[wpaudio url=”/audio/winter10/gurney.mp3″ text=”listen to this poem” dl=”0″]
We all laughed at the mental institution,
the psych ward, the cuckoos wild upon the tree limb

of the group room, during session, as we
failed in each attempt to navigate the labyrinth

of pain cemented and housed in emotional foundations,
playgrounds where children laughed with cruel glee.

The nurses took away our colorful crayons
when we started writing place names upon the walls

and brought us new canvas, buttonless shirts
with strings attached to ensure conformity.

And still we laughed our sleepless nights away
with jokes as witty as a Tuesday door knock

because it is the only voice we knew—
all our words taken away by daily threats

of violence to the person or cherished toy
and the memory of hurt delivered full strength

when blue was only a dreamed of sky
and gold the wished for sun.