Theory of Everything

Paul put Everything in its place.
Everything rejected this notion
and got up to move about.

Everything did this without animus
without hate.

Everything moved about because
it did not wish to collect dust.
Dust landed on it in motion.

When Paul discovered Everything
was not in its place
he felt a bit exasperated.

The bit was in the lower lefthand corner
of the definition of exasperated.

The full definition of exasperated
reported Paul’s theft to the authorities.

The authorities decided to crackdown
on small thefts and evil greed.

Paul was arrested in the development
of his theory of Everything
moving about without his permission.

He had not thought of calling the authorities
to use force to keep Everything
in its place.

Everything testified on Paul’s behalf
stating he was an excellent human
in all of his faults and frailties.

The authorities agreed
to absolve Paul of his sins
as long as he returned
that bit of exasperation he stole.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Closure

No matter
how dark
and close
to black
a person
behaved
in life
their body
in death
in the ground
greens
the grasses
above them
and the
nearby trees
who tangle
their roots
around them
so they
are hugged.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Fiction

Most of my life I stayed away from the family farm.
Whenever I visited the family put me to work.

This is why I, a magic marker salesman, know
how to milk a dairy cow by hand.

My family on the farm has heard of the Covid pandemic.
They think of it as the nineteen-eighteen influenza redo.

Three of the goats amble in and out of the house.
They like to lie down on the guest room floor when I nap.

Grandfather sustains a quarter acre of prairie.
It reminds him of what his grandfather plowed under.

When I visit I think of my stay as a prison sentence
for psych-patients learning calm from animals and sweat.

All the poems I write while visiting I collect into a folder.
A label on the folder says Memoir written in magic marker.

After each farm stay, I am a bit more callused on the hands.
This does not stop me from writing a thank you note.

I post the thank you note near midnight.
I do this so my friends do not see me appreciate my family.

This way I can complain about the sunflower
that stares in the window when I exit the shower naked.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Impermanence

Water works
its way around a stone
too large to be submerged
except on early spring days
when snow melt
combines with rain
and the creek spills its banks
in low places.

Each water droplet
grabs stone granules
like lateral mountain climbers
and those droplets
work their way around
the stone.

But each droplet’s handhold
removes a little of
each granule’s resolve
to be part of the whole
that forms the stone.

First the sharp edges go.
Then the smoothing continues.
And each of these granules
tumbles with the current
stop and go toward the sea.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Positive

Paul lifted a baseball bat
swung it downward
and smashed a bar of soap.

He felt it betrayed him
and had to feel
the consequences
of his positive covid results.

He felt no better
for all the soap fragments
and their exploded grenade
shrapnel pattern.

Paul packed a small
cotton bag
with fresh pine needles
to remind him
of the outdoors he loved
while he convalesced.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Recognition

Paul’s memory fell out
leaving a hollow space
for squirrels to nest in
like a tree trunk.

Each night he was reintroduced
to the Milky Way.

Each day the sunrise
surprised him.

When he looked at me
I saw his mind race and whirl
through sleeping squirrels
trying to find and form my name.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Night Light

I wonder if Jesus
at age six
had night terrors
in the form
of visions
that foretold
his crucifixion
and just what
Mary (his mother)
did to calm him
back to sleep
if there was
anything
she could do
since he was
destined
to experience
humanity
to bridge life
and God’s faith.

I believe she lit
a candle
to illuminate
his dark room
in spite of
Joseph’s ire
at such
extravagance.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

Happy New Year everyone.

Bosque in Stereo

Fallen grace.
Boxed wine.
Convenience store wings.
Cottonwood shade.
Rio Grande angels.
Chase roadrunners.
Coyote foxtrot.
Crazy crow-prayer.
Bicycle roll-by blessings.
Sandia watermelon sugar.
Wind waves branches.
Declining sun.
Reddish cloud streamers.
Maximum moon.
Impulse girlfriend kiss.
Luminous animals.
Pin-drop owls.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Voice I No Longer Remember

Practice spirit speech.
Wander through night doors.

Salt food with sweat.
Rise at first light.

Place a hand on a friend’s shoulder.
Walk invisibly through forests.

Inhale wet leaf aroma.
Tread paths with no destination.

Accept advice from songbirds.
Give foolishness a home.

Define success for yourself.
Overwrite old memories.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney