Apartments Over Downtown Businesses

Paul draped
the Stars & Stripes about his shoulders.

Not for patriotism
but for the chill air blowing over bare skin.

All the time he wore
the flag as a granny’s shawl

his inner ear heard the Marine Corp band
play John Phillip Sousa marches.

He stewed in his thoughts
that politically opposed sides

stampeded issues
like spooked longhorns

ready to gore and trample anything
in their path.

Eventually a Red Cross worker
removed the thin and ember-perforated flag

from over his shoulders
and replaced it with a wool blanket.

A lovely neighbor lady who lost
just as much to the fiery riot

sat next to him and clutched his hand
comforted in the familiar face

but unknown man
she sees regularly at the corner cafe.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sake Of Old Reckonings

It was not that Paul
wanted blue and red
to join to form purple
in America

but he prayed
that they did not become
the green and orange
of the Irish Troubles.

He wondered
if thirty years
is standard
for such disagreements

before people
become tired enough
of the bloodshed
to let go of their animosities

and practice
a generous variation
of any one of the religions
they profess to live by.

Paul searched
the calendar for a day
as auspicious as Good Friday
for an agreement

an accord to at least
listen when the other side
speaks their concerns
about their futures.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


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

Oh! You Signed My Name

Thank you
for drawing
four hundred
and forty-one
paper penises
and sending them
to the House.
And a hundred more
you sent to the Senate.
Oh, yes, I noticed
the balls were drawn
like Turkish figs, and
you included
a wagging dog-tail
for those congressmen
and -women
whose political contortions
facilitate the gratification
of licking their own.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


There it is.
As plain as skin cancer.

Another Presidential
fiction is born.

Not like Athena
from Zeus’ forehead.

But a thumb pounding
Twitter screed.

Part of the never ending spew
of his black hole self absorption.

The news looks back along the coverage trajectory
and sees pitch black.

How easily the profit motive
drew them past the event horizon.

How oblivion became a luxury
and absence a blessing.

How our scarred feelings
fail to notice a subtle touch for attention.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


No men in black suits.
No bugs in human suits.
A haphazard shadow greens.
A gentle sway of line and pattern.

Bald official paperwork.
So many trees wear eviction notices.
Six more days for public outrage.
The government stumps the park.

Small black bugs hide.
Fallen bark reveals their trails.
Paths snake meandering lines.
Leaves brown in June.

copyright 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney