The invisible hand
of Adam Smith’s mind
balled into a fist
and punched
the poor
into smaller
and smaller
portions of
the nation’s map
even as
their numbers
grew in proportion
to the acquisition
of land
by the one percent
which collapsed
into the half percent
then quarter percent
and downward
until one
divided by
everyone else
equals none.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Hart

Inside the Lord’s pocket
lives a red hart
with velveteen antlers.

It roams the silky green expanse
the pocket’s narrow valley

It lovingly knows
this threaded ground it treads
and the ancient seams.

The red hart senses
a larger world outside the pocket.
A multicolored universe

with an inverted world
where all is displayed to the sky
and hills were smoothed by receded ice.

The Lord though
requires this red hart
held close to the vest

to power its face and tongue
to expand its songs
that burst stars upon the void.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


One chamber of my heart
nests three of four hamsters
where they rest in a furry ball
with pink noses sticking out.

The second chamber
holds the wheel
where the on-duty hamster
runs to keep the power on.

A third chamber
acts as a pantry to store
greens and seeds
the hamsters enjoy.

The fourth has a nozzle
that leads back to a hollow rib
that I refill daily
with fresh water.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Missed Payment

During your entire lifetime
your heart does not take
a single day off.

Even while you are busy
cleaning your brain
through the act of sleeping.

Be happy it does not
punch a time clock
or collect overtime.

Do not overextend
so oxygen debt
forecloses you during sex.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Blue Irises

I see
the one solitary tree
that grows
behind your eyes
whose roots
bind to the rich loam
of your soul
and wonder
where are the birds
and insects
and climbing mammals
let alone any sign
of brown leaves
fallen and covering
your fertile

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul claimed
a past life memory
of being a migrant worker
building the city
and tower of Babel.
He remembered
the frustration
of trying to organize
the first labor union.
It was right about the time
the first alphabet
came into existence
to preserve
the purity of language
now that many tongues
mixed together
on a daily basis.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trust His Ear

Paul sought money
for a business startup.

He intended to manufacture love
on an industrial scale.

He possessed
a proprietary formula

for a molecule
that was both bitter and sweet.

It is the essence
of the music the stars hum.

A melody that keeps fires burning
during journeys across the void.

Since love potion
belongs to the vernacular

Paul intends
to create a viscid drink.

Thicker than Yoo-Hoo.
Thinner than Lakanto Maple Syrup.

I hum John Denver’s Annie’s Song
as I write out a check.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


A smoke cube rose.
It refused the wind and floated straight up.

At a hundred meters
it suspended its movement.

I swear it sang an embroidered song
like a medieval summoning.

Other smoke cubes rose
and assembled above the desert.

In time, a horizontal monolith
presented itself without edifice.

It remained in place west of Albuquerque.
Many people drove out to view it.

Rumors started it was from outer space.
Conspiracies sprouted like wild flowers after desert rain.

Everyone present felt a magnetic pull
upon their tongues

that drew iron silences aside
to extract confessions.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Every thirty minutes
your flock
descends upon the yard
for a few moments
always moving
stalk to stalk.

As if you must
file reports
about the world
beyond the ugly wall
that sets firm
a boundary
between public
and private land.

Not that you’d care
or if the wind
would stop
at this manufactured line
rising skyward
and out into space.

Or that I could tax
your wings
for using my air
you employ
to express your ravings.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney