I stand
facing the window
with a faint image
of a full length mirror
on the wall behind me
existing in
the window’s reflectivity.

I see
the glassy image
of my bare backside
imposed over
all the nature
my front yard

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul does not like poetry.
Paul does not like other people’s poetry.
Paul does not like some people’s poetry.
Paul does not like incoherent rambling poems.
Paul does not like thinly stretched rhyming poems.
Paul does not like overly green nature poems with yarrow.
Paul does not like putting green poems.
Paul does not like new mother changing soiled diapers poems.

Paul does not like apple pie poems
unless the poet provides slices of apple pie to all attendants.

Paul does not like Spanish grandmother
making tortillas by hand poems.

Paul liked those poem categories the first twenty times
he heard them, but has grown weary of them
over the poetry slam seasons.

Paul likes hot meals better than poems about hot meals.
Paul likes sex better than poems about sex.
Paul likes walking in nature better than hearing nature poems.
Paul likes playing baseball better than hearing
Mighty Casey at the Bat or Tinkers to Evers to Chance.

Paul supports his independent book shop
by purchasing copious amounts of small press
and university press poetry books.

Paul reads each poetry book once
then places them in a sidewalk poetry edition little library box.

Paul keeps one out of every one hundred
poetry books he purchases to collect dust on a bookshelf.

Paul has become his own get off my lawn poem
when it comes to poetry.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Delphi Sits Upon Her Throne

Her throne is an exposed rocky spot
at the top of a wooded hill.

The stone admits it is not simple granite
but embodies a silent and patient yet local god.

Delphi enjoys laying on the sun warmed rock
and conversing with the local deity.

Their words vibrate the forest around them.
They speak with that much weight.

Sometimes the forest god joins them
in the guise of an animal

or under the bark and in the sap
of the nearest ponderosa pine.

Sometimes the three of them watch the eternal dance
as performed by the stars in the night sky.

Once I accompanied Delphi to the wooded hill.
We sat upon the rock together.

The local god spoke a greeting to me.
I felt indescribably vulnerable

as if its silent voice was a key
that opened me up for the whole world to view.

As fear nearly pushed me past the edge
Delphi clutched my hand.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dominant Wavelength

The woman who kicks and screams
on the carpeted floor of the group room
knows she won’t make it,
anytime soon, away from that place
in the barn where she hides
the straight edge razor
that cuts the even rows in her thigh.

The paint she spreads on canvas
never looks like anything identifiable
from nature, but something abstract,
from the deeper parts of nurture,
with black lines—that appear to be
from a child’s coloring book
or a church’s stained glass windows—
that depict the stories of unnamed saints
and frame nothing she can put a name to.

There are one-hundred and three scars
in her flesh that attempt to represent
what is repressed and somehow
might be fixed, like the blue she says
is wrong, not of itself, but in the upper right
of her latest canvas—the blue that is too dark
but has dried and refuses to mix
with white for a lighter shade.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


On Amtrak, Empire Builder, Chicago to Seattle,
a woman unwraps a newspaper cone
containing warm cinnamon almonds.
The aroma attracts the attention
of everyone in the car.

Her liberal kindness employs
a take two policy for each person.
She feasts upon fifty smiles,
stories from three willing to join her,
her view out the window.

They spot a lone coyote
sprinting across a barren space
to trigger a mass ascension
of snow geese at a lake’s edge
ice thin and crackly.

The coyote comes away
with a goose one wingbeat too slow
to escape gravity and the victory prance
that carries it home.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney