Knee Deep

Never mind the tube of glitter
emptied on the muddy river to give it sparkle.

Temper raises the temperature outdoors
too minutely to measure.

The lagoon in the oxbow is the home
of a hundred million mosquitos.

The river wishes it slept so well
as a dog after a day herding sheep.

The river does not understand
the contiguous nature of states in its channel.

This afternoon we are without our quest
for transcendent Nirvana

and without our quest find it
while retrieving glitter from the shallows.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Tree Casts its Protective Shadow like Dice

How odd to see a ceiling fan
on the bottom of the Rio Grande rotating.

It could explain the geese
flying in circles without ceasing.

Maybe the line of their flight
will turn black and solid come winter.

The dog lies on red clay
enamored with the thought of tile.

The dog is tired from chasing goats
through fallen rose petals.

See how her sleep is interrupted
by its paw’s movement.

That too is the ceiling fan’s radiance—
a current flow submerging footprints.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dogwood We Joked

After Paul’s dog
was put down
when her kidneys failed
he dug a hole
and filled it with
the canine body
and on top
he placed a sapling.
This grave event
required a starry
darkness to open
a small door
in Paul’s brain
for technicolor memories
to turn sepia
through acceptance
and letting go
of grief.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Friends

We ate almonds and apple slices
at a picnic table.

We debated whether this public square
should be lined with fruit trees.

You suggested the drought will turn
this city into a wasteland.

We discussed the Ukraine war
as if we were military tacticians.

Your dog carried a rat it killed
and dropped it between our feet.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

When the Entire World was Small

Paul embraced Lori
like old friends instead of lovers.

The hug was a loose fit.
Lori nearly fell backward out of the hug.

She nearly fell forward into Paul.
She held him tighter to steady herself.

Paul noticed Lori’s balancing act.
He marveled at human intricacies

as she displayed constellations
in her night eyes.

Lori’s dog barked once at them
then curled (nose under tale)

in her spot by the hearth
just outside the farthest singe mark.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Godzilla

We sat on the beach.
The tide licked our feet.
Our arms set slightly behind us
propped us upright.
We sat close enough
to converse—not touch.
We listened.

The waves drew off anxiety
as they receded
to gather themselves
for another go
at splashing our knees.

An unattended dog
investigated us
She sniffed our salt-spay skin
then attempted to burrow
her head under my arm
then your arm.

The dog moved on
to children up the beach—
Godzilla to their sandcastle.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Unnecessary

Dog chasing cat movies
went viral.

The cats sprinted up trees
to escape.

This was repeated
by differing species all over the world.

In thousands of postings
with billions of views.

A thousand million people
worry about the cat.

How the cat will get out of the tree.
Thus home.

No smart-phone documentarian
has yet filmed

a dead cat in a tree.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Inspiration

It use to be I got inspired to write poems
while walking four to ten miles on the mountain.

If my dogs accompanied me, I got less inspiration
because I minded them instead of inspiration.

It was not that my dogs were not inspiring
but I was sick of writing dog poem variations.

I did find positive feedback from poetry readings
brought out the desire in me to write more popular poems.

But then I wrote poems from that part of my head
that wanted to write positive feedback poems

and it pandered to the likes and dislikes of the audience
instead of writing from the heart.

My heart was happy I walked four
to ten miles on the mountain each day

since that kept my heart in good shape
and it beat without obstruction.

My beating heart did not care if I wrote poems or not.
I liked it when the dogs came along because my heart beat lighter.

During my walks on the mountain
I paid less attention to the mountain

than to my recent human interactions
especially if they involved love or the lust form of love.

The mountain and the mountain forests
did not feel ignored by my inattention to them.

Occasionally I was so lost in replay of an interaction
I tripped and fell due to inattention to the mountain.

My falls did not bang poems out of my head.
Though they banged a poem or two into my scraped hands for typing.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Underlying All Molecules

The revisionists got hold of the bible
and started a rewrite with Genesis.
They extended it to include evidence
of evolution and carbon-fourteen dating.

They dumped the begat chapter.

They created one hundred and seventy-two
synchronistic Abrahams
one each in the different cultures of the world
founding a religion as best each Abraham understood.

God did not order anyone to sacrifice a child.

The revisionists used two different fonts.
One for metaphorical verses.
One for literal verses.
They did not consider colored ink due to expense.

They did not include Jesus.

The revisionists made God
able to communicate with everyone at a heartfelt level
so that a savior was unnecessary.
Race and nationality never became an issue.

They gave women equal footing with men.

They gave people dogs instead of dogma.
Ritual remained important.
But not so important that ritual was static
and unbending.

There were no lists of death sentences.

The revisionists made clear that the apocalypse
was not an act of war or divine reckoning
but a revealing of the truth that exposed all closets
so people could be themselves—unafraid.

copyright © Kenneth P. Gurney

Evergreen Air Freshener Hangs from a Light

A broken TV
receives and projects
only FOX Opinion
to rooms outfitted with
green La-Z-boy loungers
set on synthetic carpets
with cigarette ash burns.

The sound comes out
of stereo speakers
that flank the fickle flat screen.
The fake walnut casing
clashes with the Bronco orange
paint on the walls.

A dog sleeps at the far end of the room
alert enough in sleep to wake
if a single footstep touches the carpet
even if the steps lead away
into the kitchen and a half empty case
of beer cans.

Flies in the kitchen buzz
in slow death on a toxic strip
or in full life over food
not yet put away into the fridge
after canned supper
was emptied into a pan.

The only art on the walls
is provided by gun manufacturers
who sold this guy
on the idea of survival
after the apocalypse
of democracy
spread to all hands.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney