I failed to remember
the names I learned yesterday.

I remember the faces
that now have no caption with a name.

I possess GPS coordinates
of all of yesterday’s meetings and introductions.

My phone is not smart enough
to bluetooth the names and addresses of everyone I meet.

If my phone was smart enough
imagine all the people’s names and addresses

I accumulated out of proximity
rather than introduction and conversation.

Imagine if I could then sort all my contacts
by pulse rate or daily steps.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


In Pennsylvania
puddles that bubble up
from springs
are fire traps
if you believe
the anti-fracking literature.

If I was twelve
years old again
I would toss
lit matches
and systematically
into each puddle
to learn which ones
went Whoosh!

And then document
with GPS
their locations
by smart phone
through triangulation
of cell towers.

Needless to say
any puddle
in a woodland
would deserve
to determine
if a burst of flame
might ignite
the woods as a whole
with me
too close for

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


When I visit
the old farmstead
and the nearby town
I look for faces
that mirror mine.

More often I find
no resemblance
and I have to accept
that most of the line
relocated to Iowa
during the oh-eight recession.

That said, the banker
recognizes my father in me
and offers to buy me lunch
at the diner that once served
great depression soup lines
so I can fill him in
on what our family is up to
since the wind scattered us.

He points out a youth movement
in farming with technology
and how the old timers
couldn’t make ends meet
on family farms now too small
for efficiencies
and market fluctuations.

He makes arrangements
for me to meet the young man
who rents our acreage
and the adjoined family farms
where GPS navigation
did not turn the tractor around
for three straight miles.

Though this young man is new,
he walks us straight to the rows
where my dad’s ashes
were plowed into the black soil
twenty-eight years ago.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

False Hope

The wind turns the rickety blades of an ancient mill-pump,
but no water pours into the trough.

Adjacent to the trough lay some bones
and the tatters of sun-bleached clothes.

The bones are scattered about, probably by hungry animals.
Some display gnaw marks.

On finding a second jaw bone, I concluded
the bones belonged to a couple.

All the teeth are in the jaws—no fillings.
Whoever they were, they’d been too poor to purchase sugar.

My cell phone displays one bar.
The sheriff’s office acknowledges my call and GPS location.

In the sparse shade of a piñon, I sip water sparingly,
not knowing how long I will wait for the government to arrive.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


This poem is my imagination expanding a rickety windmill passed while hiking into a story-poem.