10 Dec 2018 poem

Clear Day Sonnet

The universe is expanding,
refuses to go on a diet,
loves blended whisky
and seventy-two percent cacao dark chocolate.

NASA thought a Saturn Five rocket
might pop the universe like a balloon,
but thirteen flights have exceeded orbit
and run into nothing but circles around the moon.

The bass swim the river unconcerned
and geese follow their migratory patterns.
A machine grinds a lens for my glasses
so I may see far far away.

Another galaxy? No.
But Texas from the top of the Sandia Mountains.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


9 Dec 2018 poem


An acquaintance who survived the California fires
lost almost all of her worldly possessions.
She commented on how liberating it was.

So far she has refused all donations
sent to make her life easier or considered necessity.

So far shoveling horse barns
is her favorite form of prayer and meditation.

Best not having anything, especially hope.
Breath in her lungs and chores is plenty.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


8 Dec 2018 poem

Natural Philosophy

Who commands the wind to blow?
Who directs the ocean tide?

How may I explain that my love is larger than myself,
yet fills no more than my beating heart?

There are only two things I own completely:
my courage and my fear, yet one tends to cancel the other out.

Instead of viewing death as losing everything,
I say it is me returning the dust and ash I borrowed.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


7 Dec 2018 poem

Right Hand Of God

I went to the funeral.
I knew none of the bereaved.
I wondered if the deceased died from
an accident or an advanced illness.
I wondered if the bereaved’s religion,
which presented the ceremony,
was the deceased’s religion.
I wondered if this death
gave someone, somewhere
a sense of justice.
I wondered if this death
gave the family a sense of peace
after a long ordeal.

I looked at the cross behind the altar
and the image of the Christ.
A brownish-gray mouse stood
on the Christ’s right hand above the nail,
paws almost prayer-pressed,
and observed the proceedings,
until the organ began a traditional hymn.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


6 Dec 2018 poem

Old World

Dora smooths her skin with Sky.
A common, but seldom used, unguent.

Most effective when hanging upside down.
Or seated in a sparkling crystal clear lake.

Dora owns a rock to throw.
She purchased a good one for an upcoming stoning.

The stoning never took place.
You, the accused, were found innocent.

Dora clothes you in lilac.
The scent is too close to the petals for your nose.

You run naked out of Dora’s house.
You run naked the rest of your life.

Dora smooths your windblown hair.
Your feet are sore from running.

She offers you a dune to sleep upon.
The wind piles up covers.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


5 Dec 2018 poem


Paul removed the tickles from the room.
He placed them in a box marked Terror.

He placed the box under smothering blankets.
The blankets under an Acme barbell labeled two-hundred-seventeen pounds.

He thought measles, mumps, and chickenpox
were three of the four riders of the Apocalypse.

Paul manipulated his imagination to crowd
the vacancies in the neighborhood of his missing playmates.

His missing playmates each had an individual reason
for the rush of air filling their particular vacuum.

Paul decided to survive this abandonment
with simple heaves of the chest and a thousand sobs.

Pooh Bear and Piglet adopted a stronger meaning
and an elevated position in Paul’s friendship hierarchy.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


4 Dec 2018 poem


Our church’s minister harvested all the congregation’s guilt
ground, mixed and baked it into a multitude
of uniform sized guilt wafers.
She placed the wafers upon our communion tongues
so no one individual had to digest too big a burden.

She also pooled all the congregation’s hope
and pressed it into the sanctified wine
and each of us, in turn, took a sip
of the viscous blood red liquid to wash down the guilt.

The non-traditional mixture
in the congregation’s belly
caused all of the celebrants
to regurgitate their sins
with the sounds of a thousand keys entering,
then turning a thousand locks,
with a thousand doors opening
and emptying their contents
into the communal discourse.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney