Where You Are

We seek each other out.
We are not hard to find.
You in your studio.
Me in my poetarium.

We speak something akin to religion.
We speak something to raise our spirits.
Our incantation of togetherness.
I love you.

The words paper the walls
of every room in the house.
They dot the backyard
like birds pecking the seed we spread.

I did not give up
on the search for home,
but accepted I found it
where you are.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Balance

Antiseptic romance.
A celibacy celebration.

A scratch without an itch.
Unscathed by complications.

No matter how little sunshine
there are shadows.

Precious freckles.
Glasses askew.

Childish voices set aside.
Repair to the confidential quarter.

A conversational flush.
A rash of old fears.

How to make love’s underbelly
as good as new.

Yes. The scars remain red.
Day old at best years later.

Look at the stars.
Choose one and wish.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sitting

My moss-laden tongue
confirms my muleheaded silence.

We share porch-swing condolences.
We share a pot of licorice tea.

Dora crafts mud figurines.
She rewrites formulaic principles.

She references Hawkeye in one-sided conversation.
We observe the exact instant the tide turns.

My careworn vocabulary lines up for roll call.
I love you survives a forlorn hope.

We view the next world’s separating membrane.
We swear mutual fealty.

Dora summons a sun-steeped red sky.
She performs Buffalo Nickel magic tricks.

We harvest heirloom stars for new wishes.
We store them in a sweetgrass basket.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

forlorn hope is the first wave of an assault into the breach of a fortified position and usually sustained extremely high casualties if not get wiped out. I applied poetic license to this meaning.

Point Where Two Curves Meet

I cannot see my grandparents.
I thought they would wait for me
on the cusp of the apocalypse.

Maybe they are there
but I do not recognize them.

Maybe I do not see them
because I never knew what they looked like.
There were no photographs.

I look around for Mom and Dad.
No bickering, so they are not around.

Maybe this darkness with an edge
is not the apocalypse after all.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

It was only after my parents’ death that I learned of a photo album that contained images of my grandparents. I was born after three of them had passed away. I knew my paternal grandfather briefly with only one clear memory of him sitting in a chair in our house at Christmas when I was five years old.

I do not know a way of measuring the effect of having or not having grandparents in your life, how their presences shapes you, and so on. Also I do not know how to measure how their loss affected my parents’ (or anyone’s parents’) attitudes and practices in raising children.

My guess is, through lack of knowing my grandparents, I failed to appreciate family history, the farm, the immigrant experience and how it shaped the family. Simply put, I never got to hear them tell the stories of their lives.

Dianne walked in and wants to hang out. And our brief conversation that initiated hanging out knocked the thoughts I was leading to out of my brain. So If any of you have a thought about the previous three paragraphs, please leave a comment.

Love & Light.

Kenneth

Promontory

In the years we bathed in gasoline
and played with matches,
I attained most of my extremes
and never wished to return.

We separated after a year
of burning photographs
and stethoscopes
and all of our money.

She now lives outside
a city on an ocean bay
that regularly knows flooding
and shuttered fishing boats.

I now live on a mountain
where sorrow has thickened to granite.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney