Monday, September 12, 2011

Kenneth P. Gurney: Three Poems

Late Bloomer

I was one of those slow kids
a few years before there was such a word as dyslexia.
My feet were very fast back then
and I won all the schoolyard foot races.
I am told by my doctor 
that I was one of those lefties forced to be right-handed.
My doctor is sure of this 
because I am left footed when kicking a ball.
Though I am six-feet four-inches tall
my basketball potential remains grossly neglected.
The irony that keeps me out of shopping malls
is that clothing stores put the tallest sizes down by the floor.
The earliest part of my youth that I remember clearly
coincides with the one-hundredth anniversary 
of the American Civil War.  Now you understand
my home library’s prejudice and must read my uncle’s book. 1
I was thirteen when I started exploring rebellion:
I became a Chicago Cubs fan, which drove my south-side mother crazy. 2
The oddity of my education that I am most proud of
is that I graduated four-hundred and second out a high school class
of five hundred students, yet still managed to attain
the top ten percentile in my college entrance exams.
1 my uncle, Walter Hebert, is the author of the civil war related biography "Fighting Joe Hooker".
2 a Chicago south-sider would, by geography, be a White Sox fan, as my mother most definitely was.


If you walk the road 
Dianne paints
to its very end,
you will find
that the blue of the sky
beyond the mountains
is not a hue you expect
or the same as the sky 
you see upon the canvas.
There is a deer
on the back side of the mountain
that she painted two days ago
that changed meadows
that found a field
where the butterflies erupt
from their sleeping places
once the sun clears the eastern ridge
and dries the dew from their wings.
There is a house waiting for you 
beyond the background.
A log cabin that rough brushstrokes 
placed upon the canvas
near the stream that feeds the lake
where you will fish 
and the migratory waterfowl
will land.
But you do not see these things.
You are too focused on the foreground
on the brightly colored images 
as the abstract forms boggle your mind.
Dianne explains how they form
a sky, a mountain range, a road
which viewed from twenty feet back
form a face that is your face.
But you have trouble seeing that image. 

My Sweet Away

It seems you are away again,
but your framed drawings 
nail a sense of you to the wall.
This coordinated abandonment
echoes through the ages
to mother, to the church. 
My old routines become new
without you present in our picture—
become old in two days.
The fanfare of your return 
arrives adjacent to the glitter of bagpipes
and flags and biker patriotism.
Your voice dusts the silence
off your paintings where my eyes
settled in taciturn longing.


Kenneth P. Gurney lives Albuquerque, NM, USA.  He edits the poetry anthology Adobe Walls.
His latest book is This is not Black & White.  For a full listing of his publishing credits and books
visit his website.

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