Empty Squares

Delphi stopped playing
with the lives of people who sought her advice.

She remembered moving stick figures
around a national game table.

The stick figures always stood straight—
never bent by earthly concerns.

She made them so they would not
display weakness

while in pursuit of what they thought
they wanted.

Fake it until you make it
or something similar in Agamemnon’s Greek.

She knew the futility of aspiration
without self-knowledge.

She knew no chess piece asked to be moved
from its rank or file.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Meeting Engagement

Lori never knew me.
I made her up for poems.
For men to fight over like the Greek Helen.

Sometimes in the dark of night
she walks around
seeking a bridge over the canyon.

Lori does not understand
the rift in her earth
or that it mirrors the Taos gorge.

To date no men have fought over her.
Though, the ones she dates
fight with her regularly.

It has something to do with her
calling them cowards
for not appreciating her independence.

Lori sits at the edge of the rift
and looks down nine hundred feet
to the silvery strand of river.

Instead of a thousand ships launched
she would prefer a thousand engineers
building her that bridge.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Dreams in a Foreign Language

Lori has no beauty mark on her face
but feels beautiful anyway.

She dyes her hair blue, emulates Clementine
in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Lori would use Aladdin’s magical lamp’s wish
to banish porn from the internet.

She studies an old west photo book
of buffalo herds before they were decimated.

Lori refuses to ride in a man’s car
on the first three dates.

She thinks the door to salvation might reveal itself
watching orcas on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Lori considers the paradox that she
must lose her tongue to find her voice.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Scientific American

A photon circled Delphi’s head.
Skull encased brain displayed hydrogen’s atomic structure.

Due to its orbital speed
the photon appeared to be a halo.

This caused her gynecologist some reluctance
to give Delphi an exam.

She read an old Scientific American
with legs spread, feet inserted in the stirrups.

Her mind projected images of t-rex on the white walls
along with Mesozoic foliage.

The gynecologist never met the dinosaur’s gaze
afraid it would step off the wall.

The exam room warmed significantly
as a meteor entered the atmosphere igniting.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shoeless Joe

Paul unpacked his dreams
in the wrong language.

His fear of not being understood
fumbled away all the umlauts.

Now refugees, his dreams
wandered into other people’s sleep.

Immigration services refused to find his dreams.
Paul cried into his hands.

His damp hands smeared the paperwork.
Reduced the number of pills in the prescribed bottle.

Far too few pills to sleep once.
No where near enough to meet his ancestors.

On the way home, Paul drove by
one of his dreams sitting at the bus stop.

His solitary dream refused to enter his car
for a ride home.

It claimed to be in the process of self actualization
with a bus ticket to Dyersville, Iowa.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Note: Dyersville, Iowa is the town nearest to the Field of Dreams site.


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

Off Grid

Born out of the heavy summer air
the Blue Woman emerged
on the door step
of a pueblo apartment.

She arrived fully formed
as if the sun set her down
on a beam of light
and photons formed flesh.

Her words alternated
Spanish and English
with every twenty-third word
in Tewa.

Where her bare feet
touch the bare ground
flowers sprang
from the first memory.

She bent down to drink
the Rio Grande
and the iridescent glimmer
of light on scales.

The Blue Woman joined
a homeless campfire
and calmed
her companion’s haunted sagacity.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Promise Beyond its Expiration Date

Down river
three pelicans
glided above
the dry riverbed.

I threw seeds
into the sky
to plant
new stars.

The next county over
the dunking chair
for witch trials.

I crushed obsidian
into powder
and made a paste
to repair the night.

To fly in my dreams
I slept
on a crow’s
fallen feather.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Allowing Good Things to Happen

Paul closed his eyes and walked on water.
He walked on the sandy bottom.

His belief in denial was not strong enough.
Gravity applied itself.

Paul did not seek to appropriate a miracle.
He sought to replicate Christ’s love.

He discounted his gentle rejection of Christianity
as a cause for his failure.

That religious dismissal did not prevent
the spiritual manifestation of grace.

Maybe the bestowed blessings
assumed a different form than imitation.

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