Secret Santa

Paul received the present
pleasantly enough
until he unwrapped it
and found a bullet
with “for your brain”
written on it.

Happily it arrived
without an implementation device
such as a revolver
by makers
like Colt, Remington
or Smith & Wesson.

But who knew
what Paul would find
under the tree
Christmas morning—
or afternoon
if he slept late
from too much nog
and wassail
on Christmas Eve.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Soon after there is here
Dora fits a camel through a needle’s eye.

She is not sure why the camel
emerges out of nothingness to perform this trick.

She carries a needle everywhere
in case that emergence tickles her right shoulder blade.

Dora does not take the result
as spiritual permission to become filthy rich

or pass through Jerusalem’s walls
through a mythic gate.

She notices that here is now there
even though she did not move.

Dora figures the earth’s rotation effects this change
as minutes pass.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lack of Patriotism

The dead lived here once.
Their ghosts are quiet and content.

This is the garden they tended.
Here stands the stonewall they built.

This chimney has three hundred years practice
channeling smoke from fire to sky.

There above the hearth rests a musket
once wielded in the cause of liberty.

When I fetch candles from the pantry
I brush against all those ghostly hands fetching candles.

But I am the first in the line to drink tea.
I feel those departed coffee drinkers frown in disgust.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Linda. Who is Linda?
Who lives inside of Linda?

She prefers to smoke
while looking at herself in mirrors.

She stands in a crowd
produces summer-time claustrophobia

so the beach becomes strangely quiet
and thousands of bibles wash up on the shore.

There is that something that seems
so off-century about her.

Like corsets. Like birds in her hats.
Like calling her slaves servants.

Linda is often spotted in the business district
impersonating the Christ

dispensing new order of magnitude kindness
while juggling three mercurial moons.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

No Tolerance

Lori carried a dust buster
as if it was a six-shooter in a holster.

Whenever she was around rude people
she quick-drew the dust buster

and sucked their ill tempered words
out of the air.

This earned Lori baleful gazes
from those rude people

who wanted their words to land
a knockout punch.

Lori had no trouble with this consequence
but wished to learn

how to empty her dust buster
so it was not a lumbering B-52

dropping its payload
in her trash bin with the city logo.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lilacs Bloomed Again in June

The crashing through the roof
a little after midnight
was not a missile or meteor
but a fragment of God
when God exploded
and fell from heaven.

Mostly God splashed harmlessly
in three turbulent oceans.

This one finger-nail clipping fragment
crashed through the roof
destroying the TV in a white hot flame
that burst into existence
six white swans and one black.

Under such circumstances
it is hard to call this destruction a catastrophe.

The theologians failed to take notice.
Their heads were buried in the past
in writings thousands of years old
while lively debates sought to elevate
one translation over another.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Humility’s Empty Stomach

Paul measured the distance
laughter traveled.

He adopted all the orphaned poems
he happened upon during his walks.

Paul’s eye wandered the heavens
being drawn to distant light

experiencing the massive pull
of black holes.

He solved why feeling nothing
weighs the body down.

Paul searched for the perfect stillness.
For drop the mic conclusions.

He argued against human expansion
where there is no water.

Paul investigated rumors
that lead toward stray cat salvation.

He felt the stardust inside him
long for different gravities.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Mending Boundaries

Thor stood before Paul.
Lori, Delphi and myself a few steps behind him.

This occurred on the mountain at the tree line
as Paul claimed it happened before.

Thor did not wear the Marvel Hero outfit
but a cowboy hat, bandanna

faded patched jeans
and boots with more miles than leather.

Thor’s hammer was there—
put to the task of mending fence.

Shiny barbwire replaced
broken rusted barbwire.

The summer cows gave us room.
Black bears liked to poke their noses

out of the tree line
to gaze at Thor working.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Last Resort

Delphi stopped dispensing
prophesies in person
(no matter the offering)
tired of the disappointment
written on modern faces
unable to work through the riddles.

She took up tarot instead
and the read the cards
at twenty bucks a pop
for people with little expectation
of real guidance
and only half believing
the truth over entertainment.

So she lived in an artists neighborhood
where the bored and wealthy
drove once a week
with the excuse of gallery hopping
and an excellent esoteric cafe
for a Cobb or Cesar salad.

One doctor who saw through Delphi’s apathy
brought in patients for tarot readings
when he could not diagnose their illness
through western technology and practice
then billed the expense to insurance
coded as a consultation.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney