When Does Water Sleep

Although trees can bend to the wind
they never kneel to it in supplication.

In a car flipping end over end on I-forty
the driver sings Cohen’s Hallelujah sure he will die.

After stating he can accomplish anything
Paul is asked to re-bone a de-boned chicken.

A boy (whose parents refuse to teach him about sex
on the theory they are protecting him)

dives deeper and deeper into internet porn
and starts receiving unsolicited dick picks in his inbox.

White Sands is gypsum. Not some left over sandy beach
from an ocean long ago receded and left at sea level.

Bitcoin is the tulips of this digital age.
Crazy sums spent on a commodity whose only beauty is avarice.

That is incorrect. Many of the early bitcoin purchasers
gloried in being first into something new.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Tumbleweed Collected on the Backstop

I woke to the complaint of trees—
too much carbon in the air
was making them fat.

I read in a science magazine
that not enough water
reduced photosynthesis.

I imagined both
shoving an entire Big Mac in my mouth
and not being able to chew.

No pollen floating in the air
is a sneeze-less wonder
and down right scary.

The future plays hide and seek
and the distant skyline
now appears to be an event horizon.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Anchoring The Earth

The tree of darkness balanced its shade.
Between all its leaves spiders spun webs.

In only one spot a circle of moonlight snuck through.
It illuminated a heart surrounding two names carved on its trunk.

The question is who would choose such a tree
to declare their love?

Even here a breeze disguises a greater breath
its collision with my cheek and throat.

As the moon sets, the spiders’ abdomens
issue a phosphorescent glow.

The leafy canopy blocks out all other constellations
to create its own in radiant blue hues.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


We dug a hole to place a maple tree.
We placed Richard’s ashes at the bottom.

A memory tree to provide comfort and shade
especially on hot summer days.

It was also a witness tree
as it observed us growing beyond

the loss of our brother and son
and took in our lives as nourishment.

One at a time we abandoned the maple
moving on to new locations.

And the people who purchased the house
from mother after father died,

expanded the house outward and upward.
They cut down the Richard-maple.

By that time, we were not afraid to express
that he lived on in our hearts.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


An idea turns my head
to the night-dark sky

and I ask, Why is Heaven
placed in all that emptiness?

I lost myself looking up
and fell into simple easy breathing.

I move to relax
under a late Autumn elm tree.

I notice how its slim branches
connect stars

the tips plug into the sky
and channel Heaven into Earth’s soil.

I reach my hand up, fingers spread,
to accomplish the same.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Your god seems vengeful,
while mine is green and generally ignores me.

Your god has an old testament fury
and new testament love,

while mine loses its leaves each Autumn
only to grow them back in Spring.

Your god directs the four horsemen
to run errands and deliver messages,

while mine houses an assortment
of birds and animals who do their own thing.

Your god blocks the entrance into heaven
with pearly gates, Saint Peter and graded tests,

while mine will draw me into herself
and makes me part of her body

whether I am planted into the earth,
drop dead upon the ground or enter the sky as smoke.

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 came across the trees one night
walking in single file, abandoning the forest.
The rain fell to cover their tracks
and filled the disturbed earth where their roots once held.

They were delayed at the river
as each tree stopped to soak up water.
The river was a muddy bed
by the time all the trees forded.

I was unable to determine if there was a leader.
I thought the first tree would be the leader.
That tree wore a tartan scarf and lost Batman kite
and behaved more like a rambunctious pup.

Compared to these trees I am very young.
As the young do, I wondered what I did for them to abandon us.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


No men in black suits.
No bugs in human suits.
A haphazard shadow greens.
A gentle sway of line and pattern.

Bald official paperwork.
So many trees wear eviction notices.
Six more days for public outrage.
The government stumps the park.

Small black bugs hide.
Fallen bark reveals their trails.
Paths snake meandering lines.
Leaves brown in June.

copyright 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney