Take Me Out

When people yell at me
their words turn yellow—
a pained shade not close to Midas-gold.

This is the America that celebrated napalm.
I see it burn in the digital afterglow
of online gun sales.

When it exits a wound
blood becomes far more real
than feelings expressed in therapy.

I think of the neighborhood musicians
who somehow create new cords
out of gang violence.

A rat-ta-tat-tat rhythm
to full- and semi-automatic assault weapons
secondarily directed at smart phone documentarians.

I see the fresh dirt in the churchyard cemetery.
It is thick with worms
hungry for pinkish lungs clutching the last breath.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Rant 22 March 2022

The murderers
three degrees removed
from the deceased
are rarely convicted
even when
the neighborhood’s
soothsayer compass
points directly
at them.

That does not mean
the police
do not dangle
fishhooks with
some undetermined bait
hoping to lodge the barbs
in the criminal’s throat
and not just
the soft fleshy cheek
where the hook
can tear free
with a yank.

It is not like
this poorer neighborhood
can use hallway mirrors
as magical portals
to escape the violence
of the gun toting teens
in search of belonging.

Especially when
the church steps
are not safe
from drive-by revenge
that accuses God
of not caring enough
to bend over
and wipe the stinking
dog shit
from his shoe
before entering
his holy house.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Walking down the wrong street
bullets called out your name
but none of them knew how to pronounce
the umlaut over the A
so their lead missed your body
but hit many other things
that shattered upon impact
or shattered the bullet upon its impact.

You were not oblivious
but more concerned about the stranger
who screamed out for a hug
while two dozen tiny moons circled their head
as a reckoning of how many lunar mouths passed
since they were last touched.

Believing they witnessed a miracle
the shooters scattered
not wishing to be in the proximity
of something so holy that God’s breath
saturated the neighborhood’s air
like the little puff from a kiss just let go.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney