Earth Shattering

Dora drives west.
Interstate Forty out of Albuquerque.
Schrödinger’s cat sits in the passenger seat.
Its superposition alters with each mile marker.
At tenths of miles posted by the highway department.

The setting moon eggs the sky.
On even tenths the cat stares out the windshield.
On odd tenths the cat sleeps curled.
Clouds steam Mount Taylor’s peak.
A gauge needle leans toward E.
Dora exits the highway.

Phillips Sixty-Six gas pump.
Stationary stability.
Ahead toward Grand Canyon destination.
Even: Dora’s departed daughter sits in the back seat.
Odd: a void inhabits the rear view mirror.
Emotions erupt Tsoodził to dust.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


This poem written after reading “The Test” by Jennifer Givhan from her book Landscape with Headless Mama.

Tsoodził is the Navajo name for Mount Taylor.

When I Stare Long Enough

A bar named Lawrence Henderson
sits at the edge of the Grand Canyon
to blur people into the hazy splendor.

The proprietor warns customers
against taking selfies near the edge
whether drunk or not.

He arranges the bathroom soap scraps
as the white squares of a chess board
five moves from mate.

He arranges his many patrons like pawns,
declares them a poem—
not a game to be won, lost or drawn.

Some folks think they enter a church
when they enter his bar, but the proprietor knows
the canyon instills that in them.

After a nine month gestation, Lawrence Henderson
decides he has seen enough, ceases to be a bar
and walks home, following the mule deer’s narrow trail.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I have been to the Grand Canyon. Once when young and able to scurry down the river and back up in a day. Most recently a couple years ago to help my brother and his wife celebrate their 50th anniversary.

The idea I started with for this fancy was that viewing the grandeur of the Grand Canyon makes you drunk and blurry. So drunk, in Lawrence Henderson’s case that he becomes a bar that others may enter. Silly, I know. But I like to think of it as surrealistic.

I believe that immersing oneself in nature can be very curative for the soul. Story example is the 2014 Movie Wild. As regularly as I may I go into the foothills east of Albuquerque and walk. Some days I drive to the top of the Sandia Mountains or to one of New Mexico’s natural wonders. It does me good.

Even with Winter upon us, I hope you have chances to get into nature for your own well being.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.


Traffic Rumbles In The Background

A thrasher knocks a bumble bee out of the air
and duels with it until the bee is dead and eaten.

The grizzled Russian men play chess
and grumble about their stale fortune cookies.

Someone’s young daughter places an origami crane
on a stray dog’s nose.

A bus lowers itself with a great whoosh
to ease sidewalk access for the elderly with canes & walkers.

A yiddish accent recounts her loss for words
when she first saw the Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Lodge.

Two navy officers talk about a war
three hundred years in the history books.

On my park bench, I wait for my father to come along.
He is twenty-seven years in the grave.

Punctual as always, his ghost arrives.
We chat corn futures and the trade war’s effects on farms.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

I Want One

There is no such thing as a service giraffe.
That chihuahua in the red vest has its nervous lady.
Quick. Say, Boo! Say, The DOW dropped six percent in early trading.
Say, You walk under the sun, even when it rains.

In moments like these, I feel more mortal than usual.
I feel I should not have said, Everyone smells like natural gas.
I feel an unconsummated love for mac and cheese.
I believe I could house a service church mouse in my waistcoat pocket.

But crafting a red mouse-sized vest would be tedious.
Less difficult than building a city spanning the Grand Canyon.
Less difficult than requiting America’s instant gratification needs.
Less difficult than writing a poem about fireplace creosote.

Look, that octogenarian by the pastry counter wears a red vest.
I bet he is someone’s service grandpa.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Voice of God

The voice of God is in the refrigerator,
second shelf, blue lid pint storage container.

It is an echo of God’s voice I captured
while at the Grand Canyon.

I hope to keep it fresh, so I may prove to doubters
that God is a woman—

not Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco image
painted into so many minds of the faithful.

Some may argue I captured the sound
of Pre-Cambrian stones,

but that voice is kept in the quart container with the green lid
in the vegetable bin, next to the beets.

When Dora listened to the voice of God,
she said it reminded her of the lullabies roots sing,

tucking the dead comfortably into the grave,
drunk with recollections of their favorite moments.

I have invited several of you over for tea on Monday
for your thoughts on what you hear inside the blue lid container.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


With all my years of thought on god the creator, I have not come to one firm conclusion. My own beliefs shift a little day to day, though I have narrowed that shifting down. Why does the bible say man was created in god’s image? Who came up with that? Why is it god the father? Why not god the mother? Or god the incorporeal? Why did god stop visiting?

One of my conclusions is that each individual person has their own version of god that forms to meet their individual spiritual needs or outlook. How does the true god differ from our self-made creations labeled god?

Love & Light


Denim Pair

My bluejeans pockets were stuffed with secrets
and the echo of “hullo” from across the Grand Canyon.

The secrets sometimes felt like granite boulders.
The secrets sometimes felt like valuable bearer bonds.

The echo of “hullo” felt welcoming.
The echo of “hullo” projected me to the Grand Canyon rim.

My jeans have patch laden knees and seat.
I donated my jeans to the resale shop that benefits AIDs research.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

More Than A Year

Dust Bowl wind stripped the land.
Foreclosure notices pasted most windows.

Going means losing everything tangible.
Staying means losing everything intangible, too.

Grapes of Wrath style westward journey,
doing odd jobs to purchase food—

penny candies for the kids
are the greatest of extravagances.

Truck breaks down in Albuquerque
not far from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe station.

Empty stock-car blues player on mouth harp
and another on banjo

pass the hours west toward California,
to Flagstaff and savvy rail-yard men with dogs.

Thankfully more bark than bite
hounded our skedaddle.

Hallelujah preacher directed us
to forestry work available in the Kaibab.

More than a year before we make it to view
the Grand Canyon.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I have spent a many years of my life living adjacent to national parks. In those years I have met a variety of people who have never visited the national park they live adjacent to. This baffles me, because I love natural wonders. They were city people or had city people priorities, as in their needs were met by the city or town or church.

This poem is a fancy (fiction) to tell a story about what it took one imaginary family to visit a national park—the Grand Canyon.

I think every American should visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks at least once in their lives. I believe it should be required by the constitution, but that amendment is not likely to pass or even be introduced on the floor of the house of representatives.

I encourage people to make lists of things that cause them wonder, a wow sensation that tingles the body. If it is seeing Beyoncé live in concert, do it. If it is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, do it. If it is running marathons, do it. Each reader knows what is important at the core of your life and I encourage you to place your time and effort into making it happen.