19 Sep 2018 poem

More Than Necessary

I have a dump truck full of tater-tots
and no ketchup—

only a suburban subdivision house’s backyard pool
full of mayonnaise.

I realize this is all a bit extreme for a party of one.
I realize, now, how important planning is.

The suburban subdivision house possesses
enough garden gnomes for a Paramount movie.

Excess seems to be a pattern in this poem.
Excess. Excess. Excess. Excess. Excess.

In your mind picture each Excess applying larger font sizes
until only the top bar of the fifth Excess’s “E” fits on the page.

I am addicted to surreal excesses.
I once proposed milling a bowler to top Brussels’ skyline.

New York City’s Big Apple is the granny smith green apple
I suspended in front of the Statue of Liberty’s face.



10 Sep 2018 poem


Around the Buddhist Center
I set traps to capture Stillness.
It was live traps I set.
Stillness pelts have a very low market value.

The first bait I used
was hand-written copies of Basho’s haiku,
but no Stillness was trapped that night.

The second bait I used
was Enya recordings,
but, again, no Stillness was encaged.

The third item I used to bait the traps
were children sized snow angels.

Each of these nights,
not wishing to scare Stillness away,
I silently sat and waited for the click-snap
to shut the open gate,
while I relaxed against a Sycamore trunk,
listened to the night sounds
and gave the visible stars
and constellations new names
such as Winnie the Pooh and Snoopy.

On the fourth night with dried Datura blossoms
placed into the live trap to attract Stillness,
I relaxed so much into the Sycamore trunk
that it partially absorbed me for the night.
I felt water draw up roots from the earth
and became comfortable
with all the little creepy-crawly,
furry, and winged creatures
that call a tree home.

6 Sep 2018 Poem

Joan of Arc’s Alter Egos

Joan of Parabola.
Joan of Line Segment.
Joan of Cotangent.
Joan of Equilateral Triangles.
Joan of Pythagorean theorem.

Joan of Tabloid Exploits.
Joan of You Tube Memes.
Joan of Trending on Twitter.
Joan of Infowars.
Joan of Washington Post.

Joan of Red Tape.
Joan of the Bottom Line.
Joan of Quarterly Reports.
Joan of Wall Street.
Joan of Federal Reserve.
Joan of Congress.

Joan of Algonquin.
Joan of Cheyenne.
Joan of Iroquois.
Joan of Lakota.
Joan of Narragansett.
Joan of Navajo.
Joan of Nez Pierce.
Joan of Pueblo.
Joan of Seneca.
Joan of Zuni.

Absence Explained

You may have noticed that my blog has been quiet for the last two weeks, even the poetry portion of my entries. This was not a planned absence, like a late summer holiday. It was a malfunction of my keyboard which required an overlong stay at the Apple repair facilities. Overlong in that I was originally told the repair would be 3-5 days, then 5-7 days, then 7-10 days, then “we’ll call you when it’s fixed” days.

Day 16 and my laptop computer is finally returned to me. (A year or so ago I decided to downsize to one computer when my desktop got fried by lightning.)

It turns out my laptop is part of a generation of laptops with easily disabled keyboards. Link to Article about the problem. The only good thing about this whole affair is that I had 8 days remaining on my warranty which saved me the $310 repair bill.

Without my computer, I discovered how much of my life is routed through the device. All my creative writing, my graphic design, most of my news gathering, and my access to MLB radio broadcasts.

I did wander around aimlessly the first few days not knowing what to do or how to handle the isolation (an exaggeration). I ended up watching a bit more TV. I did my physical therapy twice a day instead of once. I bicycled a little farther each day. I still stopped at my favorite cafe to write and read, but I wrote letters (instead of email or poetry or short stories). And I purchased drawing paper and colored pencils for “analog” (non-digital) artwork.

The absence of my laptop top forced me to learn to do some digital age stuff on my smart phone: I learned to use the Apple Podcast app to listen to Malcolm Gladwell and Freakanomics. I loaded the TED app to continue my practice of watching TED talks during physical therapy. I learned to do my banking via my phone so my bills could get paid on time (you will earn no interest from me VISA [shaken fist in air]).

My opinion of Apple has suffered, but has been in decline for the last 8 years or so. Apple has not become as maddening as Microsoft of the 1990s, but they are headed in that direction. I am still waiting for software fixes from 2016—small stuff, but annoying and need to be addressed. My I phone 8 has just been recalled. I think becoming the first trillion dollar company in the world went to Apple’s head and they attempt to go in too many directions above what their current level of brain power can actually handle in a quality manner that I previously loved about Apple.

Has my computer respite taught me anything? Yes. My creative life is very digital: writing, design, and photography. My music is digital. My sports is partially digital. My clothes shopping is digital. Also, I learned I am not ready to commit to going back to the analog world, though I would like to have as much hair as I did 30 years ago.

I will start back up posting poems tomorrow in the next entry.

Love & Light


18 August 2018 poem

Cannon Ball

I placed one toe in the river Styx
to test the water.

I have no plan to cross over,
but a spirit shaking splash seems necessary
to invigorate my sense of living.

An old man at one of many temples yells,
Hey, you have to purchase a ticket.

Such a gloomy Gus.
Such a clock face frozen at eleven-fifty-nine
and fifty-eight seconds.

Before I jump in, an aquatic woman rises to the surface,
emerges, effortlessly treads water,
her lipstick smeared as if just after a passionate kiss.

She points to the Sunday School kids’
bake sale cookies and requests the sourest lemon bar
to give her a bit more pucker.

On a velvet cushion a single lemon bar rests.
In red letters on a piece of white poster board
in a bold script, is the word Everything.

I search the cluttered days of my life
and locate hundreds of plastic trash bags
filled with well and poorly spent time
twist-tied together with a long, white, double spaced list
of unrequited crushes.

I think twice about it. Then a third time.
Then, with a running start,
I jump into the river,
making the biggest ferry dock passenger drenching splash
I know how to plunge.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney



13 Aug 2018 poem

Investment Sale

A crowd of strangers gathers around me.
They are more interested in the stuff upon the table
than the person who lived that stuff into stories.

If they do not ask, they will never know
that Olympic National Park t-shirt
sweated through a bicycle ride all the way to Chicago.

Or feel the thousands of smiles
the camera captured for pithy captions
pinned to an interior wall covered in empty wine bottle corks.

An optimistic woman seems more interested
in the author signatures inside the poetry books,
than the poetry the books preserve to spark imaginations.

I discount the seven stacks of blank artist papers
and box of one hundred twenty-eight different colored pencils
and numerous sticks of charcoal for the eight year old.

She may be the next Helen Frankenthaler.
Or Mary Cassatt.
Or Hildegard von Bingen.

10 Aug 2018 Rambling

It is week I-don’t-know of this blog and I realize I do not have as much to say as I once thought I did. Life is happening even now as I type this entry and life affects me, but I find I have little comment on it.  Maybe I have learned the greater value of silence.

If I wrote about Trump and his administration, it would be simple whining. Maybe complex whining. Especially since I have been out of the news-loop for a few weeks and only a little political news sifts through on the other platforms, like sports, that I pay attention to.

If I wrote about the Cubs it would be about the late season angst that all Cubs fans know who lived through the 1969 season and the August-September collapse that allowed the Amazing Mets to amaze people.

I have written recently about my healthcare experiences and therapy, but feel I have shared enough of that for now.

I could write about the fact my space-bar on my keyboard often adds two spaces instead of one, but I have done my best to go back through this document and fixed those typos  so there is little or no evidence of it.

Since I have not been to the movies recently, I have nothing to add to that venue of discussion. If any of you have seen the Christopher Robin movie, please comment about the movie—I’ve been reluctant to go even though I am a fan of one Edward Bear, commonly known as Winnie-the-Pooh.

Oh, yes, the old standby. I am reading two books at the moment.  There There by Tommy Orange. It is a novel about Native American life in Oakland, CA that leads up to and includes a powwow.  I am about halfway through and highly recommend it. The other book is Soldiers In The Army of Freedom, by Ian Michael Purgeon. It is a history of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry. Yes. The American Civil War. Again. (I have read a great many books about the subject, yet I remain an un-credentialed expert.) It is a real good read starting in the pre-war, Bleeding Kansas era.

Right now I type this in my studio (my poetarium) while Baseball Hall of Famer Billy Williams stares at me from a poster that Dianne gave to me several Birthdays ago. He was my boyhood sports hero. Most the other boys of my childhood neighborhood understandably chose Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, as their hero. I could have picked Ron Santo, but he played third base and I was an outfielder, like Billy. A couple of my poems covered this topic of little white boys from the republican suburbs emulating their black men baseball heroes in the racially turbulent 1960s.

Our conversion of the garage into a studio / family room / place with chilled air instead of a swamp cooler progresses. During the process I learned part of the reason why contractors do not care for inspectors. Inspectors tend not to show up when they are suppose to and increase the projects duration by about one-third.  We wait for both  electrical and plumbing inspections today. So far (11:35 am) no inspector has showed up. Might as well be waiting for a cable guy or internet service man for all the reliability.

On 9 Aug 1862 the Battle of Cedar Mountain took place. The Confederates referred to it as the battle of Slaughter’s Mountain. It also shows up as the battle of Cedar Run, Cedar Run Mountain and Southwest Mountain as an amateur historian reads official reports.

This is enough rambling to fill a personal blog entry. Or, if you know the exact number of words that should be used to fill a personal blog entry, let me know.

Love  & Light