Express

Paul’s grief
chose not to speak
unable to find
the right words.

He purchased words for his grief
over the internet
but they would not arrive
for two days.

In the mean time
Paul supplied his grief
with his drawing pads
and colored pencils

hoping that
it would create a message
through an art image
before his heart broke.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Necessity

Paul pulled his imperfections
outside of himself
and lined them up
like toy soldiers for inspection.

It took all morning
as his imperfections
were not a handful of issues
equal to a squad of ten

but more like an entire corp
somewhere between
twenty and forty-five thousand
rank and file.

He was surprised
when he realized
his well organized imperfections
had support units and a supply chain

with something akin
to a military industrial complex
to lobby for them
state side in his cellular democracy.

Now that his imperfections
were outside of him
Paul looked in the mirror
and noticed he mostly was not there.

One by one he picked up
all of his toy soldier imperfections
and put them back
to their proper places.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Suggesting A Truth

Scientist now postulate
the universe is donut shaped.

There be dragons
where the hole would reside.

The earth might as well be flat again.
Billy lost four teeth today

when he crashed his bicycle
into a telephone pole on purpose.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Kiss of Grace

You kissed me
to dissolve my fears.

What held me together fell away.
I nearly fell apart.

Your beauty
kept my eyes steady.

My nose, fingers and legs
did not wish to leave my eyes behind.

My fingers touched your bare thigh.
A deeper attraction

pulled the rest of me
back into place.

You assured me
that this tranquility

will remain when you stand
to leave.

Your noiseless steps passed the door.
I know silence still.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Polyps

When doctors pushed
sound waves
into my body
the computer screen
displayed abstract art
instead of internal organs.

I explained
it is not the equipment
that is at fault.
I tended to tie myself
into knots.

The nurse told me
tie myself into knots
is just an expression
and cannot
really take place
inside the body.

I deferred to her greater
medical knowledge
then tried again.
It was all the violent
and disparaging words
stuffed in my childhood ears
that I could not digest
which created
a coral reef structure
inside my body’s ocean.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Why I Have A List Of Favorite Rest Stops

Sadness persists in me.
Like it is an uncharted organ.

Bicycling does much to diminish it.
Photo albums tend to intensify it.

Blueberries on my morning yogurt
signify I have a taste for blueberries.

There are days sadness
pulls me deeper inside myself.

Other days it pushes me
outside my skin.

Drinking shrinks it briefly
then expands it to galactic dimensions.

As sad experiences add up
I do my best to relabel them neutrally.

There is something about driving long distances
that vibrates sadness out of my pores

to steadily drip on the pavement
of the interstate highways I traverse.

I once tried the nomad lifestyle
because of this fact

but ran out of novel roads to drive
at Neah Bay with a view of Waadah Island.

I threw nine amens and hale-Mary’d
my St. Christopher medallion into the ocean

where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the sea
trusting that would pacify my sadness.

It did not. My sadness suggested
we head back to Albuquerque

and the surrounding desert
since the green chile harvest started that week.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Streets

Wrapped in rags
Paul survives a late freeze.

He washes in fountain water.
Air dries.

He spends half the day
measuring sunlight

and the heat it leaves behind
in body and stone.

Paul knows everything breaks.
He mends his brokenness.

He knows every break opens him
to reveal what is inside.

But only if he looks deeply
without lying to himself.

He wonders if he is chaff
being winnowed out of society.

Society’s kernels are unaware
he is about to grind them into flour.

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

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