Veil of Open Mouths

Paul collected our exhaled breath
in burlap bags
but refused to state his intention.

I did not think it contained
any ingredient pertinent
to the production of black powder.

He once collected spoken words
from every earthly tongue
placed them in a blender
to create a universal language.

No mattered how he filtered the mix
stale tobacco and garlic
left a sour taste in the mouth when spoken.

Lori suggested carbon capture
to create some airy darkness
that might produce thunder and rain.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Intruder

A red checkered
handkerchief
one of many cut from
a single Italian restaurant
table linen
soaks slanted rain water
that pressed into the house
under the window.

The absorbed water
wicks only halfway
across the cloth
causing the red to deepen
and the white to turn to dull gray.

The wood there
is a bit warped
and paint cracked
and bubbled
from previous storms
that sped
across the valley
to tremble
our home’s bones.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Poorly Labeled

A package arrived today
at my Albuquerque home.

The corners were damp.
The package was labeled Rain.

With a box cutter
I slit the tape and opened it.

What I first thought were packing peanuts
was a cloud.

The cloud filled
half the height of the box.

When I pulled the cloud out
it expanded and covered our ceiling.

It rained on the carpet
all through the house.

As rain pelted me
I looked in the bottom of the box.

I saw blackened cardboard
where lightning struck.

The house shock with thunder.
The guest room bed burned.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Spritz

I take a baseball and toss it as high as I can.
My toss fails to puncture a cloud.

My hands fail to catch the ball when it returns to earth.
The ball’s white hide is now grass-stained.

I determine to practice until a throw punctures a cloud.
I require a great deal of practice.

A crowd gathers to watch my tosses.
No one interferes and some cheer me on.

The cheers apply to good tosses.
Ones that come really close to the clouds.

The crowd enlarges and people at the outer edge
are not quite sure why they are here.

Nor can they see me toss the ball
even though they do see the ball go up and up and up.

The fringe of the crowd starts drumming and dancing
which diverts part of my crowd to become their crowd.

Other parts of the fringe play music on instruments
while others startup rope-skipping competitions.

So the crowd’s attention is now split seven ways to Sunday
but it is Tuesday and the saying fails.

On my eleventy-twenty-third toss I hit a cloud
but do not puncture it as planned.

I think the cloud took pity on my tiring arm
and lowered itself.

Though it may have wanted a closer look
at the drummers, dancers, rope-skippers, and crowd.

The cloud rains just a little. Not much.
But enough to dampen a square inch of each shirt in the crowd.

We continued until it is nearly suppertime
when everyone disperses.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Nuevo Mexico

We do not have much.
Dollars or bananas.

We have plenty of sunshine
but not enough water.

We do not have war
but we do not have peace either.

Scarcity makes things valuable
and sometimes sacred.

We have plenty of religion
with all of its trappings.

That brings up the paradox
of an overabundance of religion

in a free market
should have little to no value.

I will not point that out
to the Catholic priests

the Protestant ministers
or any other spiritual representatives.

When rain arrives
the sky offers us two rainbows

to make up for all the days
the sky is blue and dry.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dora Walks in the Rain

The field she walks through
mistakenly thanks her for the rain.

The field has no concept
of a creator god or heaven.

Nor any concept of pantheons
like the Inca or Babylonians worshiped.

The field’s concept of art
is sculpting flowering plants

out of a seed, itself and water—
molecular combinations and bindings.

The field is not sure about birds
but is thankful for the birds’ part

in spreading the living sculpture
beyond the bounds of the field.

The field is not sure why
the split rail fence gives it definition.

It remembers the early days
of consciousness

and the white horse who wandered it
like Dora wanders it now.

The field credited the horse
with bringing winter

since it was white
and the snow was white.

That may have been a dream
since the cold made the field sleepy.

Dora stops in a low corner of the field
as the rain puddles in that spot.

Looking past her drop-rippled reflection
she sees a portion of the field’s face.

She says Hullo in there.
The field smiles, but Dora does not see it.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunset Under a Break in the Clouds

Bright west difference.
Night sky without constellations.

Forever unhinged.
Vertigo.

The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!

Terrafirma embrace.
Nearby horses.

Fewer names I am known by.
Limbs stirring July.

Pushups.
Tens of them.

Ones really.
Single digit planet.

Eyes transfixed.
Adobe brick church transept.

Pebbles in my shoes.
Journey slowed.

Muddy white laces.
Unbowed tied.

Dew wet.
The sky opens up.

An immense rain.
Not Noah big.

Arroyo wash out.
Three homeless

now embraced by
Poseidon? Yahweh?

Vishnu? Mohamed?
Rio Grande sandbar.

Flow rates
remain twenty percent of normal.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Glass Houses

We built a house of glass.
We kept throwing stones.

The glass we used was bullet proof.
Thrown stones bounced off.

The seals were not tight enough.
Rain entered the house.

After the rain the sun shown in.
Greenhouse effect fogged the glass walls.

Our glass foundation unintentionally formed
an expansive ant farm.

The glass ceiling gave us
the spectacle of lightning storms.

We threw stones at passing clouds
to burst them before reaching our house.

Often the thunderheads
dropped hailstones in response.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

After A Rain

I noticed the ground never felt a drop.
The dictionary has a word to describe that phenomena
but I am at a loss for its first syllable.

I wondered if the parched vegetation
found this funny and laughed
with the reassembling clouds.

Heat rose from the granite.
It bent the air and formed its own
dry rainbows with dust.

It is silly of me to bicycle old US highways
across the continental divide
under such conditions,

but nothing much will change
until next month and I wish
to be home in Albuquerque come Tuesday.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Plateau

In the desert
you smell rain storms

before they clear
the horizon.

It is the salt tinged
taste of hope.

It is magpies
bending in the heat.

My twisted heart
straightens in sage thick air.

Juniper snips
the bindings of time.

I dive into a cloud’s shadow
and swim.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney