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~ Calgary Poetry Magazine - ft. Kenneth P. Gurney ~
Calgary Poetry Magazine.

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Published June 8, 2016

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Once, as we spooned in a refrigerated pie plate.
I felt all chocolatey and whip cream,
until the lights turned on
to reveal the petrie dish lined with an old flame’s
current Match Dot Com digital mug shot
printed in a colored ink dot matrix.

It turns out, I was alone, spooned
a Rom Com streaming video
a few moments before the credits run
and outtakes play in the backdrop.

I remained in the petrie dish
doubtful about the plush
of my velvet smoking jacket
and pondered the possibility
that this well tailored item
might be some technicolor mold,
though it seemed to have grown
from a sexual innuendo whisper
the cyan printer cartridge laid across
my old flame’s gothic lips.


The year AIDs became big news,
nine of my friends returned their ash, their dust
for a new breath of God.

It is the only year I feel loneliness served me well,
extended my life.

Our connection was poetry, art,
that mutual sense of odd person out
and how a diverse community forms
especially on the fringe.

Rick explained, while in the hospital,
that his biggest fear
was that the good ol’ boys
who beat him with a baseball bat,
might contract the virus
from his splattered blood.

Karen, after kissing Kim’s cold lips
asked me to sit and drink tea until all hours,
talk DeKooning and Kierkegaard
and hold her hand at midnight
when she let pills take her over the threshold
to Kim’s heavenly embrace.
And she asked me to drive fourteen hundred miles
with their mixed ashes and spread them
in a mystic place she mapped
with a polaroid of black rocks, petroglyphs, desert sage
and September butterflies.

I hold a group photograph, ten of us at odd angles,
smiles and laughter worn on every face,
from a time when ignorance was thought to be a grace.


I reside in a country with no language.
Hug me.

My mind invents new sounds that never attached to meaning.

You gave me an out of date map
and the only X resides in the antique copyright year.

A woman sings the creek current under a flutter of leaf shadows.

I am among strangers.
My family is pure invention—random cemetery bones fleshed out.

The wolves settle upon a meadow.
The wolves feast upon my hallucinations.

A disembodied flute fingers the wolves as kinsman.

I chart paw prints along the aspen-glow stream,
rotate the starry meadow for a better howl at the moon.

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA with his beloved Dianne.
He has seven poetry books out in the world, the latest of which is Stump
Speech.  He is the former editor of Adobe Walls anthology of New Mexico
poets. For a listing of his publishing credits visit his website at
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Poetry by Kenneth P. Gurney

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