poems by Kenneth P. Gurney



I lifted the September soap

and began to sponge

my closest companion

that I knew all too well,

but never in this manner.

As my fingers touched

small scars and other imperfections

her body quivered

with a blackness awoken

from some mindful place

and gravity pulled the air

tighter around us.

I did as she asked

and stroked her back

with a pine bough

and the expansive aroma

worked the trick of white light,

illuminating emotional curtains

clinging at the edge of an exhaled breath.

I, too, felt the inadequacy of words

in moments like this,

felt my body’s imperceptible leaning

toward her, before our lips pressed

gently against each other,

once briefly, then

a second time

for an unknown duration.






Thank you for crowing over my drawing

of a window as wrinkled as a prune.


Thank you for your blighted, bittersweet lips

and any ashen complaints they belayed.


The dog’s stump of a hind leg

speaks of a motor car and a day too cold.


Thank you for expanding the horizon

so the sun sets much broader.


The woman standing in the nude

expects your drawing to be an accurate reflection.


Thank you for the mirror image

of her breasts in a placid lake.


The lightning strike of your inspiration

burns and blackens the sand dunes’ tears.


Thank you for adding green grass

encroaching on the barren places transporting snowmelt.


All your color commentary cannot lift into the sky

the bird who hit the window too hard.


I love the plot paintings relate

as they tell me their creation stories.


Thank you for the silent photographs

you stole from a bygone era before film making,


their sense of the everyday,

the tangerine on a highly polished cherry table.


Explain This


Imagine the late passenger

whispering psalms

to disperse depression

and a tangerine melancholy.


You would think there must be song

somewhere nearby

and a chorus dressed in hymnal white

or cross-bearing red.


I entered a wide, calm lake

that resides above the tree line

in an attempt to cleanse my limbs

of sorrow’s deep root.


The late passenger took off her clothes

after she set the swinging lantern of the stars

upon the twenty-third psalm

disguised as a weather-smoothed granite rock.


She entered the drowning chill of the lake

and explained the joy of swans and dogs.

She asked for a guide home.

She asked if my countenance

is the oft-repeated trench

where atrocities are buried.


poems by Kenneth P. Gurney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top