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

Reach

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

Visitation

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

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

I am stuck.
My story moves on without me.

Some times people see my face reflected
in a mirror or plate glass.

It makes little difference if I run.
I cannot catch up.

I cannot catch a plane in Albuquerque
and land in time at Chicago Midway.

I fear for myself. This deviation
from fate’s script and crafted lines.

Will I now face the Spanish Inquisition?
Will I now walk an empty park void of birds?

I imagine this could be called freedom—
this being stuck for a time.

It gives me a chance to appreciate
all that it is to be human.

To enjoy my cup of Earl Grey
while reading Shakespeare’s sonnets.

It could be this script
is the one before the latest rewrite.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Day Of The Dead

White flags flap the streets under street lamps.
I am not sure to whom Albuquerque has surrendered.

Abandoned cars take the place of cheap motel rooms
and couples hookup to knock the rust off sex.

The heat generates a fog that cloaks the Central Avenue bridge.
The fog sparks with a Día de Muertos magic.

Border separated families emerge
into the land of the free, the home of the brave

to locate their missing loved ones, crossing the span
in a symbolic entry over the Rio Grande.

Albuquerque and all of New Mexico sheds
a long political intolerance tragedy.

I.C.E. agents and political operatives pack their bags
and head home to stimulate the holiday economy.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

Okay. Day of the Dead was at the beginning of November and it is the day after Thanksgiving at the end of November. Inspiration arrives when it arrives without asking consent or paying attention to holiday correctness.

The border tragedies the U. S. government has enacted during Trump’s term in separating families has bothered me to no end. I believe the whole program is a human rights violation. Part of the UN definition of genocide (BBC explanation here) involves separating children from families. So, in my mind, large numbers of federal employees helped perpetrate, in the name of the American People, a genocide.

I am regularly amazed how often people who claim alignment to a religion that is created around the idea of the Golden Rule commit such heinous actions. Maybe amazed is the wrong word and I should say appalled.

I think everyone has to help ensure everyone else’s rights are maintained so their rights are maintained. This is why we have a rule of law and work to make sure those laws are fair and fairly applied.

So much for my Friday morning soap box appearance.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.

Kenneth

Twenties

I raise my right hand.
My left hand rests upon a pine bough
that will be pulped soon and turned into bible pages.

No swearing in takes place.
No cussing out takes place either.

This testament has something to do
with the many faces of Jesus.

I know there was only one Christ.
But so many people wrote the gospels:
Canonical, Gnostic, Jewish-Christian, Infancy,
reconstructed, fragmentary and lost,
from the first Matthew to last century’s Gabriele Wittek.

More gospels than I have fingers and toes to count.
Fewer gospels than sparrows & finches at my bird feeder.

I recall our last meeting—the Christ and myself.
A cafe with a Middle Earth motif.
I found her outside the front door
with a whimsical cardboard sign
made with a carbon-6 molecule drawing
requesting organic dietary supplements.

I ordered green chile cheeseburgers
and lemonades for us both.

She invited me to leave my body.
But I love Albuquerque, the beauty of its faults
and messy racial-cultural issues,
and refused to go.

The Christian inquisition
before which I testify
wishes proof of the girl’s divinity,
but I have nothing more to share
than her cardboard sign
with its black block lettering.

I mean, I just knew she was the Christ.

I just knew she needed help
so I declared her the Christ
to make it easier
to liberate twenties
from my wallet
beyond the cost of lunch.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

An Angel Of The Lord

An angel of the lord descended from heaven
and set foot upon the Rio Grande.

She exchanged wings for a blue jean jacket
and placed a holy sadness in the book bag upon her back.

Along the bosque trail, adjacent to the Rio Grande,
we met and I introduced myself.

The words that formed her name
revealed the threads that form the fabric of the universe.

The iron of my own blood formed a gravity well
and I felt the weight of a new world pull on me.

The angel informed me that as I am allotted one life
so the earth is our one earth.

She turned her head and watched a heron
spear a fish and swallow it.

She transformed me into a heron
and herself into the salmon of knowledge.

Thus I speared and consumed her.
The iron gravity well of my blood drew me back into my own shape.

I walked to the bridge and rejoined the city.
Urgently I spoke to folks on the sidewalks.

I had not yet digested all her knowledge
thus spoke in tongues, so I sounded like a mad man.

Albuquerque’s homeless population had increased.
The city’s mental healthcare system was faulty.

The sidewalk people either avoided me
or offered me coins from their pockets.

Failing to transmit her message, my blood boiled with frustration.
The iron grouped into a ball to form a new core.

We have only this earth, our one earth.
My blood iron formed a new belief set core.

At Fourth and Central my words settled back into English.
My first words expressed the consumed angel’s holy sadness.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Display

In Glen Ellyn, Illinois
my footsteps work the ground
forty long years after I exported myself.

Those footsteps still pay a local tax
to appear in the dirt near the swing set
on the hill overlooking the lake.

Once a place has been a part of you,
it never lets you go completely.
Or you see it in sepia toned, dog-eared memories.

My survival appears so ordinary.
In the ground a hundred childhood atrocities
lay buried waiting for archaeologists.

I mean, they are excavated and brushed clean
in some therapeutic lab, awaiting display at a museum
for the curious and those who tag along.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico
my present footsteps thru the Sandia Mountains
appeal to my nineteen-sixties footsteps

to stop their seismic activity
that threatens to alter the Mississippi’s flow
and tilt Lake Michigan to drain south.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney