My Mind is a Ransacked Drawer

When Lori arrives gravity will be different.
The world will be the same weight.

I read the earth loses twenty-five tons of gases a day
but gains twenty-five tons of space debris.

When Voyager One passed beyond the Sun’s heliosphere
the earth wobbled a little bit more.

For the first time in five weeks
I am not afraid of a meteor slamming into Albuquerque.

The chickens laid more eggs this week
and three of them had green shells.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cleansing

We prayed for rain.
We danced for rain.

We sacrificed cheeseburgers for rain.
We drank beer for rain.

We sang rain songs.
We dressed up like little rain clouds.

Rain got the message.
Rain clouds gathered cousins from all around the world.

Rain arrived at two-seventeen on Wednesday.
Rain fell upon us in earnest.

We never saw rain like that before.
No roof kept the rain out.

No arroyo or river kept the rain in their banks.
Rain flooded the Catholic churches.

It flooded the Protestant churches too.
And the synagogues and mosques.

It was a good baptist rain
that insisted upon full immersion.

The Rio Grande flood plain
lived up to its name.

The rain washed buildings off the foothills
and down to the river.

The flood moved Albuquerque south
past Los Lunas and Belen.

The rain rained itself out by nine twenty-two.
The moon shone down on millions

of Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Be’s.
It glinted off droplets hung on bent and dinged serifs.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Remote Thought

Memory stampeded the front range
but did not bull over the Sandia mountains into Albuquerque.

All those hooves milled about head stones
in search of an argument thrust into the present by the past.

The wounds we once inflicted upon each other
never had their stitches removed.

That mending was one long thread
that unintentionally held us together over fourteen hundred miles.

This morning in the reservoir run dry
you found the drowned math needed for our accounting.

Our greener grasses are east of the Sandia mountains
under ambling hooves stirring up dust clouds

as Memory works its way up the front range
toward the Pecos River headwaters.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Below the News Helicopters

Our Friday ritual was to meet up
and walk the bosque
down by the Rio Grande
and stop for a late breakfast
at Flying Star cafe.

A fire burned a reported thirty acres
on both sides of the river
and the smoke made our walk
untenable.

We watched two fire companies
put out hot spots
on a computer screen
as our drone rose high enough
over the backyard to view the action.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Hankering

The rapture
was really a rupture

in Central Avenue
in downtown Albuquerque.

Three cars fell in
before human reaction

could place a foot
on the brakes.

An abandoned baby cried
on the sidewalk

as Oblivion reached a hand
past the shirtless boys

scattering the crowd
by the ice cream truck

and ordered two orange
Dreamsicles.

A man with a digital camera
filmed it all in Technicolor

while four wannabe preachers
spontaneously gave sermons

which summoned
four angels with broken wings

and oversized sewing kits
to stitch up Central Avenue.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dank

Paul laments the dead
with whiskey shots
until the world blurs
into a dysfunctional sleep.

A meteor spins downward
through the atmosphere
until it explodes
due to the misshapen friction.

He does not view
his mountain home as utopia
but a heartbreak
when he is away.

All the paperwork for the dead
got signed and delivered.
Properties did not change
but their titles did.

The dispossessed still haunt
the house and the Toyota—
Paul notices the little things
he did not notice before.

The ferryman is long ago paid
but not Uncle Sam.
Paul sorts through financial instruments
looking for a hammer.

He walks miles upon the mountain
but grieving does not find a place
among the boulders, piñon
and dry arroyos.

Paul is more aware of the dark
because he is often awake at night.
He feels lingering sorrows
only when the rain falls on Albuquerque.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Poorly Labeled

A package arrived today
at my Albuquerque home.

The corners were damp.
The package was labeled Rain.

With a box cutter
I slit the tape and opened it.

What I first thought were packing peanuts
was a cloud.

The cloud filled
half the height of the box.

When I pulled the cloud out
it expanded and covered our ceiling.

It rained on the carpet
all through the house.

As rain pelted me
I looked in the bottom of the box.

I saw blackened cardboard
where lightning struck.

The house shock with thunder.
The guest room bed burned.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bosque in Stereo

Fallen grace.
Boxed wine.
Convenience store wings.
Cottonwood shade.
Rio Grande angels.
Chase roadrunners.
Coyote foxtrot.
Crazy crow-prayer.
Bicycle roll-by blessings.
Sandia watermelon sugar.
Wind waves branches.
Declining sun.
Reddish cloud streamers.
Maximum moon.
Impulse girlfriend kiss.
Luminous animals.
Pin-drop owls.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Spritz

I take a baseball and toss it as high as I can.
My toss fails to puncture a cloud.

My hands fail to catch the ball when it returns to earth.
The ball’s white hide is now grass-stained.

I determine to practice until a throw punctures a cloud.
I require a great deal of practice.

A crowd gathers to watch my tosses.
No one interferes and some cheer me on.

The cheers apply to good tosses.
Ones that come really close to the clouds.

The crowd enlarges and people at the outer edge
are not quite sure why they are here.

Nor can they see me toss the ball
even though they do see the ball go up and up and up.

The fringe of the crowd starts drumming and dancing
which diverts part of my crowd to become their crowd.

Other parts of the fringe play music on instruments
while others startup rope-skipping competitions.

So the crowd’s attention is now split seven ways to Sunday
but it is Tuesday and the saying fails.

On my eleventy-twenty-third toss I hit a cloud
but do not puncture it as planned.

I think the cloud took pity on my tiring arm
and lowered itself.

Though it may have wanted a closer look
at the drummers, dancers, rope-skippers, and crowd.

The cloud rains just a little. Not much.
But enough to dampen a square inch of each shirt in the crowd.

We continued until it is nearly suppertime
when everyone disperses.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Born Outside Chicago

In Albuquerque Lincoln is not someone
who gets spoken about much.

Not even on his birthday
which has been compacted into President’s day.

His name is remembered
for the Lincoln County cattle wars

which included Billy the Kid
and sheriff Pat Garret.

It does not matter that the Civil War
was fought as far west as the Rio Grande.

Our big battles of Valverde Ford and Glorieta Pass
are barely skirmishes compared to the fighting

in Virginia and Tennessee
and mostly unknown to the average citizen.

I doubt Lincoln ever sent an official communication
to Edward Canby the Union commander in New Mexico.

I am sure the War department
sent orders and directives from Cameron and Stanton.

Every couple years I make the two day drive
to Springfield Illinois to refresh myself on all things Lincoln.

And then on to Santa Claus Indiana for his boyhood home
and on to Hodgeville Kentucky to visit his birth place.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney