Linda. Who is Linda?
Who lives inside of Linda?

She prefers to smoke
while looking at herself in mirrors.

She stands in a crowd
produces summer-time claustrophobia

so the beach becomes strangely quiet
and thousands of bibles wash up on the shore.

There is that something that seems
so off-century about her.

Like corsets. Like birds in her hats.
Like calling her slaves servants.

Linda is often spotted in the business district
impersonating the Christ

dispensing new order of magnitude kindness
while juggling three mercurial moons.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul knew his way at night.
With his eyes closed.
With bare feet avoiding all the stubs.

The air currents by the Rio Grande were cooler.
The channel currents could be harsh.
Paul entered the water to float.

As weightless as possible on the water.
As gulls and geese slept.
As the heavens expanded wider than normal.

Cradled by the river he gave up
any resistance to any force reaching down
and investing him with something more.

A chore worthy of his own constellation.
A super power to save the world.
An almost unbelievable story to tell.

No moon looked down on him.
Countless stars viewed him
but his reflected image would be eons returning.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Lori is aware her reputation
changes dramatically, depending on who she is with.

She is not with the Sunday go to mass crowds
with their incredible capacity to feel shame.

Rarely she is with those for whom
heavy metal drives red blood cells back to the heart.

Voice hoarse from screaming at low hanging clouds
to expose the bloody face of the rising moon

she digs a hole at the end of the line of many holes
filled with diary pages she wishes to bury.

Lori carries herself tall
unashamed of the whispered gossip about her—

of mismatched lovers and breakups
and unmet hungers gnawing at her bones.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

It Comes

When Paul sits outside at night
with dark spread everywhere
he pretends a window
keeps the bugs away from him.

He set a mirror against the south wall
at an angle to view the moon
to double the number
of reflections of the sun’s light.

Though we stay up all night
it needs to be minus six degrees
before dew forms
on the grass or our bodies.

The neighbor’s cat
is surprised and perplexed
to find us occupying the chair cushions
it likes to sleep on.

Paul posts an invitation
for the sun to rise over the Sandias
and delivery is guaranteed
by this morning.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Un-wedged from the Mouth

Lori took mason jars out into the night
to fill and cap them with moonlight
as the moon entered its first day
of the month when it could be labeled gibbous.

She transported the mason jars
to the round kiva at the bottom of the house
that the original owner built
with the Santa Fe style frame above it.

She placed one mason jar in each
of the four vaulted-arch nichos
where wooden and painted santos stood
the first day she moved in.

The silvery glow filled the kiva
with the power of four moons
and Lori’s rationalizing
this was more holy.

She sat cross-legged
in the center of the kiva floor
to enter a meditative state
that blurred the world’s boundaries.

Lori spoke childhood names
and rolled them off her second tongue
like turning rosary beads
so the world would show her

their current lives unfurled
by their present whispers
and the sleepy recognition
someone watched over them.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Superficial Burn

Paul sits by the window.
A curl of chimney smoke obscures the moon.

He holds a chicken drumstick in one hand.
Grease slicks the skin around his mouth.

The bone is nearly picked clean.
He chews the last fat.

Paul sorts through last month’s good words.
He selects the humble ones.

He writes on cabin logs below the window
with charcoal still steaming from the fire.

He draws the gibbous moon
at the end of his carbon script.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dreamt He Was Not Dreaming

Paul placed grief in the cedar chest
so it would be fresh
for the next friend who passed away.

He thought of washing his grief
before storing it.
He wished to hang it

on the crescent moon to air dry
but he might lose it
when an owl flew by.

Paul awoke at night
hearing an owl call from a branch
outside his bedroom window.

In the morning he opened
the cedar chest
to double check his grief was still there.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


The last time I flew to the moon
my feet remained grounded in Albuquerque.

I thought I would be the first to visit the lunar surface
but there were foot prints in the dirt

that looked like Fred Astaire
and Ginger Rogers had danced there.

I’ve seen those steps in nineteen fifty’s
home dance lesson kits with numbered footprints.

Now you know I am talking about the past
before Mark McGwire’s prodigious home run seasons.

Before. Neil Armstrong and the Apollo Eleven mission.
Before Jackie Gleason and Alice.

I was five years old and my conscious mind
did not prevent me from doing things I thought possible.

I hate that I am now limited by reality
as taught to me through university and peer pressure.

If you need me I’ll be seated halfway down the staircase
Not at the bottom. Not at the top.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Thinking Before I Speak

At a loss for words
my tongue clicks against
the roof of my mouth.

What do I say
so the moon takes human form
and visits for a time.

What would I say
to all those who expectantly look up
to see the starry void instead.

It would take a life time or two
to speak three billion apologies
in person.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney