Clay Pigeons

The exit wound
always exceeds the diameter
of the bullet’s initial penetration.

So it is with harsh words.
Just enough velocity to enter
the brain and rattle around,

ricocheting off the bone walls,
shattering self-esteem
like so many clay pigeons.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Lori auctioned off her body parts
each Friday and Saturday night,
but never her kisses.

She has a room within a room
within a room where she waits
the return of herself.

This is a game. This is a shell game.
This is high stakes poker.
This is what a last straw looks like.

Her room has a cold cup of coffee,
the butts of last week’s cigarettes,
a stolen airport sign warning,

Never Leave Your Baggage

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Urban Hollow

The girl making herself invisible
against the interior wall
wears a body language
that says I take up too much space
and if you join me
we will take up much too much space

Her hands tucked behind her back
pull her body into the wall.
She is half way into the wiring.

The inexplicable physics
of this passing through flowered wallpaper
without bruising a single bloom
confounds Paul.

He smiles and waves.

This accelerates the process
as her legs push against the floor
so the remainder of her torso
passes the drywall, framing and nails.

Paul walks quickly to the door
and outside to a point
opposite where she was inside
with the expectation of seeing her
among the thorny roses.

If she is there, she is shadow
along a part of the house
where the lights do not reach.

Paul returns inside,
presses his hand against the wall.
His finger tips detect the slight tap
of her heartbeat.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora sent forth swans
to plunder low self-esteem,
to ravage the casual insults people spread,
to abolish bullying in all forms.

The people were taken aback.
Retreated from the white feathers, black faces
and yellow-orange bills.
They feared the fate of the Children of Lir.

The people sought recourse
for the theft of guaranteed freedoms.
They called upon their congressional representatives.
They petitioned Saint Hugh of Lincoln.

Dora recalled her swans
just before their necks stiffened out of their lovely curves.

copyright 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Children of Lir were turned into swans by their stepmother. See Wikipedia for more about the Irish myth. (Why is it that stepmothers are wicked in the old stories?)

Saint Hugh’s animal symbol is a white swan. Wikipedia Entry on St. Hugh.

When I was in high school I became a voracious reader of mythologies. Being that my ancestors were from the British Isles, I focused at first on Irish, Welsh, Scottish and British Celtic mythologies. Soon I branched over to Norse and the other Scandinavian Countries. In school I had picked up the Greek and Roman. Eventually, I read about India and China’s Mythologies. It seems I moved across the European & Asian continents geographically. I have read very little about native American beliefs.

What sparked my interest? Teen rebellion? No that is not it. More like teen curiosity. It was that time of my life where I began to question all I was taught and religion/spirituality was part of that questioning. (I did not question being a Cubs fan or that baseball was the best sport ever invented.)

Love & Light