No Window AC Unit for the Pigeons To Sit

Paul lives on the second floor
above a cafe in the middle of the block.

Half of the parking is taken up
by abandoned and stripped cars.

His door is between the two rooms
of the cafe below.

A used bookstore resides at the corner.
A natural medicine shop at the other corner.

The wooden steps creak when he ascends
and kaerc when he descends.

His bed room is above the cafe’s ovens.
Each morning he wakes to the smell of hot bread cooling.

His apartment has a single bare light
he never turns on.

At night street lights paint his walls and ceilings
through windows without curtains.

His bed is four yoga mats on the floor
and a natural canvas throw pillow.

A kettle sits on the stove.
Loose leaf tea is in a tin to be packed in a thimble.

His two dark brown thrift shop mugs
display a Roosevelt Elk and Olympic National Park.

Each mug is repaired with crack lines
in different locations.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Chips

You do not look like
what your digital image promised.

The milk carton is empty
and so is the grocery’s dairy section.

You have not yet
named your new baby daughter

to prove your poverty is so great
that you have nothing to give her.

I can purchase for us
all the overly processed food you desire

but not a single fresh carrot
head of lettuce or apple.

Soldiers traded in their guns
for flowers to plant in the ground.

They plant them next to stones
not yet carved with names.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Effectively

The invisible hand
of Adam Smith’s mind
balled into a fist
and punched
the poor
into smaller
and smaller
portions of
the nation’s map
even as
their numbers
grew in proportion
to the acquisition
of land
by the one percent
which collapsed
into the half percent
then quarter percent
and downward
until one
divided by
everyone else
equals none.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney