Breath Mint Tin

Milkweed butterflies.
Tartan picnic.
A flower petal dress.

A girl sips tea with dolls.

Her innocent lips.
Her mouth says, open.
No sesame. No forty thieves.

A girl locates a half smoked cigarette.

Hidden in the dirt.
Behind the milkweed
as she sought stones to serve as teacakes.

A girl picks up pieces of a broken promise.

Her fingers run the puzzling edges.
Her fingers peel the white paper.
Tobacco oils stain her fingertips.

A girl pinches her nose.

She traffic-cops her dolls.
There are seven intersections between here
and her bedroom.

A girl sets the paper and tobacco down.

Adjacent to her mother’s lipstick.
Between two citrus scented candles.
On top of her Altoids tin.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Home Fries

In the intersection
outside of the crosswalk
two stray socks,
one gray with red strips,
one white with goldenrod toes,
and a small pair of overalls
printed with Winnie the Pooh
and other characters
from the Hundred Acre Wood
displayed a single set
of tread marks
as traffic grew thicker,
faster and deeper
than my desire
to tidy up the asphalt
as I crossed with the light
on my way for tea,
eggs over medium
and home fries.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

On 23 December this poem occurred on my 2.5 mile walk to the cafe that I use as my poetry office. On this walk, usually the same route each time, I regularly find clothes that are left behind on the sidewalk or in the street gutter or the crosswalk. It gives me the impression that getting one’s clothes safely to the laundromat and back home is not an easy chore. I hope it is not a case of a homeless person trying to keep track of everything they own in a shopping cart and losing part of it. That would make the loss of a few items a substantial loss.

When it comes to homelessness, I find I am more angry with Business over Government. During a period of record corporate profits the nation has one of its highest homeless populations. In my mind, because they have the money, those businesses should be hiring extra people so less folks are homeless. All of the major religions tell their followers to aid the poor. I understand there are places in California (LA and SF) where rents are so high that people working full time become homeless when a little adversity hits their lives.

I think many people forget that profit is not a goal or an end. It is a measure. It is an incomplete measure, because it does not take into account the quality of life of all the people who work in the business or interact with the business. Imagine if Google reduced its profit by 100 million dollars to employ an extra 20,000 people at a good wage. Google would still be profitable and a viable business and it would improve the lives of so many people. I believe conscientious investors would be accept the slightly lower dividend for a better country, city, or neighborhood.

I wonder how any of us would like an extra $100 of dividends if it came at the cost of 10,000 people being laid off. As an investor and a conscientious human what would that make me to profit from the pain of others? I do my best to invest responsibly on social and environmental issues.

All this thinking from two socks and a small pair of overalls outside a crosswalk on a busy street’s asphalt. Hmmmm.

Hey. Do the small things that make a difference today. You know: smile, say please and thank you, and et cetera.

Love & Light.

Kenneth