Sorted By Author

I went to the foothills to get away from people.
People found and surrounded me.

All those folks attempted
to burn off pandemic stress,

political election year stress,
spare-tire-accumulating stress.

I sought solitude.
I sought thrashers and cactus wrens.

Why was I the one who yielded the trail
to unmasked walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers?

Away is now a half mile farther from home
than it once was,

with the national parks and monuments
closed to the public,

with bookstores closed
and no chance to peruse the stacks.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Protesters Silently Walked By

God hung out
on the empty streets
of a pandemic city
curbside, by a brewpub
no longer hosting
poetry on Monday nights.

God scrounged
the sidewalk
for dropped words
and sentence fragments
to wrap in Zig-Zags
and light up.

God wore a red cap
with a grey wolf logo
and searched
the sad eyes
of homeless girls
who shared
the trafficked fate
of poverty.

God watched
the protesters
employ their right
to peaceful assembly
and march,
letting their homemade signs
give voice
to their outrage
and collective
sense of humanity.

God missed
the clickity-clack
of the skateboard
sidewalk surfers
on their way
through downtown,
who saved
sofa cushion findings
to purchase
Thrasher Tees
or new aluminum
trucks.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

America’s Game

This poem does not contain a baseball
whether professional grade, softball,
or that peculiar Chicago oversized softball.

If it did contain a baseball,
the poem would center on my childhood dreams
of playing outfield for the Cubs.

Since this poem is not about baseball,
I could make it about race relations in New Mexico
outside of the Isotopes and city leagues.

I could make about the first girl I fell for,
but she played fast pitch softball
and often struck me out during coed leagues.

I could make this poem about the pandemic
and the incompetent federal response
and the heroic efforts by the front line workers,

but that would bring me back to baseball
and negotiations between players and owners
on how to split up billions and billions of dollars

when I think they should donate all their net revenue
to support baseball fans who lost their jobs
due to the shutdowns.

Everyone would become a baseball supporter
under that monetary incentive.
Baseball would be America’s Game again.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

To The Living

The pandemic contains
a lot of moments
my emotions
must work out
before my face
displays how I feel.

It also contains a lot of static
that clings to my brain,
calculating and decoding
noise for signals
that can be labeled True.

I picture the possibility
of writing my own truth
and repeating it over and over
until others sing it back to me,
but that, once attempted,
failed to return John Prine
to the living.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Won’t Roll Over Won’t Play Fetch

Covid nineteen
does not care about your social life,
your vacation plans,
your business’s bottom line.

It punches you in the breast bone
that causes a little cough
which signals the transformation
of your lungs into glass.

Maybe not tonight, but soon,
is when a slight wheeze
gives way to the hospital bed
with oxygen masks and monitors

to full intubation
so a machine can do
what your body took for granted
your entire life.

Covid nineteen knows
three percent of you die
as long as the hospitals
are under capacity

but that number
sky rockets to ten percent
once the hospitals suffer overflow
and lack of proper equipment.

Covid nineteen
does not give a damn about your faith.
Will happily infect all denominations
and the atheists too.

It separates and isolates you
from your loved ones.
Say what you gotta say today!
before it takes your breath away.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Out

Chrome covered cough
alerts pandemic claustrophobic
sleep deprived grocery shoppers.

Glares never thrust
so many knives in Caesar’s torso
at the goat yogurt cooler.

Eleven more items to go
following a scratch paper scribbled map
entombed in social distancing.

Comfort food congregation
clears the ice cream freezer,
smears the glass door with fingerprints.

Relatively static cashiers
stand behind blue rimmed sneeze guards,
behave as though they’ve Seen the Elephant.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney