-by
confused the pomegranates
for a bomb or any other device
that would go boom!

In fact all the passers-by
believed this was some performance art piece
and a few of them looked for a hat
in which to leave a dollar—there was no hat.

Now that his pomegranates were pulverized
Paul rubbed a thin layer of reddish paste
on the stone lions
until the lions were coated.

Paul lay down on the concrete
and stared at the clouds as they passed overhead.
Birds landed upon the stone lions
and pecked up the crushed pomegranate.

As Paul watched clouds pass by
he occasionally got shit on by birds taking flight.
He pondered what was mythic about this demonstration
tethered to stone lions.

He had no answer.
He heard no answer from the spirit beings in the clouds.
He heard no answer from the Field of Dreams voice.
He decided he should plan better next time.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Library

I placed your historical novel on a shelf.
The shelf contained many other dusty books.

It was one of many shelves with dusty books.
The dust implies I neglect the books I treasure.

They are really an old display of wealth.
You cannot judge a man today on the size of his library.

When it comes to poetry I place each book I finish
in a little poetry library box.

Unread poetry on a shelf does little to nothing
to influence the world’s progress.

The box I place them in has a high turnover rate
so I believe the poetry gets read regularly.

I feel for the poets who signed the book copy I purchased
thinking I would treasure their words forever.

Especially if they found that signed copy
in a little poetry library box.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Paul searches out
an empty
quiet library corner
where the stacks
hide him
from the scrutiny
of teachers
students
monitors
and the world
at large.

There he opens
a challenged book
and turns
to the introduction
and primes
the canvas of his mind
to be painted
with apostasy.

When he finishes
for the day
he hides the book
among other
shelved books
on a top row
between esoteric titles
of Slavic poetry
by Wisława Szymborska
and a Polish treatise
about Warsaw’s
ghetto brothels
during World War II.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

A challenged book is one that libraries, schools and/or political jurisdictions have attempted to ban. Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian was the number 1 most challenged book for the decade 2010-2019. It is a favorite book of mine.