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The Poetry Of..
Kenneth P. Gurney............................


Viola

I hardly recognize you
after the rain kisses
your cheek for an hour.

You do not love brown shirts,
nor corduroy, nor white socks
now that you are in concert.

Locate your true voice
and speak without tears,
tell me about beauty,

about Mexico from a suitcase,
about the big fire on the beach
and the man playing flute.

After your departure I sat
in the cemetery fiddling
about a familiar headstone:

brushed by dew laden grass
drops of water turned
gray the rectangular white stone.

You were so young
when your mother last kissed meó
a small girl practicing cello.

I don't recognize that girl anymore
as womanhood becomes you,
as you mature into your music.

Our small town holds you no more.
Before you place your hat on your head,
kiss me on the cheek, remind me

you love me for all the one-on-one
basketball games, for all the afternoons
playing your cello in the company

of my fiddle.





Fixed

The days crowd together
like the wind blown tumbleweeds
on the baseball backstop.

Delphi holds a rose quartz,
turns it over in her hand,
desires a love to enter

through the door she opened
in the season of dry fields
so they can dance up some rain.

But the road is always empty,
a simple black line dulled
to grey by the sun growing old.

Delphi switches to the slight trails
through the prickly pear, the pinon:
one trail runs up hill into the mountain,

the other down hill to the river
and the long lost royal highway
with the echo of a million feet.

But no one arrives, not even
a coyote to tease her or a crow
on the wings of an omen.

So Delphi tosses her rose quartz
into the air, attempts to hit a cloud,
burst it open, but nothing else falls.

Delphi sits upon the ground, grabs
an old stick turned grey, writes
in the dry dirt the word hello

in thirty-seven different languages,
in five different alphabets,
in script and in block print.

With her stick, Delphi draws
the visage of a man, digs a hole
in his chest, places the rose quartz

where his heart would be, spits
the last saliva of her dry mouth
onto the quartz, on to the earth.

Nothing happens. No magic.
No miracles. No sacred stories
sprout from the lettered ground.

Tired, Delphi turns in,
hangs her life in the closet
like a set of clothes.

She sleeps the sleep of the dead,
unaware of the moon's westward
travels, the mirrored light

cast in the window, the pack rat
that takes her sad shoes
in exchange for a dried kernel of maize.

Delphi wakes to a tumbleweed
brushing up against her door,
how it scratches the wooden frame

like a dog, like a cat, announces
another day begun, another sun
somewhere east of the mountain.





All the poetry in the world

Annie picks blackberry
brandy bottles off a bush,
contemplates suicide,
sings to a Paleolithic fire starter,
pledges sisterhood to all the unseen stars,
takes a vow of silence.

She finds discarded branches begging to be ash,
meadow flowers begging to eat ash,
an ashen grey stone glittering with mica
that she pockets.

Annie imagines all the millionaires
living for a week in tenements,
all the billionaires pushing shopping carts
that contain all their worldly possessions,
all the trillionaires not yet born
being aborted by sixteen year old mothers
at the insistence of billionaire fathers.

She locates all the poetry in the world
and stuffs it in her mouth, chokes on it,
gags, spits it out, then stamps out
a burning love poem before the meadow
catches fire.

Annie picks raspberries
as her eyes adjust to the darkening day.
She tames silence without a whip.
She deeply inhales the last red
of the blazing sunset.
She remains in the meadow
as the cold settles to the ground
and the fog rises, takes shape,
forms the ghosts of conversations past.




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