Paul’s granite expression
spoke volumes of crows
to the pentecostal lines
queued for their dunking.

Interrupted by a plume
of cigarette smoke
his cough coincided
with an earthly tremor.

The faithful thus shaken
took a step back from the plunge
to see if the crows smoldered
then burst into flame.

A few questioned
their stone tablet impressions
and the weight those slabs placed
upon their shoulders.

A gargoyle channeled the river to mud
and ended hope for many
unaware that a few of them
would not have resurfaced if submerged.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


The trailhead plaque
warned of mountain lions
and bears.

A crow perched upon
the top of the plaque
cast dark shadows on the letters.

The presence of no one else
uninstalled the word intrepid
from my self-description.

I wondered if it was a good day to die.
I wondered if it was a good day
to catch a movie matinee instead.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Crows Flying

In a dream
the crows came
to the place
where your body
lay dead
and clutched
your limbs
in their claws
then heaved
their wings
and bore you
into the sky
in a reenactment
of how
they once
lifted the moon
beyond the clouds.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


A torn umbrella
tumbleweeds away.

A styrofoam cup
loop de loops and barrel rolls.

The rain drops sizzle
on the two lane blacktop.

Soaked red canvas shoe,
still bright, appears forlorn.

Blue gum wad
sticks to white edge line.

The clouds part.
Two trees rain crows.

A storm tossed man huffs
and puffs the diner door open.

The hostess refuses him
a seat at the counter.

His one bare foot
disqualifies entry.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shrouding The Doorstep

A running narrative
curled past the curb
with minimal motion
and fresh history
of the children
beyond the railroad tracks
and its
telephone lines
with ever present
crows mumbling
untranslated elegies
for the eyes that look
at the green failure
and witness
the unwillingness
of plantation mentality
to stock haloes,
since they are earned
and not sold.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Gripped in déjà vu
an orange peel sky
gives way
to approaching headlights.

A long way from home
I am slowed by mud clods
upon other mud clods
unmoved by sticks.

Fence posts await barbwire
to become a barrier.
Crows break in the posts
while surveying traffic.

Despite the distant thunderbolt
my cell phone remains at zero.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


It is important
while you live
that you talk
to the crows
and develop
a comfort level
with their acquaintance
since the ferry
across the river
is a myth
and to fly you across
only crows wings
will aid your escape
from earthly shadows.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Pine Seeds

We walked the edge.
The air tasted charred.
In places, the ground heated through to our feet.

An island remained.
Evergreens in a burn scar river.
Fortune smiled on future growth.

Crows circled for the unfortunate.
A porcupine limped across
black ground speckled with fire germinated pine seeds.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


A 6-4-3 double-play of poems.
A smoke screen of poems.
A consequence of poems.
An enrichment of poems.
An exposure of poems.
A sequence of poems.
A conclave of poems.
A laughing of poems
An arousal of poems.
A corsage of poems.
A nesting of poems.
A murder of crows.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


A list poem like this might be indicative of a slow poem writing day or an imagination exercise. In this case no. This poem is three times removed from its starting point. I think three times reduced is a better phrase, since it is about one-third the number of lines it started with and I whittled out (with Dianne’s input) a bunch of lines where I demonstrated my love of my own voice and wit saying things that do not make (or obliquely make) much sense in the eyes of others.

Every good writer needs an editor. The better the editor the better the writing becomes. Do not be afraid of editors or folks who give you input about your writing. In the age of word-processors it is easy to make many variations of a poem without losing your original good (or bad) inspiration.

It takes me a month or two to get far enough away from my original creative spark to look at piece critically. When I submitted work regularly to publications I had to keep this fact in mind and give a poem time to sit around for editing, instead of immediately sending it out for publication.

If you live in the rain soaked part of Texas (the greater Houston area), please stay safe and heed your local officials. My donation to the Red Cross to help out is made.

Love & Light



The Americans lined up the Navajo,
one hundred and twenty-three in all, and shot them.

There was no trench made for burial.
The crows and coyotes feasted that afternoon and night.

The Navajo did not rise up.
The songs of their distant loved ones were not so strong.

The Navajo dead lingered and watch the crows and coyotes
disperse their earthly substance.

The one who survived, rose the next morning
and walked the meandering arroyo to my home.

With visible red wounds,
she stood on my doorstep and related her story

so it would become my story as well
whether I joined the story with courage or cowardice.

After tending to her wounds and thirst
we walked the wide dry land blown clean of foot prints.

The gravity of the event drew us straight to the site.
We arrived at the end of the day when all was near shadow.

Nature cleared all signs of the massacre.
Then again, we saw in two lights.

A tree rooted in sorrow grew at the edge of the arroyo.
Its bark was the color of bone. Its roots exposed.

The tree’s leaves sparkled like stars.
There were one hundred and twenty-two.

The woman found a hollow bone with holes pecked by crows.
She picked up the bone and played it as a flute.

She blended into the shadows, the tree roots and the arroyo.
Water sprang from the sandy soil and flowed toward the sea.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


One of my pleasures in writing is creating myth or mythic images. The first draft of this poem arrived about a month ago. I had recently finished reading Blood and Thunder, by Hampton Sides. The portions of the book dealing with the Navajo were fresh in my mind.

I know the myths I create will not be long remembered, because they (most likely) will not be adopted by an entire culture and form a basis of the culture, like the Norse myths did for the peoples of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. This does not stop me from writing them for the simple pleasure of the act.

Is it fair for me to add other cultures into my myth making? That is a question I ask myself from time to time. During the act of creating the piece, I do not think about it. The poem simply comes out. Because that seems to me a very organic process, I feel the other cultures incorporated into my writing are fair. I am aware others may (and do) disagree.

Love & Light