Compromised

Among the rocky patches
unexploded cluster bomblets
and landmines
fracture and fragment
playful children
and leave ribbons
of twisted carnage
years after the combatants
ceased hostilities
and embraced in peace.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Graze

A grassland
darkened
to black ink
in a wintery poem
on a twenty-four
pound white page
streaked with a single
blond strand
pressed into
the cellulose,
each fiber
part of a collection
of interlocking snowflakes
that never melt
under strong sunlight
that fades and peels
the varnish and finish
of a wooden table
on a porch
empty of people,
but with an expectation
of attendance
once deck shoes
are spotted
under the glider.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sequence

Urgent bow pull.
String: twined hair.
Breath even.
A single release note.
Arrow compression.
Extension: reclaimed shape.
Cut air above buffalo grass.
The plunge through flesh.
Into the heart.
White hart topples.
Eyes blank.
Red stains vessel earth.
Palms rise in thanks giving.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Twists & Turns

The early bird changes each day.
Junco. Thrasher. Dove. One of several Finches.

Watching them I get the sense
that yesterday is meaningless.

My impression is watery Time
treats them all as duck backs to roll off.

When the hawk arrives
shadow first or on the rooftop

the cholla becomes a prickly shelter
as long as the wee birds keep clear of the thrashers’ nest.

I witnessed a dove out fly a hawk
with tight twists & turns

that any dog-fighting pilot
would envy.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

To Be True

In my dreams of dragons
their fiery flames
lick my marshmallows
and melt them
onto graham crackers
layered with dark chocolate
for friendly company
and stories told
tall and full of brag
that none of us believe
to be true.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Way Far From The River

smoky amble
barely keyed snake
tongue-dart nosing
between sage branches
between flirts and pitches
re-dried noodles
charred firestones
just enough motion
to glide sound

barrelhead cactus
red bloom fires
living room escape
deer scat pebbly mounds
scree scramble
calm whiptail attention
in heated-rock sunlight

turquoise rimmed vugg
granite alleyway
secret up the valley walls
finger brushes million year old
weather stains

peace yearning musician
seated in stream bed greenway
native flute notes crabapple blossoms
toe tap on water rounded stones

call to serendipitous friends
a silvery flask tipped
no, a stainless water bottle
a twirl of bushtits
a solitary sandhill crane
way far from the river


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Soft Sounds

A bird glides to a landing.
A whiptail lizard suns itself on the stucco.

A cloudless sky.
The sleeping mountain.

My fingers stroke my beard
while thoughts bloom.

My dog curls up on the pillow
and sighs as her tail covers her nose.

My father’s emotional lockdown
after my brother died.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney