Retainer

Paul grew up in America.
That is a lie.
The idea he grew up.

He is a poet.
As a poet he was asked
to translate the bible into plain English.

Paul’s skill at poetry was brevity.
He distilled the bible
down to as few words as possible.

It took him close to a year
as American snow
came and went and came again.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
Do not do to others
what you do not want done to yourself.

The people who hired Paul were angry
he did not mention God once
or Jesus and the twelve disciples.

They refused to pay him
for this one double spaced
typed page.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Overnight Excursion

Paul leaves.
He drives away between two incidences.

One is in the open.
The other is underground.

He drives to Taos to take a room.
He drives to Taos Mountain.

On its flanks he expects to walk
the two incidences into understanding.

He does not expect the aspens or ponderosas to help.
Often they do in silent ways.

He does not expect the rocky ground to help.
Often it does with painful insight.

When he walks Taos Mountain
he walks that place that is half dream half real.

He takes himself to the shadow world.
The mountain does not lead him or lead him astray.

It is a place in his mind where pink
and indigo stripe the sky.

It is a place of thought and not-thought.
Where walking merges everything together.

The open incident speaks for itself.
The underground incident emerges in pictures.

Pictures borrowed from memory to create metaphor.
It requires time to learn language to describe itself.

Paul walks into a new vocabulary by the time
he reaches the lake.

He walks until light is wrung from the sky.
He returns to Taos for sleep.

He returns to us the next day.
He goes into his studio and writes.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Blank Gun Silencer

Paul woke up Early on Tuesday.
He poured Early a cup of tea.

Early borrowed Paul’s car for errands
and stopped for scones.

Early returned home to find Paul
reading Blank Gun Silencer.

Paul returned his teacup
to the coffee table but missed the coaster.

Breadcrumbs littered the polished wood
around as well as on top of the ceramic dish.

As lunchtime approached, Early
stopped being himself, paused,

looked out the kitchen window
as a black cat stalked a roadrunner.

Paul felt sure this was a poetic metaphor
for the inevitable struggle.

The roadrunner easily evaded the cat,
leaping to the top of the fence.

Early faded out of existence
as the second hand swept toward noon.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney