I remind Dora she is buck naked,
but she does not care,
as she opens the sliding glass door.

She strides outside
to chase a cat out of the yard.
She gardens to attract birds and butterflies.

She stops to refit the birdbath on the stand,
pulls a few weeds, examines the tubes she bundled
for carpenter bee homes.

Dora bites her lip, stretches,
uncovers the love seat under the trellis,
folds the cover up and takes it to the shed,
stores it above the bicycles.

She returns into the house.
Her bare feet track dirt and dried grass clippings
across the carpet, as she heads for her shower.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Sea

On the shoulder
of New Mexico five-twenty-two,
I stopped my car,
while a flock of sheep migrated
from one field to another.
Bleating black faces in a sea of off-white wool,
one dog doing most of the work,
one shepherd dancing and playing air guitar
to tunes his ear-buds relay to his ears.

I wondered if this is what Exodus looked like.
The Dog starred as Moses in this movie version.
North-South road traffic supported as the Red Sea,
which parted for The Dog, The Flock,
The Shepherd, who stumbled on the center line
and went down, crushing his air-Fender
and embedding gravel into his palms.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The highway embedded itself in the desert.
It oozed blackness onto the gravel shoulder.
It bent summer’s heat into mysterious lakes.

The desert did not want the highway.
It missed the ruts of drawn wagons,
the conversations carted by mules and oxen.

Eighteen-wheelers don’t talk much
to the cholla, the saguaro, the buffalo grass,
let alone the salt earth and spare arroyos.

The desert song birds do not sing
for the Department of Transportation foreman,
for the locals hired to put a new layer of asphalt down.

The turkey vultures circle over the thin black line.
They recognize Death’s thin black scrawl
upon the desert parchment.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Oddities Sonnet

Despair infiltrated our bedroom fortress.
It disguised itself as blankets.
It told mythic stories that we dreamed.
It counted the stars using my teeth as an abacus.

The wind kept whispering riddles.
I solved a few of them correctly.
A ghostly score appeared beside my head
to the muffled bing-bing-bing of a pinball machine.

A magpie mocked me each time I passed its tree.
Its tree was just outside our front door.
There was no back door, nor side door to the house.
Those doors were there before the magpie moved into the tree.

The mountain has tired of my footsteps.
It cries Stellar’s Jays where my feet leave a bruise.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


For the people who cannot let go of yesterday,
it is much closer than today.

I mean you cannot sew up the wounds
taken from a twelve pound Napoleon’s canister fire.

When you are the one with needle and thread
the gaping holes allow you to hear bones weep.

I mean blood is the only blanket that makes you colder.
Unless you believe smallpox was distributed in Pendleton’s wool.

Yesterday’s peach trees are nearer than today’s sagebrush.
A hunger bites the reddish-purple canyon walls all these years on.

Copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


What if Eve was first?
What if Eve was the earth and she sprang fully formed from thought?

What if Adam was the afterthought?
What if Adam was shaped with mud, straw and the bones of a baboon?

What if Moses was snapped up by a crocodile
while floating downstream in a basket?

What if Mary helped Joseph lift a roof joist into place
when Gabriel visited their home?

What if the Magdalene was an investment firm CEO?
What if she chose not to support Jesus’ startup?

What if the Christ was a girl?
What if she inspired girls to rise up and overthrow the Temple?

What if Paul remained Saul, a blind beggar filled with nightmares?
What if Paul leveraged the Apocalypse by the end of his life?

What if the Twelve Disciples were a barnstorming baseball team?
What if they regularly lost to the Israelite House of David baseball team from Benton Harbor, Michigan?

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Israelite House of David was a commune with a really, really good baseball team. To read more here is an article from The Guardian. Ken Burns’ documentary on Baseball mentions them as well.

Once upon a time, I read an analysis of the biblical Paul and that he believed the Apocalypse would happen in his life time. After several internet searches I cannot find any reference to this interpretation, so my poem’s line “What if Paul leveraged the Apocalypse by the end of his life?” is not backed up right now. My take was Paul was trying to leverage the end for his own benefit and power within the church. Whether he truly believed it, I don’t know, but assume he did.

There are theories that Mary Magdalene funded Jesus’s ministries. Here is one article, there are others.

I have never liked the male domination of the bible or the modern social structure. My view up into the 1500s is that life was a team effort by all family members to provide the family with a living. Lose either the husband or wife and it collapses or endures tremendous hardships. The loss of a child who is of working age would be economically difficult as well.

There I times I think History is written too often by bitter old men with extreme bias. To the victor goes the spoils and the most valuable of the spoils is writing the history from your point of view.

I feel I begin to ramble.

Love & Light



Paul wonders why there is no Navajo Barbie.
He rolls and smokes shredded pages of Leaves of Grass.
He snacks on corned beef straight from the can.
He gulps Yoo-hoo chocolate drink with a haiku scrawled
in black Sharpie on the pealed-label glass.

Paul wonders why people who are larger than life, look life-sized?
He leans against a downspout waiting for the spider.
He pulls dandelions to give to his girlfriend.
He decides to write a series of his own haiku that girdle the earth
at his current latitude in New Mexico.

Paul adds Albuquerque to his key chain.
He performs sleight of hand tricks
with the coins set on eyes to pay the ferryman.
He writes carols for Easter, Arbor Day and All Halo’s Day.
He gives a damn, a good goddamn, as a tip to the cafe barista.

For three days, Paul pulls the oars in Charon’s boat as a temp job.
He directs thirty-two dogs to be the new church choir.
He totes a burlap sack of prayers to the mountain top.
Twice a week, he lends his legs to a paraplegic Afghan war vet
so he may run his own errands.

Paul’s stomach growls winter grizzly bears into wakefulness.
His hunger is the Gospel of Judas jotted on a daisy-cutter.
He locates a king standing next to a sword-less stone.
He stuffs his pockets with the poems and promises
found along the roadside on his latest walkabout.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney