Your Side Of The Bed

I see you have a new
boa constrictor.

Your voice tells it
to stop crushing the elephant

decorated comforter
or you’ll put it out to the dog house.

Last year’s dandelion puffs
cloud your bathtub

in place of fragrant
bath bubbles.

This prevents you from
soaking too long

thus pruning your skin
into a bushel of peri-wrinkles.

Our dog started eating
the boa constrictor’s tail

just as the boa swallowed
our dog’s tail

in the imitation
of something mythic

I once heard you murmur
between your petite snores.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Rural Wind By The Border

It was more like the songs played us
after observing the dogs walking us.

A horse mulls about the pasture
trying to remember the lyrics to a torch song.

If you flag the Greyhound down
it halts and picks you up

without the nicety of a bus stop
but you better be going east or west.

A whisper stalked through
the cornfield this morning.

It gently told me something
I could not translate from its Spanish.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Everything Road

Paul once lived
at the dead end
of a dirt road
where a thicket
of juniper
and piñon
halted progress.
If you looked
you could see
the scattered dust
from the car
rolling on to
the driveway
settle on leaf
green needles.
If you were lucky
you would see
his sweetie
pin laundry
to the clothesline
stretched between
the corner
of the house
and a four by four
eight feet tall
sunk into the ground
with grey cement
not yet covered over
with dust, dirt
and buffalo grass.
It was beautiful
with two dogs
romping around
the yard
with no white
picket fence
or any fence at all.
At the west end
of their five acres
lived a great horned owl
and at the east end
a red-tailed hawk
and the two predators
managed nicely
without a war
for dominance
of the rabbit population.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Suddenly

Bethany awoke
naked and confused
as a morning shower
dotted her skin
in a breezeless field
of lavender rows.

She sat up
and spotted
her dropped cloths
leading back
to the two-lane
highway—
the only way
in or out
of the peninsula.

She remembered
walking away
from a rumor-filled
harbor town
where pedestrian eyes
drilled holes in her spine
and the neighbor
who poisoned her dog.

A golden retriever
bounded
down the heavily
scented rows
to investigate her,
bowled her over
back onto the dirt
and planted
dog kisses
upon her
tight-lipped face.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trick Of Light

Tonight,
speaking for the dead,
a reflection
of a musical road
opens in the starry sky
to the sound
of rubber
on gravel.

See the split second
animal lives
as species struggle
to answer the call
of the twisted snake
inside them.

Might as well
eat both feet
up to the ankle
to form a human
Oroborus.

Tell the dog
this act
is symbolic
and she is safe
even when she hears
stomachs
jump start
the wild hunt.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sayings

Angel, you live in the holy light
and we live in your shadows.

Please dance so your movement
lets a little light through

and I can see when the light glints
off my daughter’s sparkly halo.

I scrub the kitchen floor
and this corner is too dark for me to tell

if I got it Clean as a whistle
so I may prove I have done nothing immoral.

Angel, thank you for folding your wings
and getting down on your hands and knees

to help me buff this linoleum beautiful
as in Cleanliness is next to godliness.

But Angel, you spread that darkness
over my shiny linoleum floor—

the shadowy shape my dog casts
carrying a dead squirrel to her dish.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Three Times A Week

Blonde-One stops
at path-side stones
to sniff the local news.
She takes her time.

Her vinegar attitude
toward strangers
keeps them at a respectful distance.
We meet only two.

She stops to chew
a thorn out of her paw
instead of limping
to keep pace with me.

Blonde-One accompanies me
on the dry trail above Taos:
south of the Reservation,
north of the road to Angel Fire.

The trail covers a six mile loop.
In spite of the fact she has aged
she makes the round trip
because it is What we do.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

Today marks the first day of year three in my goal to post one poem per day for three full years. So two years are completed. For those of you who have followed me on this journey, thank you.

Yes. Blonde-One was the name of one of my dogs. She was a rescue that was matched up with the black furred dog I already had. His name was Shadow, more because he shadowed my movements as a puppy than his black fur. I planned to keep Blonde-One nameless for a week to ten days to get an idea of her personality, but she quickly understood the descriptor I used when we met other people meant her. So Blonde-One stuck because she answered to it.

There Now

Twenty-seven years gone
but my dog is young again
riding shotgun in the car
with her nose pressed
to the crack in the window.

Speed generated wind
brings her a thousand stories
as the great plains
rise gently toward the Rockies
and the forest trails we once walked.

For old times sake
I pull off the highway
for a quarter pounder
and buy her a cheeseburger
that she’ll consume in one bite.

Eventually I park the car
at a trailhead on the Spanish Peaks.
Even her golden ghost refuses
to jump out the open door and walk
the trail up to where the thunder gods hangout.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

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

Interviewing

A dog waits for the right person.
Her nose records stories.

The right person will know her name.
There will be a ball of the right size.

It will not squeak.
No squeaky toys!

The yard will house three point two squirrels.
She will keep the squirrels treed.

The person will understand her contract
prohibits killing squirrels.

As long as they stay in trees.
On the ground—fair game.

Her right person will not use her
to torment frightened people onto slave ships.

Her right person allows laborers to unionize
and drive hard, but fair bargains.

No rounding up cattle.
They have enough problems.

In a famine her right person
will share the last scrap of food with her.

She half-closes her eyes
and sniffs more stories as they walk by.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney