Central

Paul located his boundaries.
He pushed on them.
They moved.

He noticed that pushing
one boundary forward
changed the shape

of all of his boundaries
that were out of sight
and momentarily out of mind.

When a boundary moved
his inner landscape
altered as well.

This was neither
a good nor a bad thing
but a true thing.

His inner landscaper
did not like his inner forests
dying off in one place

to instantly regrow
on what had once
been an inner grassland.

His inner buffalo
in a confused and hungry state
head butted his inner dreams

into a reoccurring guilt trip
where his moral compass
played spin the dial.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sweep

Poetry shapes words into daggers
to penetrate the listener.

To say the unsayable
form the wrong words into a mine detector

then glide it over
the vocabulary hidden under your skin

until the beeps quicken
then carefully dig and defuse the proper word.

So much of the poetry I hear at open mic
is the violent loss of virginity before puberty

and the cascading damage
shame perpetrates upon the victim.

Unabashedly revealing that truth
creates beauty from deformity.

Bend a spoon with poetry.
There is no spoon.

Bend yourself with poetry
into the shape of the you to come.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trying To Explain

I’ll try anything once.
Well. I use to.
Age diminished
my adventurous spirit.
As in, I do not like
things that cause trouble.
Especially if trouble feels
like a kick in the shins.

Even if you double dare me
I will not stop in Indiana—
only pass through
on my way to somewhere else
never leaving the highway,
always waiting until Ohio
or the return to Chicago
to fuel the car.

Remaining warm is important.
As the fires of passion burned out,
so did the internal furnace.
Or, maybe, it was my ability
to ignore the cold
that subsided.

I feel fear more easily, now.
It is not that I have less courage.
It is that I have less ignorance.
I have seen too many cattle bones
from a highway stretched
over a drought dry grassland.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Butcher Paper

I keep dreaming my graduation.
I am a window with no sky.

I am part of a room.
A child in the room jingles keys.

The child then jangles a chain.
It is too dark for the child to unlock itself.

The child asks me, the window,
to cease being opaque

and let the sunlight filter through
the dirt and water stained glass.

The disenfranchised sun
taps me on the frame

to remind me my faded paint
peels and flakes to the ground below.

It suggests I open my eyes
and attend to my appearance.

A silence follows.
I realize I have no hands.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney