Paul had a sudden craving
for land mines.

He thought it might be
the temporary crown the dentist planted

where his canine tooth
broke and was reshaped.

His fortune cookie suggested he learn
to suffer with dignity.

How, he wondered, was he suppose to do that
when his direct ancestor lost the garden.

He loitered in the wilderness
on a frozen meadow that stretched to the horizon.

An Arctic Fox approached him
and offered to take his confession.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I went through the 2019 posts to this blog site, selected what I thought the best poems and created a book. Amazon Link to Book.

Brilliant As A Twenty Watt Bulb

Paul sailed a crisp piece of toast
over a Land-O-Lakes sea,
stormed the Normandy kitchens
with a hollow handle master butter knife
and a jar of orange marmalade.

He navigated dime novels
and prestidigitators’ misdirections
to bring you a high wire
newspaper headline
from below the fold.

Paul stood on one leg,
while he revealed
he replaced his stomach
with an unknotted birdcage,
a rainbow plumed parakeet on the swing.

The bird consumed nuggets
of traumatized wisdom passed down
from midnight voices heard
at the edge of dreams
and the clicks of opening pistachio shells.

Paul sat on the dictionary
hatching new words
the likes of which would label him
brilliant as a twenty watt bulb
instead of crazy like a lox smear on a bagel.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Tumbleweed Hairbrush

Tumbleweed hairbrush.
Goat rodeo harmonics.
Sepia toned memories.
Wineglass stems bloom.
Tongue kiss twister.
Kidnapped sunlight shadows.
Ballot circle filled and erased.
Top forty tipping point.
Contention tossed into the recycle bin.
Bootstrap bankers go bust.
Arbitrary sound bite delicious.
Andy’s fifteen minute count down.
Youtube contentment.
Prosthetic leg theft.
A bitter itch goes unscratched.
Near death experiments.
Origami sidewalks.
Jellyfish astrology.
Executioners’ masked ball.
Carbon dating birthday celebrant.
Whitewashed didgeridoo legacy.
Justifiable hominids.
Sunburned adobe wall.
Orange rind rag doll rindstone.
Fly in ointment swatter.
Splat gurgle.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

And Dance

In this meadow the realms overlap,
intersect, exist in the same place.

You may run with the young
of other realm’s kind.

But they will look like your kind
as your eye rejects the differences.

And just as you accept them through rejection,
they accept you and dance.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul lost his grip.
Gravity lost its grip at the same time.

A piece of paper floats upward.
Paul rises, believing he can now levitate.

He reaches for the piece of paper.
It evades him.

The sentences written on the page
about twenty-first century liberty

cause a scream to erupt
from a mouth doodled in the margin.

Gravity reasserts itself
when Paul is fourteen feet above the ground.

It does not put in enough effort
to pull him and the page back to ground.

Paul walks on air and snatches the page.
The page shouts the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Gravity Oversight Board
gently returns gravity to Earth Normal.

Paul’s grounding is anticlimactic.
So the poem does not end here.

Freedom’s weight makes the page
too heavy for Paul’s hand.

He lets go.
The page hitches a ride on the wind.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


The doormat is tired of being a doormat.
It petitions Paul for a throw rug promotion.

The butternut squash soup informs Paul
its is now tomato bisque.

Paul is relieved when the shower
changes to a stationary rain storm.

His fork wishes to be a flyswatter
but is open to being a trident to spear moths.

The last straw occurs when Paul’s
Cubs World Series Champions t-shirt

informs him it is now a little black dress
and he should purchase a pair of spiked heals.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Much The Same

I stumbled on a tree root.
All my words fell out of my mouth.
All of them. The seldom used ones too.

Blanket, forget-me-not,
moon and trademark
stuck to my left arm.

They sunk below my skin
to become tattoos
in search of colors other than black.

Working late into the evening,
I picked up most of my vocabulary,
fearing a frost would wither my words.

Squirrels scurried over to the spill
and took words away
to bury them for a winter cache.

I cannot name
a single nut type anymore.
Or what it is that encases its edible kernel.

The tree roots soaked up many words.
The tree now pleads with me
when I trim its branches.

While relaxing in its shade,
the tree tells me how it feels
about squirrels.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I use to be a painter.
Spent years studying the masters.
Spent years painting things that never existed.

I am a poet, now.
I embed my experience in typeface.
Structured surrealism in sentences.

Ambivalence is a rough file,
rubs skin raw
unless it’s used on callouses.

I created the file to cut through
the imprisoning bars of limited thought
and the boundaries of invisible boxes.

But here I sit.
Self-imposed blood stains
spot a white cotton shirt.

All because attention’s price tag
was a bit too high
and the opportunity costs too great.

I mean, I meant to go to the rally
to free children held at the border,
but…but…I lost track of time.

I mean, I was in a tanka
with crows feet and hollow bird cages
and Death at an easel, painting a landscape.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Change of Pace

The sun rose.
The sun zig-zagged across the sky.

Paul traced his finger on the air above him
tracing the sun’s unusual path.

Where his index fingertip brushed the sky
a dotted mapping line appeared.

The path hung suspended in the air.
At the proper angle it appeared to be a black line.

Paul postulated that dark matter
congregated on the far side of the sun

and shifted positions to create
this visible wobble.

The sunshine vibrated
the earth’s atmosphere upon entry.

In places the sunshine had gaps.
In others it was doubled up and twice as bright.

Paul noticed none of the birds
chose to fly in this unusual light.

The gaps in the light created a flicker.
Paul recognized silent movie cinema.

He chose to keep quiet to honor this effect.
He thought up a SciFi crime novel plot with perfect aliens.

Paul bumped his head on the tracing he had made.
He took his sleeve to palm and erased it from the sky.

The sun set.
It set seven minutes late.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


The decomposing sun
radiates heat you misinterpret as light.
The sunspots are worms
poking their heads out from the corpse.

Might as well curl into a ball on the floor.

The hospital attendant
waits patiently for an answer
to the question on the entry screen
to be filled out entirely.

Might as well walk the Jornada del Muerto.

Nothing here is normal
from the Felix the Cat clock behind the counter
to the Oldenburg knockoff oversized bathroom scale
with a giant thumb adding pounds in the foyer,
to the translucent hot water bottle ceiling
with sharks swimming in circles.

Might as well bite the head off a chocolate Buddha.

Eureka! You remember your smart phone’s calculator operations
and subtract yourself from this scene,
then wonder if this action qualifies
as the self-harm in the hospital attendant’s questionnaire.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The Jornada del Mueto is an actual place in New Mexico. I have have never walked it. For more information here is a link to the Wikipedia page.

This poem is the surrealist in me at play. If I ever started a weight loss clinic, a massive bathroom scale with disembodied hand thumb pressing down on the scales would be in the foyer.

Oldenburg is a reference to sculptor Claes Oldenburg.

I have bitten the head off a chocolate Buddha. If you have bitten the head off an chocolate Easter Bunny it is the same experience. My chocolate Buddha head was hollow which made biting it off easier. It was dark chocolate, though low quality dark chocolate and barely worth the chewing and swallowing when weighed against the calories and effort to burn them off.

It turns out there are eateries around the world named Chocolate Buddha. I did not know this when I wrote the poem. I wonder if they are a chain? Probably not, but someone else will have to do the research.

Happy Saturday to you.

Love & Light