There is something important I need to tell you
but I am afraid the osage orange hue of my words
will be lost to your black and white ears
thus your understanding of my meaning
will be flattened though possibly artistic.

It does not help that I know
you have lost hearing in your right ear.
So only your left ear will hear
what I have to say and the words I use to say it.
I fear that makes your interpretation too liberal.

I wish I had something simple to say
like please squeeze a lime on the sliced avocado.
Or three out of the four Minnesota Vikings
defensive front line known as the Purple People Eaters
made it into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio

It would be different if this was October
and orange leaves on their way to brown
hung over your head like the butter knife of Damocles.
Especially if the western hemisphere finally adopted
Oriental medicine and merged it with mainstream treatments.

I know by now I have lost your attention
dissembling as I do about my worries
and so there is little reason to say anything at all
since you picked up the remote
and brought up the program guide on the telly.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


First day post school.
University graduation a blurry memory.
Father says you must pay room and board now.

Your windbreaker covers
your shirt and the top of your jeans.
Some wind sneaks down the back of your neck.

White tennis shoes cover
multi-colored wool socks.
Appropriate for a job interview?

No one beat down your door
to ask you to join their firm or think tank.
No class taught you to prepare a resume.

The sidewalk stretches
past retail establishments.
You are familiar with them having shopped at each.

You are overqualified for each Help Wanted
but you need six hundred dollars for rent
by the end of the week

or father will move your stuff to the curb
like throwing your six year old self into the lake
to teach you to swim.

Mother does not talk to you.
She swept you out the door four years ago.
And quickly again after each break.

University did not teach you
how to perform under this type of stress.
The Sword of Damocles was a story you read in lit.

The world did not seem so large yesterday.
Back to the paper mills as during summer break?
Or onward to a Masters and increasing student loan debts?

There is Horace Greeley’s advice.
Oregon territory or the desert southwest.
One hundred and eleven dollars and pocket change.

Flee the Midwest protestant work ethic?
No car. A Greyhound ticket would defer the struggle
ninety-six hours until arrival.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney