Agency

Jesus was rummaging around
looking for a stray sock
checking all his shirts,
his sheets, the towels,
inside the legs of folded blue jeans
in the drawer.

It was important he find it.
He felt immortal only in this pair of socks.
He was not up to a three-way FaceTime
with the other two Holy Trinity members
without that particular woolen pair
covering his feet.

Jesus was pretty sure
a new time on earth was about to be ordered.
It would not be the overall second,
but the thirty-second time since the last pandemic.
Usually it was to take his place
along side the Doctors Without Borders.

He guessed which hotspot
would be his destination.
His calculations placed him
at an Indian Health Services Agency
on the Navajo Reservation
in the northwest corner of New Mexico.

Jesus found the sock
on the laundry room floor
where it must have fallen off
the basket edge where it hung to air dry
just as the instructions
on the packaging recommended.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Action

I swear I did not build the atomic bomb.
Nor test it at the Trinity site.

That label landed on me.
It fell out of the blue and became a meme.

It happened the one day
I did not listen to the local or national news.

That same day, I did not
follow my doctor’s expert advice .

It had something to do with seeking
my parents’ approval long years into adulthood.

I just wanted to bicycle back roads
until the end of the new century.

I swear the ketchup on the play room carpet
dripped while creating gunshot wounds in a homemade western

with my iPhone’s video feature
in the company of thirty stuffed animals.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Star Spangled Tie

Exposed sky covers itself with clouds.
Extreme extinction endlessly on the cusp.

Make no mistake when cooing.
Make no swallows of ginkgo-numeric tea.

The barn awaits a clean sweep.
The barn stores folk songs in the loft.

Unimaginable pain fleets an uncertain future.
Unrequited pain finds a bar and orders.

I understand you meant your other Yes.
I depend upon the impossibility of your No.

No ticker-tape rains on our parade.
No jazz to twist into balloons over our heads.

Sequined words sewn on a poem sparkle.
Shoulder blade cuts steak into bitesized pieces.

This morning will return in March reruns.
This evening bruises all the good girls and boys.

God’s plan, all in tatters, drifts on streets as litter.
God’s trinity is boycotted as a good ol’ boys club.

I create a suit to clothe your needs.
I tattoo a star spangled tie to your chest.


Copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

This poem is a fancy made from word play and stream of consciousness. If you find a deeper meaning to it, please educate me with a comment.

Preference

Lori choked
on the devil.
He dressed himself
in yellow mustard,
egg yoke and paprika.
She prefers him
in snake form
wrapped around
a tree limb
offering temptation
in the guise
of forbidden
knowledge
about the trauma
of therapists’
rag doll demonstrations—
snow white ghosts
too many years
in closets scared
by the vast salt flats
expanding away
from the doorframe
under a sky
of circling vultures
knowing Los Alamos
is up to something,
but not what
when they call
on the Trinity.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Challenge

I want to be myself.
I am too practiced at being someone other.
I am blessed with peripheral awareness
and becoming what others need in the moment.
I lie to myself with such sentiments.
I am blessed with fear, the vulnerable memory
of being verbally beaten out of myself too much when young.
I had grievously grieving parents to please for survival.
Such is a child’s perception of devouring sorrow.
I hope, one day, I may see myself in the mirror
not as a villain, but a hero in search of a story.
I lie to myself with dreams of dreaming such hero stories.
I borrow heroes from my favorite novels
and dress myself with their persona for a day or two.
None of those heroes slay the people who raped me
in the gravel alley outside my grade school.
Heroes do not slay past memories.
Heroes are not written to allay these painful memories.
The gravel tells me, Do not to throw stones.
The gravel does not wish to be the instrument of my vengeance.
I still hear the gravel’s voice, especially inside my glass house.
I set my unrequited vengeance upon the gravel a year later.
Our Lord God Trinity can pick my vengeance up if they so choose.
I have not viewed God as a man since the day I was raped.
I believe my female God Trinity will love me into myself.
She tells me I must take my sad life and mold it into a better one.
She tells me happiness is selfish, joy is communal.
I shudder several times not knowing what to do with this gospel.
I am the sum of my choices and memories.
I am too many irrational numbers.
I am the tool of smooth, flat, oval stones
that wish to visit the bottom of a placid lake
after several hops and skips across the water’s surface.


Copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

POSTSCRIPT

Dianne and I debated whether to include this poem in the umflop blog or not. I think the quality of the poem is good, but the subject matter is very personal. We tried to measure the balance of revealing too much of myself compared to the artist’s task to speak for the community. To speak for those who have no voice.

Since you read the poem on this blog, you know what our final decision.

Over the years, I have learned that gaining acceptance of the past is better for me than gaining understanding. I will never understand why violence was committed against me, but I can accept that it was and lay that memory down into the past instead of carrying it around with me adversely affecting the present.

Follow Your Bliss

Being the son of God,
Jesus could have been anything.
He chose to be a street corner preacher,
but in a rural sense at first.
I understand. There was a job to do
and father to please
and humanity to save
and to navigate
the Holy Ghost Trinity issue.

I appreciate his devotion.

On his second earthly
bodily appearance
I hope he does his own thing
whether it is
little league baseball,
piano lessons,
Four-H farm projects,
beach bum,
abstract expressionist,
forensic accountant,
beat cop,
beat generation historian,
urban slam poet
—whatever
emanates
from his heart.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

POSTSCRIPT

Happy Bastille Day. My favorite ironic note about Bastille Day is I read that the King of France, Louis XVI, made a diary entry of Not much happened today. Boy oh boy was he in for a surprise.

If you do not remember, Joseph Campbell is the guy who suggested people follow their bliss as a way of living life.

For reasons unknown, I like picturing Jesus doing the gardening, just because he likes doing it. I think we do not picture our heroes doing every day things often enough to bring them closer to us. Imagine Gandhi playing cricket. Or Mother Teresa playing the card game bridge or whist at a table with three other people. Imagine any hero you have doing laundry at the coin operated laundry because their washer at home is broken. That image brings them off the pedestal and into the neighborhood.

Love & Light

Kenneth