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


Staring at one’s ice tea glass is as good a thing to do as another
when eavesdropping on the next table.

It seems some people do not wish to ride the cable car
up to the top of the Sandia Mountains.

And there is the self-denial of the skinny girl who refuses to finish
the remaining two-thirds of her chocolate eclair.

A debate starts up whether to hike through the midday heat
or visit a museum or begin to practice siesta.

A woman in the group complains the Rio Grande
does not have a riverwalk with shops like in San Antonio.

She does not care for the natural growth along the banks
or ducks, geese, herons and egrets.

A guy who has now checked his watch four times,
asks if it is too early for margaritas.

Copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I was about to say “Happy Memorial Day”, but then I began to wonder if I should say “Solemn Memorial Day” since we honor those men and women who serve (served) our country. Wikipedia Entry for Memorial Day.

Our Memorial Day includes a barbecue with friends late in the afternoon. Dianne and I will walk the foothills this morning to enjoy the butterfly migration that moves through Albuquerque. Millions of Painted Lady butterflies move about. A migration of butterflies is a Kaleidoscope of Butterflies, just like a flock of crows is called a Murder of Crows. Who came up with these labels? (Terms of the venery at Wikipedia.)

This year the weather seems more violent than in the past. Maybe that is my perception of the moment, since New Mexico is adjacent to Oklahoma where so many tornadoes have hit this past week and now flooding begins to burst levies on the Arkansas River. I wonder if people will become more or less violent due to the weather. Usually in times of trouble people set aside differences and help each other. I hope that holds true. My prayers go out to the people who live in the places where homes have been destroyed and lives up ended. My donation money goes to the American Red Cross.

Memorial Day is the official (unofficial?) start of tourist season across the U. S. In the American Southwest, tourists seem to arrive all year round and are not limited to the break in the school year. The other day a tourist family from France chatted away in French at the cafe I frequent. I did not understand their words, but I did eavesdrop to the melody of their voices in conversation.

Love & Light


Thursday City

Albuquerque sparkles. Dusky light glinted
from an afternoon monsoon’s residual raindrops.
Heat and steam thicken the air.
The prickly pear and cholla swell, as does the river.

On a storefront television, bleeding leads the news.
Guns and abandonment—
the over-prescribed opioid war claims another street corner.
So many human shells expended without conscience.

The long fuse of immigrants burns with hope.
Trumpets blare Mariachi infusions.
We lean into each other, hold hands, kiss.
Ducks appear motionless against the Rio Grande current.

The setting sun finally calms its blush.
Street lamps bathe all in a honey glow.
The low-riders parade and pause on Central.
A santero displays his saints, apple-like, in a cart.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Happy Easter everyone. Whether it is a spiritual experience for you through Christ or Chocolate Bunnies, I wish you an exemplary day.

Santero is a Spanish word for a carver or painter of saints or other biblical stories. In a fashion, they create pieces of church art that a person may purchase and place in their home. Dianne and I have a couple in our home, but more for the beauty of the art than the spirituality in the saint story.

In Albuquerque and especially when I lived in Taos, I loved to relax in the late afternoon on the open air patio of a pub or cafe, enjoy a beverage with conversation and watch the happy hour parade of low-riders go by. The love and craftsmanship placed into these cars impressed me. The hansom men and attractive women who drove/road in them was wonderful eye-candy as well.

Yesterday was 20 April (4-20), the day of cannabis celebration in many parts of the country. A street fair closed Central Avenue (Route 66 in Albuquerque). Bands played and vendors sold merchandise and food. Once upon a time I would have spent some time at the fair, but my tastes have moved away from that sort of event—a consequence of age. We were in the downtown to see the artwork at a gallery oblivious of the date, but we were there early afternoon before it really got going.

New Mexico has a large poverty and homeless problem. And with that comes an opioid problem. I hope our country chooses the Portugal treatment method over the failed war on drugs method to deal with the problem.

I must stop. It is a glorious morning in Albuquerque and Dianne and I have a walk planned along the Rio Grande. I must away.

Love and Light