All Saints’ And Souls’

I procrastinated
longer than usual
to coordinate
the family reunion.
So much so
I was
the only one
who RSVP’d
for a September
in Albuquerque
New Mexico.
So, I changed
the date
to Día de los
and the location
to the cemetery
Winged Victory
watches over
the gate.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Liberty Cap

Paul found his inheritance
in the garage
in a wheelbarrow.

A hundred and fifty
pounds or more of pennies
with the promise

some few of them
wore wheat and others
with designs that predated Lincoln.

Paul researched and returned the fact
that a hundred and forty-seven
copper pennies weighs one pound

while the modern zinc coins
require one hundred eighty-two
and that leaves

those three strange steel pennies
minted during World War Two
at one hundred and sixty-eight per pound.

A foot note stated
one hundred dollars of zinc pennies
weighs sixty-eight pounds

which places his inheritance
at less than three hundred dollars
from which he will have to subtract

the labor necessary
to sort and separate the pennies
by year and images

then roll the common modern coins
and research the rare ones
in case there is a jackpot winner.

Paul started salting Albuquerque neighborhoods
with heads-up pennies
for all who believed the superstition.

Find a penny, pick it up.
All day long you’ll have good luck.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Liberty Cap is a type of penny minted in the late 1700s. Link to Liberty Cap on Wikipedia.


Delphi recalls her dog
after lavender overwhelmed its senses.

The dog ran outside herself
the silver thread barely visible in moonlight.

Delphi knows the importances
of walking away from yourself to gain perspective.

Last night she swam the ether
to the international space station.

Some part of deep sleep
rewinds the soul-cord to the bodily spool.

The dog inflated its astral self
like a balloon at Albuquerque’s Fiesta.

She meant to spread herself like a kite
to catch the solar wind.

There she was the next morning
curled, tail on nose, at the foot of the bed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

I Trusted The North Star

As a kid,
each mile
I pedaled
from home
grew the world

My parents
helped me
grow the world
by taking
summer vacations
to national parks
all over
the lower
the adjacent
Canadian provinces
and a special trip
over the Pacific
to Hawaii.

When I reached
my majority
and purchased
my first car
I expanded
the world
to the limits
of my courage
by taking jobs
in nine different states
over the years.

All this growth
then sped up
on my last move
where I
stopped short
of Moab, Utah
and landed in
where I met
and stayed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

In Service Of A Mystery

Paul renamed Albuquerque Jerusalem
but no one paid any heed
to this departure.

It remained so even after
he took out a full page ad
in the Albuquerque Journal.

And ads on Google Searches
for the Duke City
over the last three months.

It was the uptick in violence
during the pandemic
that spurred Paul

to remove the Spanish Nobleman
and the conquistadors
with their bloody history

and replace them
with an Abode of Peace
by the long river.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cache of Four

My sleep drifts.
I wake unintentionally slanted.
I walk all day at an angle.
Lean in my chair.
My cursive handwriting improves.

Each Christian meme
reinforces the proclamation
I am not saved
and heaven rejects me
at the river’s edge
because I do not claim
Jesus as my savior.

Just south of Albuquerque
the green farm fields
contrast the desert land
above the flood plain
and though the Rio Grande
does not appear swift or deep
the current will drag
you under for the fishes
and bull frogs.

In places God seems readily apparent
and those places have nothing
to do with humans
and their destructive constructions.
I cannot claim to know fully
how Ego skyrocketed
apartments and business buildings
into right-angle canyons.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Seconds are years
when you wake too early,
cannot fall back to sleep
and the mattress
feels like it would prefer
the exquisite form
of someone else’s body.

A war starts in Albuquerque
but it is so familiar
and of such an ordinary size
the news does not recognize it
even though it is part
of the incidental music
behind the city streets.

A new line of street lamps,
made of recycled hand guns,
are accustomed to the heat
of a different type of ignition
and make a brief flash
instead of something constant.

The sky is pocked
with brightly colored balloons
practicing ascension
for those who believe
the end of the world is nigh
and not a night when sleep
is torturously out of reach,
like car keys an inch past
outstretched fingertips
through the sewer grate.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul mistook his voice
for a headstone hallucination
in the whisky shot aftermath
downed in salute.

There the voice was again,
with trillions upon trillions of miles
of heaven travel grime
spattered upon it.

It dripped with dark matter.
With Higgs bosons.
With a neutrino halo
caught in the gravity of Paul’s grief.

His voice bruised Paul’s ears.
Might as well have been a meteorite
slamming into Albuquerque,
cratering the day’s expectations.

The voice momentarily
fossilized Paul’s bones and breath
and tears fell from his eyes deepening
the scuffed bootblack on his shoes.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

After A Rain

I noticed the ground never felt a drop.
The dictionary has a word to describe that phenomena
but I am at a loss for its first syllable.

I wondered if the parched vegetation
found this funny and laughed
with the reassembling clouds.

Heat rose from the granite.
It bent the air and formed its own
dry rainbows with dust.

It is silly of me to bicycle old US highways
across the continental divide
under such conditions,

but nothing much will change
until next month and I wish
to be home in Albuquerque come Tuesday.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Long Shot

Data shows
the chances of
asteroid 2018VP1
hitting our planet
on November second
is less than
half a percentage point.

Even if it did hit earth
the asteroid
is way too small
to cause Armageddon.
It is measured
at one-tenth the size
of the Chelyabinsk meteor
that generated
a bright airburst flash
which sent a shockwave
through the region,
injuring about
fifteen hundred people
and damaging
seventy-two hundred buildings
in Twenty-thirteen.

I will check
the Vegas odds
on asteroid 2018VP1
hitting Albuquerque
so I may place
a fat wager,
payable upon impact,
to my State of Franklin
friend Beth.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney