Funny Bone

A poem by Kenneth P. Gurney


Everything has a funny bone.
Sorry my last joke missed yours.

You should laugh at my tie,
or, better, laugh at my lack of a tie.

I give you permission to laugh at me when I am employed.
And to laugh all the harder when I am employed and wearing a tie.

I will laugh at you when you wear your turquoise jewelry
and black shirt, with its black buttons and high collar.

Not because turquoise or your black shirt is funny,
but because you never wear your turquoise with any other color.

We should laugh at the forbidden together.
Even if you think the word ta-Boo should elicit a scream.

I remember laughing as a white cop punched Ed in the face.
My laugh jerked the cop’s head toward me,

so he drop Ed to the ground and walk over to my face
and splatter shouted, “You find something funny in this?”

Which I did not, but the cop left Ed alone and the scene
shortly after I wiped my face dry on my shirt tails.

Unintentionally, I banged my funny bone on a Hurricane Ridge rock
which must have been its exposed funny bone

because I felt the low rumble through the mountain,
so similar, but deeper, than my elbow-rubbing, laughing moan.


Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his beloved Dianne. In his spare time he practices being an elk on the flanks of the Sandia Mountains. In Dianne’s spare time, he does whatever chores she places on the chores list for him to accomplish. His latest collection of poems is Stump Speech. (CreateSpace IPP, 2015.) Peruse his website.

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Any Chill Wind

A poem by Kenneth P. Gurney


You could say we were unsure
of the ground beneath our feet.

An unfamiliar god snores
six feet under the green surface.

In the frozen reaches of a sorrow trail
snow angels are invisible under the midday sun.

The old world scrapes at the icy ground
to awaken the sleeping god

to ask it politely to crush our foreign ideas
and to scrap our wood and stone buildings.

The old world wraps itself in a pale blanket
and trudges the survival path

to locate a warm place where their mysteries
are as plain as dandelions among short green grasses.

We envelop all doubts with strings of sand
rubbed from our waking eyes.

We discover a lake with a reputation for renewal
of those spirits whose feet touch the bottom

which is the place where the buried god’s navel
rises and lowers with each subterranean breath.

It is not a deep lake—it collects all the water
that breaks from mothers just before giving birth.

The old world dances and speaks in tongues
and the coyote howls at our moon brightened skin.

We check among our repossessions
and find histories withheld from conquered peoples

and the old world wraps itself in them
as if they were a new, brightly colored blanket

that invalidates any chill wind.


Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his beloved Dianne. In his spare time he practices being an elk on the flanks of the Sandia Mountains. In Dianne’s spare time, he does whatever chores she places on the chores list for him to accomplish. His latest collection of poems is Stump Speech. (CreateSpace IPP, 2015.) Peruse his website.