Indifferent

The fever that burns through
the old white men
in a show of republican theater
cloaks them in sweaty lies
fabricated from a mad parrot’s preachings
under DC’s furtive grind
as it chews up the impoverished
and spews the bony pits
to the tune Yankee Doodle Dandy.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Solstice

Snow falls
like God’s
white hair
undone
as a ribbon
pulls free
and the locks
cascade
down upon
the rounded
shoulders
and curved spine
covering
the series
of separate
and articulated
bones
of faith.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Metaphor Taken Literally

Paul decides
he is more dust than ash.

Even with this declaration,
he remains mostly ocean.

Some days he is intimidated
by absences.

He places those voids
in a closed-off room

behind a red door
with a Gone Fishing sign.

This past week the world
scrutinized Paul for one news cycle

via more social and mass media
than he was accustomed to.

Because, in a poem he posted to a blog
Paul took on all the blame

for the third of the four years
of the Trump Administration.

It is so raucous under the microscope!
Their pens scratch baseline notes.

Arising, Paul bumps his head
on its glass ceiling.

See! Dust. Just like the dry scrapings
of an archeologist

around an uncovered artifact,
a carved figure of unknown origin.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Pent Up

Paul let his hammer sing
through the air and crash

on two small plastic toys
that broke previously

under his boots
because he did not bother

to carry a flashlight
on this well known patch

of woods and rocks
last night after dark,

returning from watching
a cormorant at dusk

out of place
on a beaver pond

on the stream
carrying snow melt

down the unvisited
mountain top.

Paul’s dog flinched
each time the hammer struck

and little pieces flew
in all directions

for Paul to vent is rage
at turning his ankle

a deep blue-black
and swollen

after sidestepping
other might-be toys

and landing on
a tree root wrong.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Where Things Go

After overhearing me
speak into the phone
and say, The moon
is made of green cheese
,

the mouse in my library
opened all my old
physics and astrophysics
textbooks

and shopped on-line
for rocket parts
after abducting my credit card
from my wallet while I slept.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Argument

Paul seeks a starting point.
He wishes to un-scroll a set of disagreements.
He remains sure it is a language issue.
Cultural differences of the same words.

Everything is specific to human emotion.
Reactions often not coupled with decisions
where knowledge and will overrule
the visceral, the adrenaline rush.

Divides to span. Walls to scale.
Like cutting a strong raw onion
with company present in the kitchen.
Forced tears are unstoppable.

Again. A starting point.
A beer over Irish nachos in the pub?
A walk to the mountain top?
An email first to test the waters?

He tries to make sense of his memory
of the causal interaction.
Maybe the exchange is best viewed
as water downstream of a bridge.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Happy Meal

Dora clanged
her pots and pans
to wake the city
to the ghosts
freed from
their fleshy shells
by fast food
and sugary treats
but only managed
to annoy
the two occupants
of a fishing boat
riding the tide
for the outer banks
as the sun’s
bald head
first breached
the horizon
and everyone else
was too hungover
from New Year’s
solitary celebrations
to respond
to an alarm
about their
pandemic comforts.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Message From On High

Do the dead
pardon us
for our trespass
against them
during their lives?

And for speaking
ill of them
after they
are gone
to memory’s pasture?

The postal service
delivered
a postcard
from my father
fifty-two years late.

It was a photo
of Aspen, Colorado
and its snow glossed
mountains
with a blurred

blue note
in his poor
penmanship
that I could not
decipher.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

City And Tower

Compare
Adam and Eve
fully formed
and capable
of language
with our
Darwinian ancestors
who in different
parts of the earth
assigned different
meanings
to certain verbal
sounds and cues
so much so
that when they met
peacefully
in a marketplace
of Babylon
the ziggurat
got labeled
the City and
Tower of Babel

and now
you must decide
if humanity
was truly united
with one language
worldwide
before the Gate of God
was created or not.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney