Three Poems by Kenneth P. Gurney


Broken dolls seem to end up
in assemblage art pieces, shadow boxes,
sometimes paint shellacking the body
like so many bruises rising to the surface
after the death of a battered woman.

Often, eyes are missing, but the viewer
feels as if the doll watches them,
accuses them of some transgression,
if only it is growing up,
the abandonment of playing with dolls.

Other times an arm or leg is gone,
a vacant socket waits for power,
and the mimic plays the venus de milo
antiquity mind game, but pink plastic
fails the luster of polished marble.


In the pasture all the pointing fingers graze
and wonder if they will find hands one day,
hands holding on to accusations
with the other three fingers and thumb
while an arm extends repeatedly
with the force of righteous indignation
and a blind belief in the absolute correctness
of the cause.

Mostly, though, the pointing fingers
congregate and herd
toward the greener grasses
and chew their cuds
in a circular motion
and watch, a little worried,
as we glide by on our bicycles
road side of the electrified fence
and laugh at their black spots
which might be white spots.

Deeper Shade of Red

It is rare you find anyone who mourns
the deaths of flies as they would a pet cat or dog.

It is not an impulse that the electro-chemical responses
fire off in human craniums.

At the same time, I expect these same people
would root for frogs and bats, or, at least,

have statuary in some divine setting around the house
to these animals that rid the world of buzz.

I know.  You think burning incense by your corner Buddha
has the fragrance of jasmine laid thick as a carpet

to kneel upon as you pray, sure the weight of those thoughts
is greater than any voiced in far off China.

But, I was not thinking of prayers or God or the divine,
but more about a place of thanks for actions well taken,

the divine order of nature and its balances,
and how a brass frog that once was an ashtray

would look so nice, sitting next to your resin Buddha
who is that deeper shade of red.

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA. He edits the New Mexico poetry anthology Adobe Walls. To view a fuller biography, publishing credits, and available books visit