Counted Three Satellites

We walked into the forest.
So little moon we required a flashlight.
We walked with care.
Fireflies tucked themselves away.
One moth fluttered around the beam.
It was two slow miles to the clearing.
We sat on old cedar trunks the loggers left.
You looked at the darkness around your feet.
I turned off the flashlight eyes closed.
We counted in unison to three.
We looked up to the undiminished heavens.
The sky was ripe with stars.
The night was not dark at all.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sea to Shining Sea

I traveled these United States
to see the wonders of the continent
and harmlessly flirt with cafe waitresses.

As I traveled I learned the word united
holds looser connections
than the dictionary suggests.

We are ten thousand cultures
based on personal freedom of expression
and dodging responsibility.

The stripes of the flag
might as well represent bloody bandages
on our collective social wounds—

not the original thirteen colonies
steeped in racism, genocide
and slavery.

I found the practice of religion common.
But it was mostly Sunday only Christianity.
Not something lived through each breath.

I met a great deal of kindness
but I was a tourist. Not homeless or single
struggling to raise a child alone.

On clear nights I noticed
the stars shone down upon all of us
with the same intensity.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


I was bathed
by the tidal rush.

As the water troughed
between waves

clung to my hair.

My eyes
refused to look

at what my hand
felt damply

in case it was
a star

fallen elsewhere
into the sea

and just now

upon my head

believing I was
an astronomer

and knew its place
back in the

day or night.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Tangled chain gold snake
eats its own tail.

Barroom band
layers one song upon another.

Long ago playground scene
currently projects from my eyes.

Uprooted exiles arrive
summoned to a new world

take over bankrupt farms
turn the landscape in preparation.

Though you do not recognize it
the light from a billion stars

illuminates every daylight footprint
each leaf in the canopy.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


An idea turns my head
to the night-dark sky

and I ask, Why is Heaven
placed in all that emptiness?

I lost myself looking up
and fell into simple easy breathing.

I move to relax
under a late Autumn elm tree.

I notice how its slim branches
connect stars

the tips plug into the sky
and channel Heaven into Earth’s soil.

I reach my hand up, fingers spread,
to accomplish the same.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Half Gallon

Paul found a basket of cold stars.
When he grabbed one,
his fingers stuck to it.

He thought he accidentally
blundered upon the answer
for cold fusion as an energy source.

Then he thought
his fingers were wet from licking them
and they froze to a cold object.

Then he remembered a photo exhibit
of people who volunteered to lick
wintery metal poles.

Almost everyone wore a stocking cap.
The yarn color was different
for each person.

The artist’s statement mentioned
she brought a blow torch to heat the metal
to release the people’s tongues.

Paul recalled he was on an errand
to purchase milk and sliced bread
when he found a basket of cold stars.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I do believe
the star whose light I see
is now dead
for many million years
and I will be
many more millions
of years dead
before her last light
winks out.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


Happy Autumnal Equinox to all of you. In Albuquerque the days still heat up into the mid 80s and the nights cool into the high 50s. The leaves just begin to yellow and turn. My studio window is open and I hear all the traffic of people who must be to work by 7:00 a.m.

Love and Light.