Paul drinks a Rainier beer.
He drinks it because Longmire drinks Rainier.

Only a couple liquor stores in Albuquerque
stock Rainier beer.

Paul likes to carry a six pack in a backpack
and walk the volcanoes.

He likes feeling a cold one slide down
while sitting observing the city east to west

from that rocky vantage point
that residue of tectonic destruction.

He thinks of Mount Rainier blowing its top
like Mount St. Helen recently did.

Recently in geologic time.
Paul likes to think in geologic time.

His problems seem insignificant
within that framework.

If Rainier did blow its top
Seattle would be the future’s Herculaneum.

Paul turns from his stoney perch
and looks at the Jemez and the Valles caldera.

All that ejected rock and ash that filled
the Albuquerque rift—the Rio Grande valley.

He holds his Rainier beer can up
and tips it in salute

to the power of the earth beneath his feet
to move cubic miles of rock long distances

and drop boulders like rain drops.
Sitting on those rocks helps him keep perspective.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunset Under a Break in the Clouds

Bright west difference.
Night sky without constellations.

Forever unhinged.

The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!

Terrafirma embrace.
Nearby horses.

Fewer names I am known by.
Limbs stirring July.

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

For A While Now

Blood whisper.
I signal the savior
I am ill.

My body is fine.
It is my pixilated persona
infected by a lockout virus.

I am simultaneously
alive and ghost.
Blank is beautiful.

I will not pay it—
my red-letter bank funds.

Because I spent
the morning
with the white horse in the pasture.

Bread and water disconnect.
This digital jail cell
freed me

to count wetland birds
along the Rio Grande.
Five blue herons.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunrise Practice Before Open Mic

The cottonwoods along the Rio Grande
leafed out these last three days.

Paul came across the remains
of a coyote feast—a rabbit he thinks.

Such is survival in the flood plain.
Imagine the depth of the tap roots

since the Cochiti Dam was built
preventing the river overflowing its banks.

Paul finds the cottonwood stump
with Whitman carved in it.

He stands tall, draws a deep breath
and recites new poems to the river.

A flock of Canada Geese
rise in a great flap,

while the last two Sandhill Cranes
walk the sandbar unfazed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

In Service Of A Mystery

Paul renamed Albuquerque Jerusalem
but no one paid any heed
to this departure.

It remained so even after
he took out a full page ad
in the Albuquerque Journal.

And ads on Google Searches
for the Duke City
over the last three months.

It was the uptick in violence
during the pandemic
that spurred Paul

to remove the Spanish Nobleman
and the conquistadors
with their bloody history

and replace them
with an Abode of Peace
by the long river.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cache of Four

My sleep drifts.
I wake unintentionally slanted.
I walk all day at an angle.
Lean in my chair.
My cursive handwriting improves.

Each Christian meme
reinforces the proclamation
I am not saved
and heaven rejects me
at the river’s edge
because I do not claim
Jesus as my savior.

Just south of Albuquerque
the green farm fields
contrast the desert land
above the flood plain
and though the Rio Grande
does not appear swift or deep
the current will drag
you under for the fishes
and bull frogs.

In places God seems readily apparent
and those places have nothing
to do with humans
and their destructive constructions.
I cannot claim to know fully
how Ego skyrocketed
apartments and business buildings
into right-angle canyons.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora sips
from the Rio Grande’s delta.
She tastes the farm chemical runoff,
the industrial waste.
She spits it out
as rain over

There asylum seekers
bathe in the river,
fill gallon sized containers
and carry them back
to a Tent City.

Dante never imagined this
as the shape of Purgatory
or how desperation
and violence pock
their penitent waiting.

Desperation splits families,
sends children alone
across Gateway International Bridge.
Small hands carry
childproof scissors
to cut the red tape
that binds their family’s freedom.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


More and more stories are working their way into the news of the violence that takes place in the cross border camps for people seeking U.S. asylum. How after too much violence, they send their children across the borders alone, because current U. S. policy will deny families their lawful asylum seeking entry into this country, but not unescorted children.

Child separation policies do tremendous damage to the children. They have all through history. We know this. We know it is part of the definition of Genocide. Yet educated people still make this sort of policy, then blame the victims. Why the Christian church (all the denominations) has not risen up in mass to protest this policy is beyond my understanding.

Fear and lack of will is what I blame it on. Using fear to garner votes. Lack of will to supply border agencies with enough money to adjudicate asylum claims in a timely manner. Lack of will to provide money for safe housing while people await their asylum claim’s resolution.

This is an Us and Them issue in many ways. Remember there is no Them. There is only Us.

If religious folks applied the Golden Rule to the situation and admitted they would never wish to be treated as we have treated immigrants, the will would be found.

Guess this is a soapbox morning.

Love & Light.


Day Of The Dead

White flags flap the streets under street lamps.
I am not sure to whom Albuquerque has surrendered.

Abandoned cars take the place of cheap motel rooms
and couples hookup to knock the rust off sex.

The heat generates a fog that cloaks the Central Avenue bridge.
The fog sparks with a Día de Muertos magic.

Border separated families emerge
into the land of the free, the home of the brave

to locate their missing loved ones, crossing the span
in a symbolic entry over the Rio Grande.

Albuquerque and all of New Mexico sheds
a long political intolerance tragedy.

I.C.E. agents and political operatives pack their bags
and head home to stimulate the holiday economy.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Okay. Day of the Dead was at the beginning of November and it is the day after Thanksgiving at the end of November. Inspiration arrives when it arrives without asking consent or paying attention to holiday correctness.

The border tragedies the U. S. government has enacted during Trump’s term in separating families has bothered me to no end. I believe the whole program is a human rights violation. Part of the UN definition of genocide (BBC explanation here) involves separating children from families. So, in my mind, large numbers of federal employees helped perpetrate, in the name of the American People, a genocide.

I am regularly amazed how often people who claim alignment to a religion that is created around the idea of the Golden Rule commit such heinous actions. Maybe amazed is the wrong word and I should say appalled.

I think everyone has to help ensure everyone else’s rights are maintained so their rights are maintained. This is why we have a rule of law and work to make sure those laws are fair and fairly applied.

So much for my Friday morning soap box appearance.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.


An Angel Of The Lord

An angel of the lord descended from heaven
and set foot upon the Rio Grande.

She exchanged wings for a blue jean jacket
and placed a holy sadness in the book bag upon her back.

Along the bosque trail, adjacent to the Rio Grande,
we met and I introduced myself.

The words that formed her name
revealed the threads that form the fabric of the universe.

The iron of my own blood formed a gravity well
and I felt the weight of a new world pull on me.

The angel informed me that as I am allotted one life
so the earth is our one earth.

She turned her head and watched a heron
spear a fish and swallow it.

She transformed me into a heron
and herself into the salmon of knowledge.

Thus I speared and consumed her.
The iron gravity well of my blood drew me back into my own shape.

I walked to the bridge and rejoined the city.
Urgently I spoke to folks on the sidewalks.

I had not yet digested all her knowledge
thus spoke in tongues, so I sounded like a mad man.

Albuquerque’s homeless population had increased.
The city’s mental healthcare system was faulty.

The sidewalk people either avoided me
or offered me coins from their pockets.

Failing to transmit her message, my blood boiled with frustration.
The iron grouped into a ball to form a new core.

We have only this earth, our one earth.
My blood iron formed a new belief set core.

At Fourth and Central my words settled back into English.
My first words expressed the consumed angel’s holy sadness.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I thought the border was open.
It was closed. The last rainbow trout
leaped into my hands while I stood
examining my fingernails
on the Rio Grande’s banks.

I thought I was on the Elwha river
ready to catch the Salmon of Knowledge.
This geographic misplacement
stunned me like a blow to the head
by a pin mishandled by a juggling clown.

If my location can be so astray
so might be my white privilege.
I fall into a barroom discussion
of liberty and equality
where mathematical logic
forces the concession that
all men are created equal.
Where all means all racial colors.
Where men means men and women.
Where in the eyes of the law
there is no first among equals.

Or course this leaves out my dog,
who has many qualities superior to my own.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney