Phantom Canyon Road

I drove a road too narrow
up a mountain
that crossed
fifteen cold streams.

The speakers
pushed Bach
into the cabin
and out the windows
to tumble
into the rocks
and clouds

There was
no way around
the mountain goat
who won
the staring contest
with the jeep’s

When I opened
the door
to shoo it away
my first step
would have been
my last
if I had taken it.

The goat
drank its fill
and moved
up the rock face.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


1987 was the last time I drove Phantom Canyon Road (Colorado Tourism Link) up the south side of mountains leading to Pike’s Peak and into the town of Cripple Creek. I am sure they have made improvements on the road over the years. Back then wide or tall vehicles could not take the road because low and narrow tunnels prevented forward movement. There were few turnouts to allow passing and turning around was impossible once you started upward.

In The Bloodstream

Where lies the key?
I checked every pocket.
Every nook and cranny.

In and under
fifty-three self-help books
by domestic and foreign authors.

At a job fair I learned
I should use my gifts
toward my perfect career

which left me with the choice
of joining the French Foreign Legion
or becoming a suicide bomber.

As I practice exhaling the apocalypse
and envisioning a future
less bright than a nuclear explosion,

I am certain the mightiest proof
of my inner strength
is that I decided to make a career

out of bicycling from my front door
to Who-Knows-Where America
with the notion of reaching Nirvana

somewhere in between
leaving it all behind
and a collision with an untoward fate.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney