Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kenneth P. Gurney

Oboe without a reed

A single size seven shoe
parked in the alley way
blocks all the traffic,
both in and out.
The girls smell of orange peels,
cinnamon and a fifty-seven Chevy.
I laid my last adventure to rest—
an Adidas box, size twelve
with a broken pair of red laces.
The girls wanted their sex
to be in the public forum,
in the news, the olds
and the inbetweens.
It could have been oral,
but my penpal is allergic to phones,
loud banter and, usually, signs her name
in Sanskrit characters.


Delphi, who reads the stars,
fails, regularly, to read
her own heart.
She spends her morning
crying out her misunderstandings
and wonders how
her illusions
regularly beat out reality
when it comes to men.
Delphi places the tarot
back in their box.
No matter what pattern
the cards place themselves
on the table, they
do not cause her bed
to welcome a man’s weight
to bend the mattress.
She finds her breath again,
lets it go and draws it back,
finds the comfort of sleep
only when alone.

State of Mind

Spilled coffee and cat piss
fumes rise from the sofa.

An anonymous cock leaves a stain
on the inside of April's cheek.

The mop died years ago
and the floorboards suffer through neglect.

His hands stroke her breasts,
squeeze, tweak the nipples until she moans.

Rain attends the broken glass,
the ghost of a window.

He tells her to talk dirty to him.
She says nothing, doesn't feel dirty.

*previously published in Thunder Sandwich #26

Wild Fire

On a cold night
a woman treats a man
like kindling—round stick
rubbed between two hands
spreading sparks.

In this overcrowded brewpub
the problem is sparks landing
on a tinderous floor
of an old growth forest
suffering from long years
of drought.

*previously published in Poetz.com


As the number ten bus
bumps down Humboldt,
I see Lisa rub peanut butter
and jelly on her forehead.

This action distracts me
from staring at her breasts
for just a moment.

I’m not ashamed of my staring.
This is the first time I’ve seen
Lisa’s breasts fully clothed.

If there is such a thing as sacred geometry,
Lisa’s curves possess it.

Most men would seriously consider
worshiping at Lisa’s feet,
but this whole peanut butter and jelly thing
dissuades most of them.

It is an effective tactic for Lisa
to keep the riff-raff away,
prevent them from committing
verbal acts of sexual aggression.

Once, in Chicago, a man on the bus
who was about to be mugged
pissed himself, wet his pants
down to the cuffs. The attacker
walked away in disgust, leaving the man

The golden ratio is approximately:
one point six one eight zero three three nine—
Stradivari is said to have used this ratio
to create his violins.

The bus comes to a stop and grounds itself
at the corner, so the elderly can embark
and disembark with ease.

Lisa steps off the bus, heads toward work
at that peculiar institution
Art’s Performing Center
which, not by chance,
is just up the block
from my destination,
the Performing Arts Center—
a violin evening
of Isabella Leonarda.

*previously published in Mannequin Envy

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