Hemisphere

Paul wakes a couple times each night out of breath.
He claims it is the fight to prevent ghosts from stealing his dreams.

His doctor prescribes a sleep study without Paul’s consent.
The noisy exhale of forest fires wraps the clinic in secrecy.

On arrival Paul quickly discovers he does not speak
the local tongue and his car does not care to taste the gravel lot.

Before lying down Paul checks the premises for a rescue dog
agitated by the purr of a rotating fan.

Sleep not finding Paul in his own bed mopes about
telling its tragic story to any who will listen at the corner bar.

Radio waves triangulate on Paul’s location
and transmit poems to his left wit, knowing his right wit is deaf.

A weather forecast keeps chiming into Paul’s verse
as an unexplained door bell in search of an on-off button.

Not catching a single wink all night
Paul repatriates himself back to his own home.

He discovers all the poems he wrote in his head during the night
appear on his desk in a white legal pad written in sepia ink.

The ghost writer settles back into a haunted book
that recounts the Civil War Battle of Valverde where he died.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Born Outside Chicago

In Albuquerque Lincoln is not someone
who gets spoken about much.

Not even on his birthday
which has been compacted into President’s day.

His name is remembered
for the Lincoln County cattle wars

which included Billy the Kid
and sheriff Pat Garret.

It does not matter that the Civil War
was fought as far west as the Rio Grande.

Our big battles of Valverde Ford and Glorieta Pass
are barely skirmishes compared to the fighting

in Virginia and Tennessee
and mostly unknown to the average citizen.

I doubt Lincoln ever sent an official communication
to Edward Canby the Union commander in New Mexico.

I am sure the War department
sent orders and directives from Cameron and Stanton.

Every couple years I make the two day drive
to Springfield Illinois to refresh myself on all things Lincoln.

And then on to Santa Claus Indiana for his boyhood home
and on to Hodgeville Kentucky to visit his birth place.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney