Time Out

The church sanctuary
was overcrowded
by a few people over-thinking
every word of the prophets
and seers.

Their thoughts kept
bumping into the minister’s ego
as he stood before the alter
and pontificated,
though this branch
did not acknowledge the pontiff.

This jumble of miscommunication
caused mass forgetfulness
of priorities and well wishes—
tongue tied, it was
unable to shout One if by land!
Two if by sea!

See, all our signals got crossed up.
Our war to become our better angels
took a time out and napped.
We woke, like little children,
with an emotional reset
to the default of kindness.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Two Inch Hailstones

I heard talk
that Apple’s ear buds
are set to burst
with enough force
to cause
or decapitation.

This will take place
when earthly violence
overmatches kindness
and some cloud algorithm
initiates Rapture
regardless of diverse faiths.

No matter
if this is truth
or internet rumor
the weather
will continue
to mystify
the forecasters
espousing national
and international

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Hey! The Umflop blog site passed the milestone of 10,000 visits yesterday. Thank yous go out to poetry fans, poetry dabblers, keyword searchers and the misdirected for stopping by and visiting.

Salted Dry Roasted Almonds

It took me several hours
to find the ribbon and bow
around the insult
you presented me
the moment I learned
to stand up for myself.

It is an odd phrase
I weaponized kindness
but my thank you
caught you
like a sucker punch
to the face.

Your startled silence
was not the worst thing
to ever happen to you,
but something
from your personal history
filled your mouth
with lemons.

I knew that screw-pucker
sensation from disarming
my own petty angers
and I prescribed salted
dry roasted almonds
to remedy the tartness
of your tongue.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


A maple leaf fell in wind swept swirls,
then touched the concrete sidewalk
and trembled the world.

Paul picked up the wind-pushed leaf
after it scraped a groove in the sidewalk
and examined variations of umber.

The leaf weighed too much for a leaf.
The leaf weighed too much for a metaphor for guilt.
The leaf weighed about the same as liberty.

Paul saw his younger brother
in this leaf let go by the tree.

He saw the fallen of the Afghanistan war
in all the many leaves at his feet.

Sadness swept Paul like the wind swept his coat and face.
Sadness swept dust and ash into the bullet hole that killed his brother.

Paul decided his brother did not die,
but positive thinking had no power this time around.

He decided to be against death.
Swept from its tree by a chill wind another leaf fell.

When the leaf touched the dried grass,
a concussive explosion reverberated.

Paul knew within his six-degrees-of-separation-world
another person died somewhere.

Paul stopped for a moment to think about this.
He realized death could not be fought with any hope of victory.
He decided to fight despair instead.

After three more leaves fell and shook the earth, Paul realized
kindness was the only tool available for the fight against despair.
He decided to invest his life, his life savings, in kindness.

He decided to spread kindness to everyone he knew.
Paul cultivated an infectious smile
and became the Typhoid Mary of kindness.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I find practicing the simple kindnesses very effective at creating what I label a good day. Actions like saying please and thank you, listening when other speak, doing what I say I will do, maintenance (dishes, laundry, etc.), saying “I love you” to the people I love, keeping in mind we are all human with human limitations and so on. Small actions that inform others I value them.

Not overburdening myself with a taxing agenda is helpful. It allows for serendipity, which I find delightful. Keeping the childhood notions of delight and wonder in mind, during the day can change the ordinary into extraordinary.

Love & Light