Lack of Patriotism

The dead lived here once.
Their ghosts are quiet and content.

This is the garden they tended.
Here stands the stonewall they built.

This chimney has three hundred years practice
channeling smoke from fire to sky.

There above the hearth rests a musket
once wielded in the cause of liberty.

When I fetch candles from the pantry
I brush against all those ghostly hands fetching candles.

But I am the first in the line to drink tea.
I feel those departed coffee drinkers frown in disgust.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


The ultra patriotic
fix the steal
militia man
carries an AK-47
assault rifle
to the anti-
government rally
to prove
his love of country.

His backpack
is loaded to bear
with ten extra
ammo magazines
just in case
shows up
to try to stop
his right to
peacefully assemble
and protest.

His blue collar wallet
is ultra thin
from all the donations
to support
vote recounts
and purchase
MAGA swag
since the election
returns and failure
of Mike Pence
on January Sixth
to deliver
his desired victory.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

All American Breakfast

You poured a bowl
of fireworks for breakfast.

This diet explains
your star spangled disposition.

Your glorious flag
leans upon your shoulder

as if seeking comfort
like a child.

In solidarity, I let you
finger paint the stars and stripes

on my left cheek
but refused to wear

an Uncle Sam suit
to visit your homing pigeon roost.

I checked the freshness date
of your boxed pyrotechnics

and found the red
had an earlier expiration

than either the white
or the blue.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Before The Fireworks

A woman emerges
from the night
into a star spangled bar.

Her patriotism evident
wearing her Uncle Sam suit
with plenty of cleavage.

A sea of cowboy hats
floods the dance floor
at each new tune.

As the beer went down
the woman danced
the Texas Two-Step

with several young men
and pressed her sparkled red lips to cheek
as if branding them.

Not a single
John Phillips Sousa march
was played all night.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


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