Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Kenneth Gurney

Roadside Flowers

These are not the stop and smell type.
Really. They are weeds with blooms.
The kind you should ignore
or mow down, but that does not stop you
from stopping. Just to look for a moment.
Which turns into five minutes
because you never really liked should’s
or the insistence of punctuality parameters.
It occurs to your mind that you never
see these flowers at the florist
and now that you’ve taken the time
you acknowledge that they are rather beautiful.
Why would anyone want to mow them down
to protect some crumbly asphalt shoulder.
In fact, you pull your swiss-army pen knife
from your pocketed keychain
and cut several stems to gather a handful,
for the office, where you are headed
on this day you chose to ride
your bicycle into work on a secondary road
that the highway department tends to ignore.


She doesn’t want to be fat in spring
and science provides a solution.

Maybe not, if the townsfolk learn
and apply their morals to her.

No one yells at the boy
and that bothers her that he

doesn’t share the verbal beatings,
the damning glances.

He isn’t all black leather
like the rumors state,

but Sunday-go-to-church
and works at the hardware store.

The conviction of popular opinion
places her in chains with no key.

The shame of it all resides
in her parents, constrained in their eyes.

Her Christmas dress doesn’t fit anymore
and she passes on New Year’s Champagne.

By Saint Brigid’s feast she boards
a bus, suitcase in hand,

a black sheep cousin in the city
offers welcome in a letter.


Delphi reads the wind,
the subtle nuances of blown leaves,
the swirl of wrappers by the door.

She says she has no answers,
nor questions, only questing
for a few friends who don’t
chew her up and spit on the sidewalk.

Delphi measures her loneliness
in oceans—today it is Indian,
tomorrow, maybe, Arctic or Atlantic.

She reads the wind,
knows where to go for sustainance
to replace the daily bread
that raises welts in allergic reaction.

Delphi has other people’s answers
and they flock to her, take a measure
of her day, her life, her life force
and think money is a fair trade.

She knows it is not fair trade,
or barter, or a gift from god—
the answers so obvious, blatant,
written everywhere, especially
on the wind.

Woman in an Apron

I would like to tell you
that it is as simple as
slicing tomatoes
or setting the last clean dish
in the drainer.

And it is.

These acts, along with
all the others,
make a life real, valid,
but the simplicity
of living
gets lost
in the complications
of society,

It’s as easy
as the red that drips
from my finger
where the knife
drew thru the tomato
as the wondrous bird song
outside the window
distracted the angle
of the cutting.

Even that sense,
while standing still,
of slipping away
toward the ridge
where the alders
shade the corn
is just as real
as the constant tug
of the dog’s leash
on a walk.

And so are the days
when the only thought
that can be mustered
is the idea
of leaving the house
to walk the dog
or visit the ridge
with the alders
or pick tomatoes
from the vine.

Even in a dream
I am so much myself
and may speak honestly
as the lonely mind is in
the world at large
and not excluded
from influencing
what is about me.

All The King's Men

blue daisies
black rose anthem
new Chinese glyph
disguises g. m. o.
rolls of the dice
cross the rubicon
emperor penguins
parade up main
seek ice cube machines
oh the sting
of almond bees lost
the pollenators’
unstable ladder
humpty dumpty
agro-economy tilt

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