Paul decides to walk to the ends of the Earth.

He understands he lives on a sphere
and, technically, there is no end to the walking.

He departs on this adventure anyway.

After walking through every type of landscape
traversable by human feet
he comes to a stopping point.

At first it appears to be a red circle
that is slightly domed.

A red button.

It is in a location that feels like the ends of the Earth
but does no look so, being a grassy field.

He stands on the slight red dome and looks around.

There are growing grasses
belt high in every observable direction
that bob in a slight breeze
then he gets dizzy. Very dizzy.

The world flickers by in snapshot images
of all the sites he’s seen in his travels
and the many people he met.

He reals from nausea worried he is going to retch.
His ears fill with the high pitched whine of insect wings.

When the dizziness and nausea clears
Paul stands on his doorstep where he started.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


I tried to be real
but the emotional cost was too high
when I discovered
people preferred the lie I lived
over the honest me.

At least it did not stop the Earth spinning
or more important its molten iron core.

I guess my difficulty is that I do not dance
even when I have the money
to name the tune
since I find rhythm a bit

The Dead of Antietam photograph exhibit
haunts me still—two lives later.

I tried to learn the origin of boots in cemeteries
at places like Boot Hill
but made the mistake of searching east
of the Mississippi
instead of the western Kansas plains.

None of this has to do with lightning
striking certain types of wet rock and creating RNA.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

While We Are People

Poetry is a sign of my ancestors
interacting with my great grand children
none of whom I have seen or met.

This Now is a timeline
twisting into rope.
And untwisting as well.

This instant is a binding
and an unraveling
that affects the beginning and end.

Poetry is a fathomless orange
marking a reconstruction
of innermost perception.

Not some wild guess.
Not some flock of geese rising off a lake.
Not some infants index finger pointing.

I asked for your raw emotions
instead of a mask—
but the crowd scared you thirsty.

The orange sunset
tossed the edge of the world high—
with no sign it will return to earth.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Very Bad Thing

Delphi’s shoulders are now much smaller
thus do not hold up the world anymore.

At least she asked for help
and we all pitched in to steady earth’s orbit.

We took turns spreading liniment
on achy muscles we could not reach ourselves.

Delphi made a schedule
so not everyone would help the same day.

Tomorrow we must realign the planet
so Wisconsin is not at the equator.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Daughter of the Red Cliffs

The instant the Blue Woman’s daughter
was born, the earth spoke harshly:
everyone listened, some ran out of the hospital,
some crossed themselves and muttered prayers
to the blessed virgin.

Like any mother warning an intruder
to stay away from her child,
the Blue Woman screamed
with the final flexing of muscles
that pushed her daughter
into the attending midwife’s hands
and the earth backed up three paces,
spoke again, but softer, conceding,
then grumbled its discontent
in another part of the city.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


An idea turns my head
to the night-dark sky

and I ask, Why is Heaven
placed in all that emptiness?

I lost myself looking up
and fell into simple easy breathing.

I move to relax
under a late Autumn elm tree.

I notice how its slim branches
connect stars

the tips plug into the sky
and channel Heaven into Earth’s soil.

I reach my hand up, fingers spread,
to accomplish the same.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Card Game

Dora stopped playing.
The earth stopped turning.

The stick figures of distant people
tottered and fell down
as the world stuttered to a stop.

One hundred and thirteen religions
sprang into existence
with various explanations
and interpretations of events.

Dora returned from the bathroom.
She picked up her newly dealt hand.
The earth began to spin.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I think about leaving.
as I sit against a witness tree.
It is all about staying.
It is all about this beloved earth.

I sing time into a fog.
I feel memory unwrap from my being.
As I waft away from gravity
I know memory is the tether that holds me here.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


From an old faded
purple velvet
Crown Royal bag,
Dora draws Night out
and unfolds it.
For a few minutes
she spins it
on her raised fist,
then tosses it
high into the sky
and canopies
the earth with stars
to a depth unseen
and unfelt in daylight.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney