Paul dons a stranger’s face each morning.
A new stranger he met at the coffee shop
the day before.

With this new face he sees the world
through unfamiliar eyes.

The world appears simultaneously
known and brand spanking new.

This causes Paul a little disorientation
and loss of balance.

The sensation quickly dissipates
as he reassures himself
his backyard remains his backyard
the apple blossoms are just a day older
and white light breaks into miniature rainbows
when passed through the prism of a raindrop.

Each day he takes a selfie
while wearing the stranger’s face.
The image on the smart phone’s digital display
presents his face
but it always feels oddly not him.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Hart

Inside the Lord’s pocket
lives a red hart
with velveteen antlers.

It roams the silky green expanse
the pocket’s narrow valley

It lovingly knows
this threaded ground it treads
and the ancient seams.

The red hart senses
a larger world outside the pocket.
A multicolored universe

with an inverted world
where all is displayed to the sky
and hills were smoothed by receded ice.

The Lord though
requires this red hart
held close to the vest

to power its face and tongue
to expand its songs
that burst stars upon the void.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


One chamber of my heart
nests three of four hamsters
where they rest in a furry ball
with pink noses sticking out.

The second chamber
holds the wheel
where the on-duty hamster
runs to keep the power on.

A third chamber
acts as a pantry to store
greens and seeds
the hamsters enjoy.

The fourth has a nozzle
that leads back to a hollow rib
that I refill daily
with fresh water.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Blue Irises

I see
the one solitary tree
that grows
behind your eyes
whose roots
bind to the rich loam
of your soul
and wonder
where are the birds
and insects
and climbing mammals
let alone any sign
of brown leaves
fallen and covering
your fertile

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trust His Ear

Paul sought money
for a business startup.

He intended to manufacture love
on an industrial scale.

He possessed
a proprietary formula

for a molecule
that was both bitter and sweet.

It is the essence
of the music the stars hum.

A melody that keeps fires burning
during journeys across the void.

Since love potion
belongs to the vernacular

Paul intends
to create a viscid drink.

Thicker than Yoo-Hoo.
Thinner than Lakanto Maple Syrup.

I hum John Denver’s Annie’s Song
as I write out a check.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul realigns his molecules
so his tongue is imperceptibly sharper
more ready for a cutting retort.

A drunken boat floats
his party of six upon a recitation
of some titanic Shakespearean verse.

Paul realigns his molecules
so his eyes form clearer windows to peer
both outward and inward.

Misreading his face
an inebriated girl wings into his left eye
shattering herself on the sky’s reflected blue.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

New Old West

Several floors below heaven
a passing train startles Paul awake.

His cotton mouth misspeaks
the planet’s name to a oompah band’s brass.

This unintentional misdirection
opens a seam in the universe to another

where twenty-seven children
wear cardigans and sob at the direction

of an orchestra conductor
lifting a photogenic baton.

Paul wets his face at a hands-free faucet
while portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte

and Thomas Jefferson eye each other
from adjacent sides of the mirror.

Paul notices his doll-skin pallor.
He thinks this a clue to contact his therapist.

But is afraid to interrupt happy hour
half way around the globe.

As he towels water off his face
a gunmetal quote appears on the mirror’s surface

as a cloud wishing thunder
not Smith & Wesson shots fired in a hold up

of the morning train’s mail car
as it clickity-clacks out of Dodge City, Kansas.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Your Side Of The Bed

I see you have a new
boa constrictor.

Your voice tells it
to stop crushing the elephant

decorated comforter
or you’ll put it out to the dog house.

Last year’s dandelion puffs
cloud your bathtub

in place of fragrant
bath bubbles.

This prevents you from
soaking too long

thus pruning your skin
into a bushel of peri-wrinkles.

Our dog started eating
the boa constrictor’s tail

just as the boa swallowed
our dog’s tail

in the imitation
of something mythic

I once heard you murmur
between your petite snores.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Delphi Sits Upon Her Throne

Her throne is an exposed rocky spot
at the top of a wooded hill.

The stone admits it is not simple granite
but embodies a silent and patient yet local god.

Delphi enjoys laying on the sun warmed rock
and conversing with the local deity.

Their words vibrate the forest around them.
They speak with that much weight.

Sometimes the forest god joins them
in the guise of an animal

or under the bark and in the sap
of the nearest ponderosa pine.

Sometimes the three of them watch the eternal dance
as performed by the stars in the night sky.

Once I accompanied Delphi to the wooded hill.
We sat upon the rock together.

The local god spoke a greeting to me.
I felt indescribably vulnerable

as if its silent voice was a key
that opened me up for the whole world to view.

As fear nearly pushed me past the edge
Delphi clutched my hand.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Toward Infinity

I never hear voices on the wind
that speak to my soul—
only to their emergency.

The voices out of the ether
speak to my now
with coded advice I must decipher.

Once two voices spoke simultaneously
and formed a discordant Om
that spiraled my head weak-kneed.

The voices I hear out of overlapping universes
most often are children living out loud
confident in who they are.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney