Last Hike In The Foothills

Dianne’s fingers pierced an orange.
The car filled with a citrus smell.

A miniature Wild Turkey bottle
started our litter collection.

A coyote trotted up hill away from our approach.
It topped the ridge and looked back.

We counted thirty-two bird nests.
And thirty-two fearfully glaring mothers.

We drew twenty-seven fish symbols
swimming down the sandy arroyo.

An unleashed Jack Russell approached us.
Its owner shouted from a distance He is friendly.

One metallic Happy Birthday balloon
hovered above a rabbitbrush patch.

Sixty-six colorful plastic bags of dog poop
highlight the trail sides.

Nine blue paper face masks
dotted the accumulated litter we toted to the can.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Walking A Local Trail

Tree limbs replace my bones.
A thing I do to feel rooted to a place.

I stand straddling a slight stream.
I am the Colossus of Rhodes.

In the hollow the wind swoops down
and steals my cap.

Smoke, miles filtered by pine needles,
is a barely recognizable sniff.

The forrest’s palpable pulse
requires shrewd awareness.

The canyon towhee’s backward hop
is most endearing.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Home Fries

In the intersection
outside of the crosswalk
two stray socks,
one gray with red strips,
one white with goldenrod toes,
and a small pair of overalls
printed with Winnie the Pooh
and other characters
from the Hundred Acre Wood
displayed a single set
of tread marks
as traffic grew thicker,
faster and deeper
than my desire
to tidy up the asphalt
as I crossed with the light
on my way for tea,
eggs over medium
and home fries.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

On 23 December this poem occurred on my 2.5 mile walk to the cafe that I use as my poetry office. On this walk, usually the same route each time, I regularly find clothes that are left behind on the sidewalk or in the street gutter or the crosswalk. It gives me the impression that getting one’s clothes safely to the laundromat and back home is not an easy chore. I hope it is not a case of a homeless person trying to keep track of everything they own in a shopping cart and losing part of it. That would make the loss of a few items a substantial loss.

When it comes to homelessness, I find I am more angry with Business over Government. During a period of record corporate profits the nation has one of its highest homeless populations. In my mind, because they have the money, those businesses should be hiring extra people so less folks are homeless. All of the major religions tell their followers to aid the poor. I understand there are places in California (LA and SF) where rents are so high that people working full time become homeless when a little adversity hits their lives.

I think many people forget that profit is not a goal or an end. It is a measure. It is an incomplete measure, because it does not take into account the quality of life of all the people who work in the business or interact with the business. Imagine if Google reduced its profit by 100 million dollars to employ an extra 20,000 people at a good wage. Google would still be profitable and a viable business and it would improve the lives of so many people. I believe conscientious investors would be accept the slightly lower dividend for a better country, city, or neighborhood.

I wonder how any of us would like an extra $100 of dividends if it came at the cost of 10,000 people being laid off. As an investor and a conscientious human what would that make me to profit from the pain of others? I do my best to invest responsibly on social and environmental issues.

All this thinking from two socks and a small pair of overalls outside a crosswalk on a busy street’s asphalt. Hmmmm.

Hey. Do the small things that make a difference today. You know: smile, say please and thank you, and et cetera.

Love & Light.

Kenneth

Josiah

I need a ride.
I do not have time to walk.

No one answers my calls.
My smart phone does not know who is available.

There is Lyft.
But money remains scarce.

The walk will do me good.
It may tire me out before I reach her grave.

A walk usually sorts my emotions.
Walking meditation is better than driving meditation.

Meditation is better than medication.
Today I need big medicine, man.

No, her grave is not on the rez.
It is up in the mountains.

One of those small family boneyards.
Pioneers from long ago.

It is up among the aspens.
I trespassed on some old claim.

Added her ashes to the earth.
One foot north of Josiah’s headstone.

Josiah’s last name is lost to time.
His headstone is cracked and weather beaten.

Numbers state seventeen-ninety-nine-dash.
He was born on my birth month and day.

There are four other unreadable markers.
Lichen splotched stones outline the size of the yard.

Her ashes are under one of those stones.
I scratched her initials onto that stone.

She is neither in nor out of the pioneer boneyard.
The aspens migrated over the plot.

No trail leads up there.
I start where a stream passes under the road.

My feet always know their way through the wild
to those stones among the aspens.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney