No Bells or Whistles

Mirrored prayers
turned into yellow dots—
grinning emojis
on digital messages
typed during the start
of Sunday service.

The vicar sermonized
about gun violence
and his words
turned into black dots
that struck
the hearts and minds
of the parishioners
then became holes
you could see though.

By the time
of the benediction
no one remained
except for a child
on his hands and knees
playing Candy Crush
with his smart phone

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dog chasing cat movies
went viral.

The cats sprinted up trees
to escape.

This was repeated
by differing species all over the world.

In thousands of postings
with billions of views.

A thousand million people
worry about the cat.

How the cat will get out of the tree.
Thus home.

No smart-phone documentarian
has yet filmed

a dead cat in a tree.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


I failed to remember
the names I learned yesterday.

I remember the faces
that now have no caption with a name.

I possess GPS coordinates
of all of yesterday’s meetings and introductions.

My phone is not smart enough
to bluetooth the names and addresses of everyone I meet.

If my phone was smart enough
imagine all the people’s names and addresses

I accumulated out of proximity
rather than introduction and conversation.

Imagine if I could then sort all my contacts
by pulse rate or daily steps.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Never Forgot How To Fly

Paul cracked two eggs into a skillet.
He broke both yokes.

He considered wearing only a star-spangled tie
and nothing else.

It was too cold for such silliness.
His objection had nothing to do with his love handles.

Paul realized his life is in the middle
of a horrible accident that ends in explosions.

His smart phone glass radiated cracks.
That was seven mirrors worth of bad luck.

Last week he removed the gold in his teeth
for beer money on Two-for Tuesdays.

Paul worked cataloguing the world’s sins.
His recent favorite was Wrath.

Even though he watched The Great Escape
fifty-one times, he identified

with characters who got recaptured
or gunned down after a chase scene.

Long ago he stopped trying
to let his life follow God’s plan.

He’d seen the blue prints.
He was a nested egg swallowed whole by a snake.

Paul decided to live like the walking dead.
This allowed him to throw away his cares.

His cares were plucked by a drunken violinist
stuck in a balcony playing background music.

The inevitable explosion came as he noted
Lori’s phone number in his black book.

His afterlife party released a broad assortment
of caged birds from world zoos.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney