Kenneth Gurney



That which I call Soul
resides in the river’s surface
in the reflection of a face
that leans over the bank.
I see nothing of Jesus
or Buddha or the bargain made
between me and myself
about daily gratitudes
in the reflected eyes; just
the clouds as they bend
with the water’s surface
and the language I wrap
around myself as a blanket.
On the other side of the river
the joggers glide upon the path,
their bright high-tech colors
an aberration through the multiple
shades of green around them.
Somewhere nearby
is the stump that marks the starting point
for fifteen steps east
where I buried a small cedar box
filled with dried rose petals
and the word Love,
which has absented itself
from my vocabulary
for too many years.
I mean, there is a magpie
that sits upon a branch
and it speaks the one word its learned,
Peanut, to everyone who nears its perch
but receives nothing
from people who prefer
to feed the ducks
and watch their colors
glide upon the river
whether approaching
or going away.

A Few Blocks More
The twenty-something red head
rolls down her driver-side window,
states in a loud voice that she is lost,
that she does not subscribe
to the cell phone world
and hides from global positioning.
Our neighborhood’s sparse traffic
never backs up behind her halted progress
or makes an appearance at all—
the buses glide the arteries
two blocks south or three blocks east.
Normally, I would step closer,
go out into the street
so she wouldn’t have to shout,
so I would be closer to a pretty girl,
but I hesitate from the sidewalk
stand behind someone’s abandoned joy ride
that the city has not yet reclaimed.
Her immaculate BMW
labels her a day tripper
a seeker of recreational mind benders
or time accelerants
or a lover of blue-collar artists
whose work never reaches
the up town galleries.
Whether she said Madison or Madsen Street
does not matter, they both lie
north of us, a left turn onto Sherman
and then a few blocks
or a few blocks more.

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA with his beloved Dianne.  His latest collection of poems, Stump Speech, will be available in January or February 2015.  To learn more visit

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