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................................................................................................ Photo by Holly Northrop:"Polaroid:#257"

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

Shoe Half Buried

It is the early morning hours,
when I bargain with loneliness
not to hurt me too much
and all my calls to Jesus
return busy signals or voice mail
that never receives a response.

Though I've promised my soul
to love myself, it is difficult
in the absence of a river
that knows how to reflect the sky
exactly as it is.

And I've learned that the small,
constantly ignored pain in my spine
shallows my breath
and tightens my muscles,
yet I remain ignorant of the greater part
of who I am.

It is here beneath the bridge
that crosses the river, where
the pigeons flock themselves
into communion, that I like to sit
on the mornings when the sun
is too bright for my open eyes.

Look, the clouds float both above
and below the rusty girders
and a part of the world's duality
becomes as clear as the exposed
shopping cart stuck
in the mirky river bottom
during this fifth week of draught.

Somewhere in my right palm
is the memory of a woman's hand,
but today it is so far away -
there must be a place where my hand
will reach out again for another's
and the river's run over the rocks
speaks of mercy, instead of simply
being a vehicle to float
the dead fish down stream.

On the far side, the bank
where the running trail resides,
a clot of colorful wind breakers
glide the asphalt as easily
as the ducks ride the water's current.

My palm has that feeling
of something turning
over and over - a rose quartz
kept as a tangible prayer
rock-a-byes in my hand,
as my fingers claim
a rosary of one, single bead.

Listen, I hear the tapping feet
of the runners as they pass
under the bridge, by the trees
shedding their leaves, by
the raspberry bushes long picked clean
and the muddy beer bottle shards
of the nearby school.

My legs know that paradise
resides in motion,
so I rise from the shadows,
adjust my hat and take the first step
to catch up, to realize the freedom
of heavy breath.


I want to tell the story of what happens next,
but I don't know. It isn't here yet.

It is not written in the stars
or in the printed cards of tarot.

My imagination is not hyperactive anymore.
It let go of that burning desire,
that constant spinning of threads
that connects the planets for astrology.

It doesn't matter if I hear the trumpets,
Doppler's red shift approaching
on the flatcar of fifteen steady notes.

It doesn't matter if the sun casts
my shadow fore or aft.

Before there were Gods or Monsters

With her new passport,
Amy travels everywhere,
no longer needs the poets,
the prophets fevered with religion
or the myth-makers
to be her eyes and ears.

Amy learns the path of wisdom
through all her actions mislabeled

She travels to all the historic battlefields
where disputed facts rumbled
like the thunder that cracked the sky.

Pythagoras truly did believe in former lives.
Once he was a cucumber. In another
a sardine. Amy's dreams tell her
he is now her cocker spaniel, Jo.

Amy travels to Jerusalem, for weeks
sits quietly in a cafe, then heedless
of the elements and insolent population
travels by foot to the place where
the earth melts upon the tongue of the hungry sea
only to watch how the water is lapped up
by the famished earth.

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