Do No Harm

Of the last four people I know who had hospital surgeries,
three of them died from post-op complications.

Those types of statistics prejudice me against health care.
You know. The cure is more deadly than the disease.

I blame it on small specialized boxes
and an inability of doctors to think outside of those boxes.

I blame it on the healthcare industrial state
and beancounters desperate to insure six figure paychecks.

I blame it on health insurance companies
because it is easy to label them the Judas Goat.

Last month was the date for my annual physical.
I found no reason to go.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Letting You Feel Lighter Than Air

I could call you a friend.
Ask for your salt.
Ask for your sand.

I love the somber sea foam
as its bubbles burst
when the water recedes.

I love the mineral spring
with its whitish crystals
crusting granite and animal tracks.

I love you friend.
You are a house full of children’s voices.
A cool breeze bare of secrets.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Some days my mind is glossy.
Some days it is matte.

Take a full color picture of me.
One utilizing both the seen and unseen
bands of light.

Show me whether witches or demons
surround me in wretched positions
or if angels with perfect teeth
grin with pleasure when I say please and thank you.

Show me my aura in colorful displays
and interpret those to the nth degree
with your metaphysical books and charts
as you practice your desire to earn an easy buck.

I promise I am not Christian or Satanic
or some dead religion older than Genesis.

Please excuse me if my voice oscillates from my throat
at frequencies so red as to be nearly invisible
as they catch some radio waves.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The day creates a maze to navigate.
Some people are not good at determining direction.
Others not good at left turns.
A few with twine, learn their ball is not big enough.

After hundreds of wrong turns
progressively produce more and more cuss words
I swear off cussing and lie down for a nap
in the muddle of the path.

My muddle of the path
blocks other maze walkers.
They collect about me in small talk
like my prone body is a water cooler.

I wake up and we take the first few
clumsy steps toward helping each other out.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Just Do It

A three year old girl
gleefully walks
with a swinging gate.
She propels
her prosthetic right leg
with her hip muscle.
Her mother delays
everyone who wishes
to be helpful.
The girl proudly
descends the stairs
without mother’s hand.
She sprints
toward a booth
with pink salt in the shaker.
She hoists herself
up onto the padded bench.
Her prosthetic leg
sticks straight out.
She bends the metal
at the knee joint and loudly
announces the achievement.
Her mother joins her.
She does not insist
on a booster seat or a bib.
They share an order of eggs,
green chile sausage
and home fries.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


On Monday, 9 September, about 9:30 a.m. I watched the above scene unfold at the cafe where I do most of my writing. The girl was a delight to watch as she explored the cafe. Nothing slowed her down. I appreciated that the girl’s mother just let her be a kid and did not hover or worry. The girl fell once, but picked herself up and got going again.

Love & Light


Against The Wall

Our poetry group
allows a class of psych majors
to observe us
as we undertake writing exercises
and read first drafts to each other
for critical review.

One doctor sharpens
2B pencils
to be helpful
oblivious to the fact
all of us write in ink.

They stand witness
of the altered behavior
caused by their viewing.

We are accustomed
to writing poetry in crowded cafes.
Given a few minutes
we tune them out
and return to our normal behavior.

The session concludes
in a surprise birthday song
with cake & candles for Joanne.
The doctors reappear
from where ever it was
we vanished them to
and they partake
at Joanne’s insistence.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

People Involved

The bulldozer
crushes our old victorian.
It clears the way
for someone’s new home.

Those folks have
what we do not possess—
money enough
to pay the bills.

The brutal backside
of their bright dream
splinters lathed walls
and removes

When the trees
they plant in this yard
take full root,
no one will ever know
we were once here,
unless they peer
into the historic
photo book
they absently place
on the coffee table.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney