My guilt goes off like
an egg timer
and I can’t
for the life of me
if my guilt
was destined to emote
for the death
of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo
or Cubs fans’ view of the Amazing Mets
in nineteen sixty-nine.

I researched
gene therapy
to determine
if there is a genetic-switch
that may be turned off
to end guilt in humanity,
but leave shame

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Wikipedia on CRISPR.

Okay. I have no reason to feel guilty about the death of the Archduke and the start of world war one, because I was several decades away from being born. The Cubs late season crash and the surge of the Mets to take National League pennant and then the World Series is something I took on responsibility for because I was a young teen and associated my sports team performance to my life and actions. If I had not shoplifted from a hobby shop a plastic model of a British 6-pounder anti-tank gun, the Cubs would have cruised to victory and the Mets would have finished second.

Actually, if we could eliminate only one, guilt or shame, I think we should eliminate shame. I use the definition of guilt = I performed an act that was wrong, compared to shame = I am what is wrong with my actions. Brene Brown has a really good TED Talk on Listening to Shame.

I am a little past 6 months on this blog entry per day business. Writing enough poetry to keep up with it all is an interesting exercise on stream of consciousness, poetic forms (I have not dropped into haiku and lunes to keep it going), my active imagination (thank you surrealists for encouraging imagination) and persistence. I thought I would write some essays to go on off-days from poetry, but the Postscript portion has taken the place of separate entries.

I think the TV news should speak more to climate change and species extinction and the threat to the viability of humanity with too many humans on a planet.

Love & Light



A pregnant Canada goose waddled across my midsection,
laid eggs on my soft belly and sat. I wondered at the commitment
I was about to make lying still until the hatching.

What was the goose doing in my studio?
Who let her in?
Why did the goose think my belly a good nesting site?

I thought, I could hate this in a day or two.
I realized I gave no permission and this was trespassing.
I asked myself why do Canada geese lay eggs in New Mexico?

I knew I needed to practice quiet.
I knew I needed to practice stillness.
I knew I needed to pee.

If there is a goose present, cattails might grow in my studio.
And cattails would attract blackbirds.
I don’t remember why this is important creatively.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Wikipedia on Canada Geese. They are known to lay their eggs in precarious places or out in the open.

Keeping Pace

I chambered July into my gun.
A woman stopped her bicycle, twisted to look west.
Another wrote the word monsoon on the blue horizon.
Together they combed the sky for clouds trying to glean rain.

My gun was a starter’s pistol.
The bicyclist reached the dissipating Rio Grande.
The turbulent heat ignored the night’s blanket of darkness.
The city lights went black unable to condition enough interiors.

My gun barked at the sky.
A second bicyclist arrived from the Pacific.
A roiling gray cloud on a miles long string tailed her bicycle.
A broken comb-tooth popped the cloud over Central & Fourth.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Americans lined up the Navajo,
one hundred and twenty-three in all, and shot them.

There was no trench made for burial.
The crows and coyotes feasted that afternoon and night.

The Navajo did not rise up.
The songs of their distant loved ones were not so strong.

The Navajo dead lingered and watch the crows and coyotes
disperse their earthly substance.

The one who survived, rose the next morning
and walked the meandering arroyo to my home.

With visible red wounds,
she stood on my doorstep and related her story

so it would become my story as well
whether I joined the story with courage or cowardice.

After tending to her wounds and thirst
we walked the wide dry land blown clean of foot prints.

The gravity of the event drew us straight to the site.
We arrived at the end of the day when all was near shadow.

Nature cleared all signs of the massacre.
Then again, we saw in two lights.

A tree rooted in sorrow grew at the edge of the arroyo.
Its bark was the color of bone. Its roots exposed.

The tree’s leaves sparkled like stars.
There were one hundred and twenty-two.

The woman found a hollow bone with holes pecked by crows.
She picked up the bone and played it as a flute.

She blended into the shadows, the tree roots and the arroyo.
Water sprang from the sandy soil and flowed toward the sea.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


One of my pleasures in writing is creating myth or mythic images. The first draft of this poem arrived about a month ago. I had recently finished reading Blood and Thunder, by Hampton Sides. The portions of the book dealing with the Navajo were fresh in my mind.

I know the myths I create will not be long remembered, because they (most likely) will not be adopted by an entire culture and form a basis of the culture, like the Norse myths did for the peoples of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. This does not stop me from writing them for the simple pleasure of the act.

Is it fair for me to add other cultures into my myth making? That is a question I ask myself from time to time. During the act of creating the piece, I do not think about it. The poem simply comes out. Because that seems to me a very organic process, I feel the other cultures incorporated into my writing are fair. I am aware others may (and do) disagree.

Love & Light



The decomposing sun
radiates heat you misinterpret as light.
The sunspots are worms
poking their heads out from the corpse.

Might as well curl into a ball on the floor.

The hospital attendant
waits patiently for an answer
to the question on the entry screen
to be filled out entirely.

Might as well walk the Jornada del Muerto.

Nothing here is normal
from the Felix the Cat clock behind the counter
to the Oldenburg knockoff oversized bathroom scale
with a giant thumb adding pounds in the foyer,
to the translucent hot water bottle ceiling
with sharks swimming in circles.

Might as well bite the head off a chocolate Buddha.

Eureka! You remember your smart phone’s calculator operations
and subtract yourself from this scene,
then wonder if this action qualifies
as the self-harm in the hospital attendant’s questionnaire.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Jornada del Mueto is an actual place in New Mexico. I have have never walked it. For more information here is a link to the Wikipedia page.

This poem is the surrealist in me at play. If I ever started a weight loss clinic, a massive bathroom scale with disembodied hand thumb pressing down on the scales would be in the foyer.

Oldenburg is a reference to sculptor Claes Oldenburg.

I have bitten the head off a chocolate Buddha. If you have bitten the head off an chocolate Easter Bunny it is the same experience. My chocolate Buddha head was hollow which made biting it off easier. It was dark chocolate, though low quality dark chocolate and barely worth the chewing and swallowing when weighed against the calories and effort to burn them off.

It turns out there are eateries around the world named Chocolate Buddha. I did not know this when I wrote the poem. I wonder if they are a chain? Probably not, but someone else will have to do the research.

Happy Saturday to you.

Love & Light


Double Take On Mitch

Paul said he was never not thinking
of killing someone—an unintended consequence
of his time in the U. S. Armed Services.

He remembers writing Die!
on each of his bullets as he loaded his magazines,
even though he knew many of his bullets
would miss their target.

Paul kept himself from killing civilians
by imagining a war against an extra-terrestrial enemy
that had no ability to appear in human guise.

As current world tensions increase,
he realizes he might be asked to designate
some political state or ethnic group the enemy.
Maybe it will be an old time designation, like a religion.

Paul lets his mind go one by one through the administrative,
the legislative, and judicial branches of government,
but sees no extra-terrestrial enemies in disguise.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney