I cannot sleep because I am tall.
Vibrant thinking shakes me awake.

Within twenty years I’ll be dead
with enough failures to make me wise.

I hope wisdom displays itself in my poems—
at least a few of them.

My old desk was too short
but had a drawer full of words I could draw from.

My new desk is the right height
but has no drawers.

Odd that digital clocks tick just as loud
as the Black Forest cuckoo clock in my childhood home.

I think of the world without me.
Nothing changes.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul wakes a couple times each night out of breath.
He claims it is the fight to prevent ghosts from stealing his dreams.

His doctor prescribes a sleep study without Paul’s consent.
The noisy exhale of forest fires wraps the clinic in secrecy.

On arrival Paul quickly discovers he does not speak
the local tongue and his car does not care to taste the gravel lot.

Before lying down Paul checks the premises for a rescue dog
agitated by the purr of a rotating fan.

Sleep not finding Paul in his own bed mopes about
telling its tragic story to any who will listen at the corner bar.

Radio waves triangulate on Paul’s location
and transmit poems to his left wit, knowing his right wit is deaf.

A weather forecast keeps chiming into Paul’s verse
as an unexplained door bell in search of an on-off button.

Not catching a single wink all night
Paul repatriates himself back to his own home.

He discovers all the poems he wrote in his head during the night
appear on his desk in a white legal pad written in sepia ink.

The ghost writer settles back into a haunted book
that recounts the Civil War Battle of Valverde where he died.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney