Never Liked ABBA

Until this poem
I spent little time
considering my Saxon-Norse-ness
or how the Viking genes
dominated more in me
than in my siblings.

I mean I am six feet
five inches tall
blonde hair
with one percent more
than most white people.

Then I consider
the perpetrated violence
from the slaughter at Lindisfarne
through the Battle at Hastings
and wonder if
nearly a thousand years
is long enough
for my genetic memory
to allow me
to forgive myself.

I accept when I was young
my biological heritage
caused me great ecstasy
at the British invasion
though I wished
the Dave Clark Five
to chart-top the Beatles
every week of the year.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bear Shirt

War was
our first language.

When I sing
our common prayers
my body fills
with the voices
of our proclaimed heroes.

And our thunder god.

My spirit rises
on a sea of mead
and its waves
pound my skull’s shore.

A golden halo
wreaths my head
to light my eyes
and pierce
the fog of war
to illuminate
the skins
my sword
will brand red.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney



I stood on a longboat.
A pretend viking sporting a mohawk.

The oars dipped into Lake Erie.
Strong backs at work.

Meteorologists predicted the fog to lift.
It did not lift.

To a degree we were irrelevant.
Our identities remained inconsistent.

We shifted through time. Past to present.
Present to past.

We made up new names
for our godly pantheon.

We made up betrayals
to focus our energies.

The foghorn moved
from front to side to back.

I have no memory
of how I earned the name Thor.

I think my shipmates
learned I was born on Thursday.

But it could be that I
cloaked the ship in fog.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney