Mixed Media

As I stood on a hillock
in a wilderness area
with my hand up
to shade my eyes
so I could follow
a hawk’s flight
a feather
wafted down
detached from
spread wings.
I felt blessed
as if gifted
when it landed
two steps away.
Yet I felt my
picking it up
embezzled a little bit
of nature
if secreted home
to become part
of a future assemblage
of other blessings
that found me this year.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


On the sandy ground
between sidewalk and street
a singular piece of sky.

I looked toward the heavens
all morning
in my attempt
to return it
from its displacement.

My anticipated joy
at finding its spot
dashed to the concrete
I stand on.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Tiles Darken

Lori eats a scrambled egg
and sips English Breakfast from a mug.

She prognosticates about the clouds.
Their mono-shape suggests rain is imminent.

She reads an article displayed on a tablet
about humpback whales and navy sonar.

Lori recognizes the patio tiles require leveling
and thinks about pulling a hollyhock bloom to eat.

She stands, moves to the sink
and rinses the black bowl clean of egg.

Her eyes dilate as the sun breaks through
and fresh rain forms a rainbow.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lost Habitat

The wind picked up the snow
and returned it to the sky.

I went outside to an icy patch
and started my Olympic speed skating training.

My wife returned on Valentines day
with heart shapes elegantly stored
in her luggage.

Her return initiated our good times.
We did not care if someone else
did good times a little bit better.

All the heart shapes she brought home
emitted nervous voices
when magnets attached them to the fridge.

With the sudden warm snap
I tried speed skating on top of ice trays
and on top of a vanilla ice cream container
but the freezer was a bit cramped to really get going.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

White Expression of the Divine

The street corner prophets were so thick
it was impossible to cross the street
or reach the walk button.

Even though each of them preached salvation
in one variation or another of the splintered Abrahamic traditions
I professed I believed them all to be false.

I assumed each and every one of them
had had a spiritual experience
and were shaken to the core of their sanity.

Grade school and high school
kept students ruthlessly ignorant of such evolutions
with long dissertations on longer dead white male poets.

There was a woman off to the side
who fed coins into a parking meter
so her table full of climate change literature

would not get ticketed and booted.
I thought she might be the real deal
because she got shat on six times by clustering doves.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Big Picture

Piñons do not care
if Christianity gets its panties in a twist
over homosexuality.

A flying squirrel does need
a crucified savior.

A bighorn does not read passages
carved in stone tablets
found on a mountain top.

Flowers begat flowers
which begat flowers
which begat even more flowers
without a long record of names.

Mice do not debate the spiritual benefits
of capitalism and communism
in congressional chambers.

No grizzly bear has ever entered a church
and gunned down congregants
trying to start a race war.

No dolphins write smartphone apps
and lose endless days staring at tiny screens.

Oak trees lining a boulevard
do not purchase collision insurance.

Dogs befriend humans
in an effort to protect them
from their most corrupt fears.

Cats practice being there and not being there
depending on whether they are observed or not.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

One Wendy Evening

Lori flew over Albuquerque
testing out her newly acquired x-ray vision.

She saw skeletal people in bone density light
with their faces glued to televisions.

Younger people’s skeletal faces were glued
to their smartphone screens held in boney hands.

Lori failed to see what was on either type of screen
since her x-ray vision did not display the actor’s bones.

She returned her x-ray vision for a full refund
because she mistakenly believed she would see boners.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Thought Bubble

Paul looks at his reflection in a river.
He looks at his reflection in a bubble
the river glides through his reflected face.

Beyond his facial reflection
He notices a fish eye lined up
with his reflected eye.

Paul likes the idea of his face reflecting
clouds as they traverse the sky
southwest to northeast.

He pictures himself talking to Lori
as clouds cross his face
and a Coopers Hawk crosses his face.

Paul reexamines his reflection in the river
now that the bubble moved downstream
and a twig with two leaves glide over his reflection.

While he is busy reflecting on his reflection
a frog hops near him, then leaps
to splash his reflected face all over his face.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

First Boy to Set Foot on This Land

The city is longer than it is wide.
The city is no longer there.
The absolute forest uprooted it.

Our machines tire of their slavery.
They commit suicide.
They hope to return to their original ores.

The ocean advances forever up the shore.
It removes houses from beachfront property.
It moves the beach to fill foundations.

A kite urges the boy to give it more twine.
The ball of twine is a ball no more.
The boy unknots the twine from the spindle.

The kite flies over what was once a beachfront city.
The forest now negotiates with the advancing sea.
The soil is rich in minerals.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


By writing a letter to Paul
Lori realized all the others she knew
who deserved letters.

Before she finished Paul’s letter
she made of list
of everyone she should write.

Twenty-eight. If each month was February
one person a day for a month—
not counting leap year.

Since Lori became bored
writing the same thing over and over
she found new daily details to include.

The rain spotted the window on Monday.
She sliced carrots to dip in cream cheese on Tuesday.
The thrasher fledglings left the nest on Wednesday.

Paul read about the salt shaker
and pepper mill being refilled
and placed back on the cherry dining table.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney