Common Good

Our country has not yet come back to God
from the sale of parent and child
on the ghostly auction blocks
of our early harbor cities.

Without an accounting,
a reconciliation with nominal reparations,
this loss of true adulthood
will dog Americans through the centuries.

We see the mutual loss through inequity.
We see the attempts to rewrite history.
We see the legacy of Jim Crow.
We see the Reservation obligations ignored.

The reckoning must be held on earth,
not while failing to breach the pearly gates.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora sent forth swans
to plunder low self-esteem,
to ravage the casual insults people spread,
to abolish bullying in all forms.

The people were taken aback.
Retreated from the white feathers, black faces
and yellow-orange bills.
They feared the fate of the Children of Lir.

The people sought recourse
for the theft of guaranteed freedoms.
They called upon their congressional representatives.
They petitioned Saint Hugh of Lincoln.

Dora recalled her swans
just before their necks stiffened out of their lovely curves.

copyright 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Children of Lir were turned into swans by their stepmother. See Wikipedia for more about the Irish myth. (Why is it that stepmothers are wicked in the old stories?)

Saint Hugh’s animal symbol is a white swan. Wikipedia Entry on St. Hugh.

When I was in high school I became a voracious reader of mythologies. Being that my ancestors were from the British Isles, I focused at first on Irish, Welsh, Scottish and British Celtic mythologies. Soon I branched over to Norse and the other Scandinavian Countries. In school I had picked up the Greek and Roman. Eventually, I read about India and China’s Mythologies. It seems I moved across the European & Asian continents geographically. I have read very little about native American beliefs.

What sparked my interest? Teen rebellion? No that is not it. More like teen curiosity. It was that time of my life where I began to question all I was taught and religion/spirituality was part of that questioning. (I did not question being a Cubs fan or that baseball was the best sport ever invented.)

Love & Light


Can’t Shoo It Away

More and more I slip
down to the white horse in the pasture.
It breathes a hush of apple expectations.
And delivery.

No one I know has died.
I just feel that way.
If I loved more people,
the loss of one would not hurt so much.
But no one’s died.

The airport’s one plane
passes overhead, lands, arrives,
delivers passengers
to old friends
who waited for a flat tire
to be fixed
in Albuquerque.

I sit on the rail fence,
talk to the white horse
of loves lost, of moments
that ignore timelines
and their place in history.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I channeled my life in Taos, NM to write this piece. It does have a small airport that has a commuter route to Albuquerque’s Sunport (airport) that runs a couple times per day. From my house on the above the pasture with the white horse, I could see the planes approach the airport. Once down by the pasture, the airport disappeared from view. So I fudged from reality with artistic license.

I have many moments that do not stay in their place on my timeline, thus are not fully history. Those moments are mostly traumatic, but there are good moments as well. One of the good ones that surfaces from time to time was being 10 years old and making a game saving catch after a long run in center field for my little league team and how the team gathered round me and cheered, while slapping me on the back.

Love & Light



No matter
how well
Paul feeds his cat,
adding fish scraps
to her dry
or canned food,
he cannot
stop her
from wishing
to taste
the finches
she spies
on the thistle feeder
from her perch
on the bedroom
window sill.

Yet, when
she steals outside,
the enormity
of the world
beyond the door
her knowledge
of her ignorance
of things
like cholla,
prickly pear,
and the neighbor’s
Jack Russell Terrier
that slips under
the fence slats
to tree her
in the Mimosa.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


In a dream where my own death
throws me limp against the boulders
of Gettysburg’s Devil’s Den,
young men grown old too soon
ignore my plight in their own desperation
to maintain a brisk fire
upon the enemy’s last known location.
The humidity holds the sulfurous smoke
eye level and nineteen out of twenty musket balls
either fly overhead or flatten
against the igneous stone
eons older than our uncompromising grudge.

As my soul escapes my body
my left foot catches between my ribs
and I cannot rise toward the heavens,
as I believe I should, fighting with God on my side
to protect my people’s rights and liberties.
My ethereal hands pry at the ribs to no effect.
I am locked in the swirling maelstrom
as charge and counter charge
overrun this ancient stone,
this firing line disintegrating
only to be replaced by another
as support comes forward
to create more work for tomorrow’s
gravediggers and undertakers.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul goes up to the mountain
from his craggy subdivision,
the manicured lawns.
Up toward white bellied clouds
where a circling hawk
silences ground chatter.
As Paul ascends
scales of noise slough off
his shoulders
into a stream bed
that carries them back
to where they started.
He ascends above
the layer of brown air
into the clearness
that allows his questions
to spot answers.
There are dropped twigs up here
that know more of God
than church ministers
and the bible thumpers
who knock on his door.
He climbs the slight trail
until Cat Rock Canyon opens to his left
and there he crosses the stream,
gets off the beaten path,
into the ponderosas,
and aspen groves.
He settles into
the shadow patterns,
the artistic patterns,
the sacred geometry.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Happy Flag Day. It is a holiday we kinda-sorta celebrate in the USA. It is marked on the calendar, but no one gets a paid day off (or an unpaid day off) and there are no flag day specials advertised by retailers on TV or other media.

My guess has been we celebrate the flag because, as pre-Americans, we came to what is now the Americas, stuck flags on flagpoles into the ground and declared the continents ours, not caring what the folks who already lived here thought about our arrival. You did not know a flag had that much power. I did not know it either, until Eddy Izzard explained it to me in a comedy routine (YOUTUBE CLIP).

I like the US flag, Old Glory, The Star Spangled Banner, in its flag form. I do not particularly care for it in its retail t-shirt, undies, swimsuit, gun holster, etc. etc. forms. I understand first amendment freedom of speech allows for this, but wearing a flag printed item or carrying one does not prove a person’s patriotism to me.

Admittedly, if I was in France right now at the women’s world cup football (soccer) extravaganza, I probably would being wearing a shirt that proclaimed I was from the USA with some old-glory logo/print. So, I have a pinch of hypocrite in me on this flag topic.

Love & Light


These Line Break Interruptions

This ear ringing.
This hand bell of God’s voice begging.
This inaction guilt—full wallet fearful.
This kaleidoscopic penny whistle metamorphosis.
This biblical interpretation schism.
This gang sign throw down.
This saltwater soaked Rembrandt oil.
This papaya skin paper flaking dander.
This pumice-stoned calcium deposit sculpture.
This storm cloud added to the smoothie.
This blue-bottle fly’s contrail dissipating against the blue sky.
This international border crossing gestalt.
This white noise tinnitus caseworker.
This body electric borrowed from Walt.
This secret hidden in my gut lining.
This fascination with church mice nibbling seeds.
This obtuse reflection through Alice’s looking glass.
This casual adultery practiced in conservative corners.
This bullying called business.

These line break interruptions.

This twenty-k masterpiece.
This brutish home run trot.
This Darwinian desire to evolve past ignorance.
This assertive woman who yins to my yang.
This observing thrashers running addiction.
This emotional sucker punch.
This stunned mouth gaping pregnant pause.
This unspeaking what should not have been said.
This fanciful history rewriting.
This clandestine transformation of slavery into servitude.
This desperate white nationalist Little Big Horn fight.
This three point shot buzzer beater.
This origami fold between her legs.
This shaped charge tweet.
This paper-cut in c-minor.
This skull in search of an honest phrenologist.
This however seeking its proper grammatical and logistical place.
This straight jacket coin purse savings plan.
This minutes-old child booking passage on Charon’s boat.
This hand ringing.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


In one manner, a list poem can be a prayer, especially if the list is repeated over and over. Probably not this particular list poem. Is the Catholic Rosary prayer a list poem?

Also, a list can be a mnemonic device. Once you have learned the list, each line leads you into the next line.

This particular list poem is my brain proceeding forward making its own connections in a stream of consciousness manner. Imagine the wild fish you’d catch in my stream of consciousness. To remain true to the stream of consciousness, I wrote “These line break interruptions” when my thought was briefly interrupted at the cafe where I wrote this piece.

After reviewing this poem, I deduce my stream of consciousness contains a lot of rocks and rapids and falls. A Rocky Mountain variety stream of consciousness.

Love & Light