On the sandy ground
between sidewalk and street
a singular piece of sky.

I looked toward the heavens
all morning
in my attempt
to return it
from its displacement.

My anticipated joy
at finding its spot
dashed to the concrete
I stand on.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


A thin line of cherubs haloed Mount Wheeler.
I spied them from William’s Lake.

I was there to be by myself to meditate.
Forty people picnicked.

At first I thought the cherubs a smoke ring
blown by a humorous god.

When the cherubs passed over
remaining patches of snow, I recognized them.

A bearded prophet abandoned his mountain cave.
He walked past the picnickers.

He snatched a chicken leg
and an unattended can of Coke.

As he passed I heard him mutter repeatedly
Fucking little harp playing shits.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Who Cares for the Poodle

The day passes.
Paul and Lori host a wake.

Ambiguity brings its uninvited brother.
Time appeared a little disheveled.

No gifts for the bereaved.
Scorn pokes its head in.

Everyone jostles elbows.
Hands create shadow art.

The evening lags interminably.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Poetry Waits for a Walk

Lori and Paul talked poetry.
Rain fell but did not slant under the porch roof.

Poetry looked like a dog.
It rested on the porch with its nose an inch from the rain.

Lori and Paul sat opposite each other on a couch.
It was an old couch demoted to the porch.

Poetry’s nose told it the rain was not in good health.
Lori and Paul never thought of the rain as sick.

The rain did not complain. Its job was falling.
It collected slower than normal to run the gutters.

The rain did not splash as high when it exited the gutter
and hit the flag stone drainage slab.

Poetry noticed the rain puddled like healthy rain.
Puddling was easy as lying in bed.

Poetry heard the grass complain about the taste of the rain.
Lori and Paul heard none of this.

They did spy a note four raindrops carried from the sky.
The rain was excused from soaking into the ground.

Lori thought it should go straight to the riverbed and sleep.
Paul thought the tomatoes would not ripen until the next rain.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul stole some prose.
It was not a catch phrase.

He stole a floodlight.
It illuminated nothing when off.

He gathered up cast-off clothing.
No one was left barefoot and naked.

Paul removed grace.
It was installed in a marble statue.

He removed a daguerreotype.
Its sepia tones tinted the landscape.

He assembled a woman.
A snake curled around her thigh.

The snake found no prose to speak.
The woman left ripened fruit untouched.

Knowledge fell to the ground.
Good and evil fermented under the sun.

Paul watched ants disassembled them.
The woman turned away from him.

He watched her leave his line of sight.
It was not an event horizon she crossed.

He gathered some moonbeams.
They illuminated nothing in daylight.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Human Banks Taos to Matamoros

A whale floats above the gorge.
It draws eyes for hundreds of miles.
Thousands of feet line the rim.

It waits to ride a flash flood.
The whale inhales afternoon monsoons.
It faces south.

It appears to be a gunmetal blimp.
It claims it was invited.
Lightning arcs around the whale.

Combined rain and snowmelt deliver a flash flood.
The whale rides the crest.
It heads for El Paso and beyond.

Unmoored magpies aid it past reservoirs.
Sandhill cranes guide it at night.
Stars brighten above the riverbed.

Whitewater strobes its flukes.
It aims for the Atlantic.
It seeks for familiar faces.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney


Laundromat god required the faithful
to watch the entire dryer cycle tumble.
Use of a line and clothespins was apostate.

Laundromat god adjusted all washing machines
to accept SNAP cards as well as Apple Pay.
Rolls of quarters lost their relevance.

Laundromat god snuck away to the playground
and encouraged children to play in mud.
He instigated food fights.

Laundromat god summoned
all the discarded newspapers from around the city.
Provided sixteen deep of coupon clippings.

Laundromat god challenged and defeated
Quick Mart god in a gross receipts contest.
Rocky Road ice cream was free while quantities lasted.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bare Bones

Lori was sure she was a goddess
because she died at the end of each day
and was reborn each morning.

For some this would be cause for celebration
and too many birthday parties
but for Lori this was her normal routine.

She received her invitation to celebrate
the new psych ward and wellness center
but opted to watch a documentary

about when wildfires reach clearcut zones
with an explanation of how alders
repair both quickly in forestry terms.

Before she died each night Lori heard wings
and imagined becoming an angel
but learned it was a condor arriving to feast.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

When It Rains Too Long the Sun is a Luxury

Paul did not believe the new metal detectors
would find every gun that enters the local school.

His nephew was arrested and detained for bringing
a bright yellow Luger-shaped palm-sized water pistol to class.

Paul helped replace school windows hit with drive-by
playground gun fire.

All this while politicians worried about the cross-
dressing population’s affect on children

Drag scenes from Monty Python’s Flying Circus on the web.
And paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe.

The number of misspelled words increased three fold
while no student found the least common denominator

to add a group of business fractions
that would have prevented the recent bank crisis.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Unhinged Sweetness

Lori’s new magic trick
is to remove sugar from hot drinks
and reform the dropped cubes.

The trick requires a comma
to be placed in the sky
immediately to the right of the moon.

Lori’s second magic trick
takes the sugar cube and un-refines it
by making it watch hours of Gilligan’s Island.

This second trick necessitates
Ginger and Mary Anne requite their love
and marry in maroon gowns.

Lori uses no trick at all
to turn the brown sugar cubes into rum
at the long spiraling end of copper tubing.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney