Thanksgiving 2019

I woke this morning to find three inches of snow upon the cholla outside my bedroom window. It is very beautiful, up until the point I go outside and shovel the snow from the walks and clear the cars. The snow will be beautiful again after I take some aspirin for those shoveling aches and pains.

Link to Wikipedia on Thanks Giving.

This Thanksgiving day finds us at home. It is just three of us. Myself. Dianne. And her grandson Zane. We have the lazy version of a feast with food prepared by our local organic coop grocery. Less fuss for us. Less dishes for me to clean after eating.

There is too much football on TV today. I have set the Bears – Lions game to record and will watch it at some point.

Tradition has us pay extra attention to what we are thankful for during the past year on this day. My choice to share with you is a category of thanks. It is all the little things that caused my notice to focus. This is when that something to notice causes you to pause and savor the moment. The light on the Sandia mountains. The yellow of the lesser finches. The Canyon Towhee’s call. Thrashers running. A glint in another person’s eye that expresses how alive they are in that instant. Warm smiles. A line of poetry I write that is perfect and I have no idea where it came from. Dianne’s hugs. Any time a face of someone I know pops to mind and I say a prayer for them. Letting 72% dark chocolate melt on my tongue. Every email I get from my pen pal. And so on.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.


Getting Dora To Make Pancakes Sonnet

Buttermilk is a fissionable material.
Pancake batter is the only thing that makes it stable.
Even that cheap dry powder stuff
from the dollar store generic box will do the trick.

Grind up a magazine photo of Mahatma Gandhi
and add the powder to the mix if you want the flap jacks
to keep Aunt Angela quiet as a church mouse all day,
so you can read your latest western gunfight novella in peace.

You do not need any musical blueprints
or ergonomic light emitting diodes
or The Journals of Josiah Gorgas,
or a magpie’s dissertation on Beyoncé’s Faustian dealings.

Please add a drop or two of Anisette, beat until frothy,
then pour each cake so it looks like Micky Mouse.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I miss I-HOP (International House of Pancakes). Ever since I learned I was allergic to a protein in grains like wheat, I have avoided I-HOP out of self-preservation. I miss the early morning or late night comfort meals shared with friends when all topics were open for conversation.

We have found a substitute for regular pancakes and those are coconut flour pancakes. On special days, Dianne makes them for me. I could make them myself, but I have not in a while.

My favorite things to place on pancakes: Almond butter and a little honey, roll the cake up and eat it like a weird cannoli. Maple syrup is too sweet for me these days. Shredded coconut is good, but they are coconut flour pancakes and this might be determined to be overkill. Chocolate shavings or melted chocolate is good too.

Extra things we place in the pancakes—we often grind up almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and/or walnuts to place in the pancake batter. We use to grind up pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds as well, but it turns out they contain the allergen as well.

Love & Light


More Than A Year

Dust Bowl wind stripped the land.
Foreclosure notices pasted most windows.

Going means losing everything tangible.
Staying means losing everything intangible, too.

Grapes of Wrath style westward journey,
doing odd jobs to purchase food—

penny candies for the kids
are the greatest of extravagances.

Truck breaks down in Albuquerque
not far from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe station.

Empty stock-car blues player on mouth harp
and another on banjo

pass the hours west toward California,
to Flagstaff and savvy rail-yard men with dogs.

Thankfully more bark than bite
hounded our skedaddle.

Hallelujah preacher directed us
to forestry work available in the Kaibab.

More than a year before we make it to view
the Grand Canyon.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I have spent a many years of my life living adjacent to national parks. In those years I have met a variety of people who have never visited the national park they live adjacent to. This baffles me, because I love natural wonders. They were city people or had city people priorities, as in their needs were met by the city or town or church.

This poem is a fancy (fiction) to tell a story about what it took one imaginary family to visit a national park—the Grand Canyon.

I think every American should visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks at least once in their lives. I believe it should be required by the constitution, but that amendment is not likely to pass or even be introduced on the floor of the house of representatives.

I encourage people to make lists of things that cause them wonder, a wow sensation that tingles the body. If it is seeing Beyoncé live in concert, do it. If it is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, do it. If it is running marathons, do it. Each reader knows what is important at the core of your life and I encourage you to place your time and effort into making it happen.


Dimmed by lacy cloud cover,
the North Star blues the visage
of suicidal ghosts
as they slurp the isolation
of the digital cloud.

Might as well gnaw their own bones through
to free themselves
from the bleached pallor
of midnight screens
as opaque sighs settle in tossed covers.

This floating island
remains anchored in a claustrophobic studio.
A box that fails to shut out the voices
of the recent dead
and the doubt they express
carted about in carved-stone backpacks.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


In Albuquerque today we experience our first ever recorded blizzard. This is the first ever recorded snow storm that qualifies as a blizzard. 4″ of snow cover the ground. Winds blow from 25 to 35 mph. The wind chill is at 6° at eight in the morning when I type this.

My bones remember this type of weather from growing up in Chicagoland, but my bones are older now and do not care for this type of weather, no matter how beautiful the snow on the mountains or the cityscape draped in white.

I had thought to walk through the snow to my favorite cafe for writing, but the conditions cause me to think I will hunker down in the warmth of my poetarium for writing and reading.

Love & Light


Holiday Message

Well. Christmas day arrived. Just like every other day really. It was four a.m. when I woke (early to bed, early to rise is just the way I am). Our studio houses me each morning after rising, so I do not wake Dianne with typing and lights and a little music if I play some. I am more of a solstice person myself, but I appreciate all the different religious versions of shortest day commemorations of the return of light in all their various forms.

My holiday wish for all of my readers is that each of you succeed in discarding all those learned and society enforced behaviors that are not really who you are, so you become fully (100%) yourself. To aid this wish in manifesting, I waved my magic wand (which today looks like pink bunny ears) so the constant bravery required to be oneself 24/7 is available in your personal skill set.

Ah. Dianne (she is so wonderful) just delivered my Earl Grey tea in a cup with a Roosevelt Elk printed on the side above the words Olympic National Park. Lovely place. I once lived adjacent to the park for four years. I hope at one point in your life you get the chance to visit the park and cash in a few Karma points (I know karma does not work that way, but…) and thus convince the elk to let you see them.

Love & Light.


Alive Fifty Years Hence

I lay sprawled on the gravel
like some nineteen-fifties western
movie extra shot in the back,
belly pushing up against my spine,
heave of dusty breath,
knees digging into small rocks
hands and face impregnated
with granular sharp corners.

Waking darkness settled my mind
as my jeans slid off
after three wooden blows to the backbone
broke my wings of flight—
my shriek tunneled
the blackness to remote ears.

Weightless, I saw it all third person
suspended upon the nearby swing set,
the metal chains a perfect pendulum,
the rubber seat became rock-a-bye cradle.

When it was over—it’s never really over—
I pulled myself together
three score jigsaw pieces shy of a thousand
with darkness filling those voids
while memory dug furiously to bury
the dying sense of childhood safety—
knowing go home makes nothing better.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney

Thanks Giving Day 2018

It seems to be a tradition to relate to others what you are thankful for on this day. At least it was so when my family gathered together before we grew up and scattered to distant points across the country. I think it a good tradition. The following are in the order they popped into my head.

White Crown Sparrows. I call them bicycle helmet sparrows, because the color pattern on their head appears to me as a bicycle helmet. They just have an indefinable quality that I love. Canyon Towhees, Juncos, Thrashers and Magpies tie for a close second.

Trump. Okay. I know this sounds odd coming from me, who thinks Trump is a horrible, terrible, very bad, wannabe-dictator president. But, his presidency has woken up the citizens of this country and caused earnest participation in our democracy. A democracy requires a civilized, non-violent revolution through the vote about every twenty to twenty-four years. I think we missed the revolution that should have happened in the 1990s. So, I am thankful citizens, no matter their party affiliation, are actively participating in our democracy.

72% Cacao Dark Chocolate. My desert of choice. Best served with a dark red wine—a good claret (as Rumpole of the Bailey use to say). Perfect to top off every meal of the day (without the claret at breakfast and lunch), if I can manage my self control to consume only 2 squares per meal.

Poetry. I know I have reported to you that I dropped out of the poetry community and doing public readings, etc., but I still love to write poetry and read poetry. Most of my poetry reading is of living poets. I never found the great-white-dead poets moving. Sorry Robby Burns. Sorry Tennyson. (I do own a leather bound edition of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass). The poetry I find most moving is living Native American poetry, with poetry written by women preferred over poetry by men. Anyways, poetry has been my creative expression vehicle for twenty-five years and has served me well by bringing me a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me.

L. L. Bean. This seems a bit commercial, but they are the clothing company that carries my size, large tall, on almost all of their clothing items. It is such a pleasure after years of wearing ill-fitting clothes to wear my size with proper sleeve length and fit around the shoulders and torso.

Dianne. I do not doubt that the women who shared my earlier, pre-Dianne life loved me, but Dianne’s manner of loving connects best with me—closest to my wave-length I think. Her love has given me a foundation to get unstuck from some stuck areas of my life and to be open to recognizing my faults and improving where it needed to take place. How can you not help but be thankful to the person who, out of love, allows you to grow into a better person. Smaller ego. Bigger heart.

Mountains. All my life I have loved being in mountains. In a primal sense, I feel safe in mountains. This is an important feeling if you consider the childhood traumas and adult traumas I have gone through. Wonderfully interesting how geography can give you a sense of safety. Technically, Albuquerque is in the Rio Grande river valley. But, Dianne and I live in the northeast heights, on the flanks of the Sandia Mountains. The foothills trailheads are a seven minute drive from the house. Twenty minutes of walking takes us past the line of sight of the city and beyond an acoustic barrier that blocks out the city sounds.

My Pen-Pal. Beth is my pen-pal (email pal). I never knew how great a long distance friendship could be. We made initial contact through a poetry project I produced a couple years back and traded books. The pen pal thing got going on its own. We met in person last year when I was on a trip that passed through her part of the country. What a great person. We are both poets. We both have our life struggles (who doesn’t). We are comfortable enough to share honestly about our lives, thus being able to tell our story which lightens life’s burdens. It is also good to share photos, too, which I could do on this blog, but for some unknown reason have not—maybe in the new year attached to a resolution.

That is my 2018 list. I am sure there is more than this, but that is all that popped from my mind as I sit in my favorite cafe (which should be on the list), typing this blog entry the day before Thanks Giving.

Remember to practice the Golden Rule every waking moment. Especially with that family member who has the polar opposite political point of view from yours.

Love & Light