Garden Spots

I’ve wandered this desert so long,
the shitty little towns
appear inviting.

Each one has two or three saloons
per gas station
and stray dogs by the dozens.

Occasionally I spot
a state patrol car outside a diner
and presume a waitress-romance

seeing as not much else
seems to be in play
to sustain a single person.

The wild horses, heads down,
approach watered yards
and anything growing green.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

No Questions Asked

The dust was dust, but it moved
in the guise of grasshoppers.
The dust filled an empty coke-a-cola bottle.
An old, greenish glass bottle
with the lettering stripped
by other self-motivated anti-corporate dust.

The high priestess of the desert
walked in the footprints of a coyote.
She wore disagreement as a colorful garment.
She wore sandals with bells tied to the straps.

The dust heard her arriving
near their new bottle residence
and knew her own dust
slowly entered the air exiting her backbone
as a processional through a gate.

The high priestess of the desert
drank some water from a canteen.
The water in the canteen replaced her lost sweat.
Her dust remained lost to her.

The dust remained dust
and accepted its new companions.
Dust released from the high priestess of the desert
joined the dry ocean bed of relatives
even though they carried no crust of abandoned salt.

The high priestess of the desert
laid down on a spot exactly six feet above
the bones of an ancient dolphin
that swam the wrong direction as the ocean died.

The dust was dust, but it moved
in the guise of grasshoppers.
It gathered in the folds of the priestess’ clothes.
The dust believed she surrendered.
The dust welcomed her home.

copyright © 2016 Kenneth P. Gurney


The highway embedded itself in the desert.
It oozed blackness onto the gravel shoulder.
It bent summer’s heat into mysterious lakes.

The desert did not want the highway.
It missed the ruts of drawn wagons,
the conversations carted by mules and oxen.

Eighteen-wheelers don’t talk much
to the cholla, the saguaro, the buffalo grass,
let alone the salt earth and spare arroyos.

The desert song birds do not sing
for the Department of Transportation foreman,
for the locals hired to put a new layer of asphalt down.

The turkey vultures circle over the thin black line.
They recognize Death’s thin black scrawl
upon the desert parchment.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney