Day Dream

I imagined years apart
how Paul would change
without my influence.

Technicolor hair
tattoos, piercings
and a muscle car.

A fire burns in him
with flames
that lick his face regularly.

And somehow
no drugs or booze
or anything synthetic.

We would meet again
surround by the Pacific.
An island like Tahiti.

Serendipity would have
brought us back together
where lightning struck the beach

and turned to glass
what was granules
an instant before.

Our first discussion in years
would be about
the horizon line on the ocean

dipping back into art school
two point perspective
and the Italian Renaissance painters.

But the conversation
would quickly shift to Gauguin
their common lifestyle

and the joys of cultural immersion
paint, the love of native women
and new foods.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


I failed to appreciate that this thunderstorm
formed a thousand miles ago
and traveled all this way for us.

It was an unusual storm.
It washed sin from the body,
but not dust from the sky.

The thunder rolled with laughter.
The lightning struck
like a flash of wit.

It affected only those people
who went out into the wonder
of the darkened sky.

Those who took cover
mistook the humility in the air
for public humiliation.

They hid behind brick and mortar,
unlike my dogs
who clamored to get outside.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Test Of Time

Dora sat writing poems with a fountain pen.
She wrote outside during a thunderstorm.
The armchair poets would unplug their computers.
The blood and guts poets would thrust their fountain pens skyward.

Dora’s three legged dog balanced comfortably.
Dora rescued the dog from the people who ran her over.
The people who ran her over loved her and owned her.
The dog was happy to be freed from their lazy love.

The dog refused to fear thunder and lightning.
Dora had taught the dog to count between flash and boom.
The dog calculated distance, thus threat.
She hobbled inside when the count got down to two.

Dora will teach the dog to write poetry next.
Three legged poetry will stand the test of time.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

In The Morning

Over Albuquerque a haze mutes the light
and adds a little cough to the breath.

A prescribed burn in the San Moreno Mountains
the city’s air quality email states.

What doctor prescribes fire
as a cure or vaccine?

Imagine the pharmacist
filling a pill bottle with a book of matches.

Imagine the doctor telling the forest,
Take two lightning strikes and call me in the morning.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The prescribed burn in the San Moreno Mountains was a month ago. Since then Albuquerque has been blanketed by smoke that blew in from Arizona forest fires when the wind is right. The smoke is bad enough that health advisories are issued.

My sense of the situation is that the last few years of epic forest fires is a combination of climate change and poor (or ignorant) forestry management. I think the forestry service has learned quite a bit these last few years. I read that some of this learning was from studying old photos of forests and seeing how the trees were spaced farther apart due to natural burns.

Love & Light