We lay still for a while.
Clouds crawl across the sky.
Sweetgrass in the wind tickles your ear.

The land slopes downward south and east.
Say’s Phoebe flies over us catching.
We eavesdrop on an extinction event.

Our lifelong volcano without surprises.
The geological alarm clock steadily ticks.
It accumulates seconds. Pressure.

The bulge not yet showing.
In the ancient cone, rainwater
does not pool for long.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I wrote this a month ago, three weeks before I learned the caldera under Yellowstone is filling with lava and has lifted the landscape (the size of metro Chicago) by 5 inches.

Our volcano cones west of Albuquerque are as calm as ever.

Star Spangled Tie

Exposed sky covers itself with clouds.
Extreme extinction endlessly on the cusp.

Make no mistake when cooing.
Make no swallows of ginkgo-numeric tea.

The barn awaits a clean sweep.
The barn stores folk songs in the loft.

Unimaginable pain fleets an uncertain future.
Unrequited pain finds a bar and orders.

I understand you meant your other Yes.
I depend upon the impossibility of your No.

No ticker-tape rains on our parade.
No jazz to twist into balloons over our heads.

Sequined words sewn on a poem sparkle.
Shoulder blade cuts steak into bitesized pieces.

This morning will return in March reruns.
This evening bruises all the good girls and boys.

God’s plan, all in tatters, drifts on streets as litter.
God’s trinity is boycotted as a good ol’ boys club.

I create a suit to clothe your needs.
I tattoo a star spangled tie to your chest.

Copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


This poem is a fancy made from word play and stream of consciousness. If you find a deeper meaning to it, please educate me with a comment.


What if it is all God?

The devil was an invention
to explain unpleasant realities.

I just feel it.
Heart. Bones. Breath.

Shear vanity to think
we are more important
to the grand scheme
than cut worms,
and a broad array of spiders.

There are micro-organisms
with gigantic plans
rooting for the sixth great mass extinction
to clear the way
for their glory.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I found the place Dora hides her wooden box
where she stores her animal fetish carvings.

The place is in a tree, attached to the back side
of a weathered birdhouse empty for years.

Her box is rosewood, well oiled, embossed
with an orca on the lid and the sky inside on the bottom.

The carved stone animals, it turns out, Dora swallowed
to enhance her plots, schemes and tricks of the eye.

Though that is my interpretation, not hers.
Her intent, absent from a hollow in the air, lacks explanation.

With the sixth mass extinction close at hand,
she plans survival strategies with new creatures

while the last of us, breathless, stare in awe
as they exit her spoken words two by two.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney