Stewed

Alphabet soup is served.
A long line files past the stainless steel pot with ladle.

Mostly misfit military men and women
secret stomach twisting ghosts in their guts.

Fatigues in various shades of faded
sit at tables butted end to end.

During the blessing
each soup bowl spells out a prayer.

Vegetable broth vapors rise
to cloud faces and steam glasses.

Some attendants
eat with a fork one letter at a time.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Patriotism

I have been frugal with my patriotism.
I have not waved a flag in many years.

I have not attended a Forth of July parade
since nineteen-eighty three.

I do not own a gun.
I never served in the armed forces.

Even worse, according to some,
I have not made babies to serve in the military.

I understand that free speech is not free.
The cost of free speech is standing up

and speaking truth to power
even if power threatens you with more than tax audits.

I have my truth and speak it.
I stand up at open mics to do so.

Not usually known for their belligerence,
poets are known for protesting.

They will protest everything under the sun.
Injustice. Discrimination. Economic Inequality.

And, especially, the disastrous financial future
of practicing poetry.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney