Melancholy Replay

Paul dropped his apology
in the grass under an apple tree.

He thought it easy to find
but it proved as difficult as a green contact lens.

He returned to Lori without the apology
and attempted to rewrite history.

Paul’s second versions of history
trespassed, left muddy footprints

all over Lori’s self-esteem
and further fractured their relationship.

Paul without Lori felt a brokenness
where an expectation of approaching perfection failed.

He crafted a new larger apology
that was really a Swiss Army Knife apology

with sixteen different tool shaped apologies
for both assembling and dismantling.

Paul stopped at Lori’s to give her
this red and stainless steel apology.

Lori examined the exploration-ready apology
opened the knife blade and sliced an apple.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cartesian Coordinate System

Lori wakes with irrational words in her mouth.
She tries to calculate them to the ninth decimal point.

In those words she locates a sleeping giant.
She kicks it, but it does not stir.

Lori falls asleep again so she may wake next to herself
since no one is there to ease her loneliness.

She slings her arm over a pillow to create the illusion
she hugs a wounded polar bear and makes it whole.

Lori wakes with the Pythagorean theorem on her tongue.
She tastes the Euclidian air of five-seventy B.C.

She sits up bent at the waist into a right angle
and feels the hypotenuse form

from the top of her head to the tip of her toes
but her mattress blocks one of the squares from forming.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul stood outside a cave
and listened to the earth breath.

He pictured two pink lungs
deep in the earth

drawing in and pushing out
a vermillion atmosphere.

Paul imagined a bear deep in hibernation
half way down the cave

confident the earth
would breath for it while it wintered.

He viewed active volcanos as the earth
coughing up fiery phlegm.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Mechanical Dementia

The clock decayed
as time ticked each second forward.

A gear lost a molecule or two
that fell to the bottom of the case.

A dusty detritus that must be
periodically cleaned out.

Like skin sloughed off the body
disappeared into the carpet or grass.

The laughing children ran counterclockwise
trying to unwind time for grandpa Stephenson.

But his ghastly deformities held sway
discontent with black & white youthful photos.

Death came for my clock in its finality
unable to discern A.M. from P.M.

Hours from Seconds.
Ticks from tocks.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Your star-spangled tongue
twisted red, white and blue
around each utterance.

At the same time
your originalist mind
worked to replace

all of the amendments
after the ten
in the bill of rights.

Safe with your 401k
over a million dollars
you thought slavery

the province
of those poor people
unable to pay their bills.

In your mind
it would be the destination
of every asylum seeker

and anyone convicted
of felonies
no matter their color.

Your capitalist mind
translated everything
into property.

So much so
you never had children
due to the expense.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


My latest collection, Far Away Right Here, is available in print. Dianne and I cherry-picked all the poems I wrote in 2022 to create this collection. If you like this poetry blog, purchasing a copy is a good method to support this effort and assist me in paying the yearly internet fees.

One Cool Evergreen

Our hike stops
stands perfectly still
for an out-held
smart phone
to identify a birdsong.

Sunday morning
this canyon
is our church
with its granite pews
and piñon statuary.

We prefer the trails
halfway up the slope
over the arroyo below—
all dry sand
footprints and tracks.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


My latest collection, Far Away Right Here, is available in print. Dianne and I cherry-picked all the poems I wrote in 2022 to create this collection. If you like this poetry blog, purchasing a copy is a good method to support this effort and assist me in paying the yearly internet fees.

Giant Killers

Buddha sits on the Yankee’s bench.
He emits calm even though
the Pinstripes are down
eight to one in the seventh.

Buddha chews a big wad of gum.
He blows huge bubbles that pop
and cover his double chin.
He scrapes the gum back into his mouth.

What the players originally thought was a mantra
reveals itself with closer listening
to be a Yankee’s golden oldies playlist—
championship lineups, starting with their first in 1923.

Wally Shang at catcher.
Wally Pipp at first.
Aaron Ward at second.
Jumping Joe Dugan at third.
Everet “Deacon” Scott at short.
Long Bob Meusel in left.
Whitey Witt in center.
Babe Ruth in right.

With a pitching staff of Bullet Joe Bush.
Waite “Schoolboy” Hoyt.
Herb “The Knight” Pennock.
Sailor Bob Shawkey.
Carl Mays.
and “Sad Sam the cemetery man” Jones.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


I do not know why or how my mind pumped out a poem about the Yankees, when I am a Cubs and Brewers fan. Oh well. I tip my cap to the poetry muses for causing such a writing.


A stone giant walked out of a granite mountain.
He strode Montgomery heading downhill.
His footprints remained in the asphalt.

The earth trembled with each step.

The stone giant squeezed the Rio Grande in his fists
then lifted it to a new bed
and in places separated the river’s channels.

The giant repositioned cottonwoods
and returned the way he came
steeping through the rock without a door.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Kings Canyon

When Annie discovered heaven
was harps and angelic choirs
without baseball or dogs
she changed her religion
to one focused on reincarnation.

She treated pastors
like used car salesmen
trying to get her to purchase
a pretty junker
she knew she did not want.

She always liked the Sunday bells
that called everyone together—
community over congregation
and the disturbed admonitions
of the black-robed men.

Summer pilgrimages
took her to national parks
where she turned Baptist
and immersed herself
in natural beauty.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shucked and Eaten Raw

Each time Lori
answered her phone
dopamine flushed
her central nervous system
clear of inhibitions
so she sang out loud
in public.

At night in a pub
others joined in
eyes torn from colored pixels
and disembodied transmissions.
Their inner ears
found new balance
returning lost feet.

At the sound of the chorus
eye-prisms broke light
into a mathematics remembered
from high school geometry
and applied goodwill
be grasped and stretched
like saltwater taffy.

Lori reconfigured songs
to reassemble friendships
shattered by misunderstandings
that flayed tender words
into hologram shadows
left low and dry
in floorboard cracks
by long ago spilled beer.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney