Traffic Stop

In the clumsy countryside
bicyclists fell at one of twenty four speeds.

Unaware of this I traveled cross-country
on my Trek manufactured in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

I got confused by the lack of street signs
and turned into a long silence.

This disorientation landed me in front
of a cafe where angels roosted on the roof.

One of them served me tea.
She spilled a few drops on the wing-swept floor.

Before I ordered eggs over easy
she reminded me when she flies high

all of us bicyclists look like insects
navigating asphalt ribbon.

She put her foot down for emphasis
and I decided not to think out loud.

The syrup amplified the hotcakes
to the point where I could not hear the bacon sizzle.

The angel followed me outside from the register
and jerked my handlebars up to a thirty degree angle

so I might clear the unexplained and inexplicable divide
filled with betrayals of love.

I pedal into the sky rising like a moth
thinking the sun is as close as a street lamp.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

It was the Last of the Lucid Years

A litter of bent nails rusted on the bottom of my mind.
They were part of the self-implosion rubble.

My mid-life identity crisis bicycled me coast to coast.
I whimpered at the idea of returning to work.

If you are over twenty-one and your parents die
you are not counted as an orphan.

I barked a lot and chased cars.
I designed my own flag and declared my own country.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Pin Drop Bicycling

Pin-drop life spent among
transient sandhill cranes.

My legs struggle to keep up
on the migration north from Bosque del Apache.

This existence is beautiful
because I declare it so.

Not for the bird songs.
Not for the tourists viewing with binoculars.

So we cross the Platte
headed to marshes north of interstate ninety.

Minnesota’s ten thousand lakes.
Wisconsin’s Horicon.

Michigan’s upper peninsula.
And all over Canada.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Broken Helmet

My blood left my body
without my leave.

Three powers acted against my good will:
my pumping heart

gravity’s pull on my unbalanced bicycle
and the gash in my broken nose.

Blood did not gush
but dripped dripped dripped like a leaky faucet.

My nose screamed endlessly.
My mouth did not cooperate to give my nose voice.

Exposed to the air
my blood became oxygen rich.

Exposed to the sun
while pooling on the ground

my blood separated
into plasma and cell platelets.

My blood clotted quicker on the ground
than on my broken nose.

The blood freed from the tyranny of my body
sang jubilee and liberation.

Its songs were so beautiful
I asked my blood to sing at my funeral.

The EMTs hearing my muttered request
assured me I was not going to die.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


On 14 May 2021 I had a bicycle mishap and broke my nose while the ground gashed my nose open. The first person to come toward me in aid, blanched upon seeing me and got others to help. I did not realize how much blood was on my face, arm and ground when I waved to get their attention. After 4 hours in the ER, I was sent home. Taking a Lyft ride home (during Covid) from the ER is surreal. Technically my nose is healed, but still tender where my glasses press on it. My broken bicycle helmet is replaced and I am bicycling again and past the jitters.

Bicycling My Old Community

It was a shock
to see the adobe brick
was removed from the ruin
and to see a new structure
plastered and brightly painted.

The old wrought iron fence
with its spear-like projections
lay in a heap waiting
for workers to haul it
to the metal recycling site.

My eyes took it all in,
especially the checkerboard
tiled patio
that I was not sure
was true to the old ways
but looked trippy
for dancing.

A sign with pictures
of the two women
outlined the reclamation
of this historic building
and their plans to make it
an events center.

The sign spelled out
their names
and it was easy to tell
they were not from around here.
I wondered how this trespass
upon our mountain town
would go over with the families
whose influence
was revered like royalty
long before the Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

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

July Fourth

Fireworks started
popping off
each night
near sundown
in our neighborhood
from mid June
and kept up
well into August.

Early morning
when it was quiet
Dora drank
her coffee
out on the porch
entertained by
the thrashers
doing their back
and forth
feeding fledglings.

By seven-thirty
at the latest
I bicycled
a fifteen mile
loop to beat
the summer heat
and viewed
the burnt asphalt
and expended
from the previous
night’s colorful
of the lower sky.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Okay. It is past the Fourth of July. But on 25 August fireworks woke me from sound sleep as a neighbor or neighborhood teens set them off. I find I am willing to put up with a couple days of fire works explosions around the fourth, but not past Bastille Day at the latest. Unfortunately, the police have proved unable to enforce any ordinances against fireworks or excessive noise (short-term mobile noise).

Enough whining.

Love & Light.


Saint Christopher

I remember an old church
carved out of the back of a cave.

I am sure I was not supposed
to discover the practitioners’ secret.

But it rained too violently
when I was bicycling

and serendipity brought me
to the cave entrance.

It was the lingering incense
that emboldened me

past my fear of inclosed spaces
and that the earth desired to swallow me.

After a tight squeeze going upward
a dry gallery opened

with signs of the cross
and a crude alter of cut stone.

A bronze censer with its lid off
contained thick ashen residue.

A silver plate held dried out bread crumbs.
A crystal chalice wore smudged finger prints.

The walls exhibited red pigmented hand prints
and stick-figure stations of the cross.

I left my travelers medallion on the alter
as a sign and offering.

Then I left the sanctuary, the cave,
to re-entered the waning storm.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Although I have bicycled over 30k miles in my life and had my progress halted by severe storms on occasion, I have never found a cave to wait out the storm. So this poem is a fancy, a fiction to delight my imagination.


My wallet has two dollars.
My pocket has eighty-seven cents.

Not quite enough to run away from home forever.
But enough to run away for the day.

My bicycle navigates trails and back streets
thirty miles to a lake park with herons at the shoreline.

A photographer documents wildlife’s adjustments
to encroaching urbanization.

I ask the burger clerk if she enjoys
being the poorly paid instrument of unrestrained capitalism?

She stares blankly to a spot three feet behind my head.
Do you want fries with that?

An hour after watching folks picnic at the park,
I head home with three hours before supper

to work out a believable story of my day,
knowing suppertime conversation requires it.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


By the time I was ten years old, I started to adventure on my bicycle riding farther and farther from home each school-less day. A favorite place to go was the Morton Arboretum five miles from our home. When I was that age, the outskirts of my hometown still had cornfields and farm silos attached to barns. Over the next seven years, Chicago expanded outward over the farms. I kept riding farther and farther west to reach visible farms, woods, and lakes.