Best

I gave you my best self.
It was a first generation copy of my best self.

The original burst into flame
in my therapist’s office.

Good thing I make a back up
every ten days, overwriting the old backup.

It was the best gift I could think to give you.
I thought it would energize our relationship.

If photos recorded how we would be
ten minutes into the future,

each photo would show us taking a new photo.
Obsessed with the future, we’d forget to live in the present.

Imagine me feeding you a strawberry
slathered with whip cream.

I would do it if that would focus us
on that instant together without tangents or drift.

We would learn to tell time to shove off,
so a romantic afternoon

trickled into an evening, a sunset—
us listening to each other like never before.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Twists & Turns

The early bird changes each day.
Junco. Thrasher. Dove. One of several Finches.

Watching them I get the sense
that yesterday is meaningless.

My impression is watery Time
treats them all as duck backs to roll off.

When the hawk arrives
shadow first or on the rooftop

the cholla becomes a prickly shelter
as long as the wee birds keep clear of the thrashers’ nest.

I witnessed a dove out fly a hawk
with tight twists & turns

that any dog-fighting pilot
would envy.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bearing

I think about leaving.
as I sit against a witness tree.
It is all about staying.
It is all about this beloved earth.

I sing time into a fog.
I feel memory unwrap from my being.
As I waft away from gravity
I know memory is the tether that holds me here.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

All The Same Size

I lived in a line.
It was sequential.
There were no do-overs.
I tried a do-under, but that didn’t work either.
Tradition made the line a little less visible.
Singing turned the line into a landscape.

Memory made copies
of small line segments.

I could sort them last in first out.
I could sort them first in first out.
I could create a totally random access.
Like a deck of cards, I threw them
and picked them up one by one.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Freshness Date

I was thirteen.
I was fourteen, fifteen and other numbers as well.

I wanted to live them out of sequence.
An unwritten rule prevented that.

Every human face I have ever known
wears several ages simultaneously.

I am sure you have noted this phenomenon
and wished your eyes sparkled like when you were ten.

Some dates within the calendar of my years
are larger than other dates and my mind returns to them regularly.

I have laid in bed thinking about some of those
mostly because those dates demanded it.

Last night I reviewed sitting low among the rocks
high up above the clouds on the Spanish Peaks

and calming the dogs as a thunderstorm arced lightning
across the tops of the clouds a hundred feet below us.

That was thirty years ago, but the ozone
smells as fresh as if the percussions rumbled through me now.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney