Paul deduced that Time
was not something God created.

As far as he could discern
all of God’s creations

stopped for a while to rest
and recover

but time never missed a beat
even when he missed

one of time’s beats
if not three or four in a row.

His heart which beat without stopping
did speed up and slow down

but time only sped up or slowed down
in the scope of his human perception.

Paul thought about the sun
and its fission and fusion

of atomic particles
and how it created elements

only up to iron
before going nova the first time.

But that going nova proved
a beginning and end of the star

no matter how seemingly countless the days
from ignition to boom.

I suggested Time was created
by Missus God

but received an ungracious grunt
and dark look for my effort.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


One chamber of my heart
nests three of four hamsters
where they rest in a furry ball
with pink noses sticking out.

The second chamber
holds the wheel
where the on-duty hamster
runs to keep the power on.

A third chamber
acts as a pantry to store
greens and seeds
the hamsters enjoy.

The fourth has a nozzle
that leads back to a hollow rib
that I refill daily
with fresh water.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul realigns his molecules
so his tongue is imperceptibly sharper
more ready for a cutting retort.

A drunken boat floats
his party of six upon a recitation
of some titanic Shakespearean verse.

Paul realigns his molecules
so his eyes form clearer windows to peer
both outward and inward.

Misreading his face
an inebriated girl wings into his left eye
shattering herself on the sky’s reflected blue.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

New Old West

Several floors below heaven
a passing train startles Paul awake.

His cotton mouth misspeaks
the planet’s name to a oompah band’s brass.

This unintentional misdirection
opens a seam in the universe to another

where twenty-seven children
wear cardigans and sob at the direction

of an orchestra conductor
lifting a photogenic baton.

Paul wets his face at a hands-free faucet
while portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte

and Thomas Jefferson eye each other
from adjacent sides of the mirror.

Paul notices his doll-skin pallor.
He thinks this a clue to contact his therapist.

But is afraid to interrupt happy hour
half way around the globe.

As he towels water off his face
a gunmetal quote appears on the mirror’s surface

as a cloud wishing thunder
not Smith & Wesson shots fired in a hold up

of the morning train’s mail car
as it clickity-clacks out of Dodge City, Kansas.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Glass Houses

We built a house of glass.
We kept throwing stones.

The glass we used was bullet proof.
Thrown stones bounced off.

The seals were not tight enough.
Rain entered the house.

After the rain the sun shown in.
Greenhouse effect fogged the glass walls.

Our glass foundation unintentionally formed
an expansive ant farm.

The glass ceiling gave us
the spectacle of lightning storms.

We threw stones at passing clouds
to burst them before reaching our house.

Often the thunderheads
dropped hailstones in response.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul wondered what happens
when a window looks sideways.

He had wondered this since
nineteen-thirty four—

fifty years before he was born
into a midwest city with a lot of snow.

Around the time young men become fathers
Paul wondered

what happens when he looks sideways
instead of inward or outward.

He thought this on a train into Chicago
when staring at other people’s irises

was frowned upon by some rules
he discovered were unwritten.

Paul looked out the train at the scenery,
but the sky was tinted green

just as the window glass was
and the daffodils looked a little sickly.

Realizing he noticed the hazel tone
of a passenger’s irises,

he looked down at his shoes
and felt he participated in some joke

his father used to tell on those days
he had to be a patient.

Involuntarily, Paul’s hand swiftly rose up
and struck his forehead.

Paul wondered what happens
when a window looks down

and sees it has no feet
for shoes to be worn upon.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Schizophrenic Dopey

On a snow white morning,
I woke up and realized,
once and for all time,
that I was Grumpy!

This truth was quickly confirmed
when I discovered
the decapitated bodies
of six metaphysical midgets
strewn about my one-room house,
their floppy hats covered
rigor mortise erections,
and all their hi-ho smiles
were wiped from their contorted faces—

The raven-haired beauty
slept in someone else’s bed,
dreaming she had escaped
the poison apple.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Brilliant As A Twenty Watt Bulb

Paul sailed a crisp piece of toast
over a Land-O-Lakes sea,
stormed the Normandy kitchens
with a hollow handle master butter knife
and a jar of orange marmalade.

He navigated dime novels
and prestidigitators’ misdirections
to bring you a high wire
newspaper headline
from below the fold.

Paul stood on one leg,
while he revealed
he replaced his stomach
with an unknotted birdcage,
a rainbow plumed parakeet on the swing.

The bird consumed nuggets
of traumatized wisdom passed down
from midnight voices heard
at the edge of dreams
and the clicks of opening pistachio shells.

Paul sat on the dictionary
hatching new words
the likes of which would label him
brilliant as a twenty watt bulb
instead of crazy like a lox smear on a bagel.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Medicinal Beach

There is no hope
for black licorice
turned into swizzle sticks
to stir up old radio songs
with crushed ice
replacing screaming teenage girls
held back by the thin blue line
of the occasional blip
on a seismograph
that cannot account for hours
of waves depositing
a hundred thousand
boxed Star Wars action figures
on a medicinal beach
where Dora likes to sit
reading Prospero’s books
under a staged confession
to setting the shoreline afire
so it would carbonize
into a coal-black stick.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Just me having fun with language. Enjoy the penultimate day of 2019.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.