Blown Up

Paul pressed his eye
to the barrel
of a microscope
and sought a trigger
to first-person-shooter kill
viruses in his body.

Another day
he placed a fibrous page
of the bible
under the same scrutiny
in his search for god
through the not-so-black
hole of a period
at the end of a psalm.

When he examined
his finger
and through the skin
saw red blood cells
moving like
red coats toward Lexington
he had to decide
whether to remain loyal
to King George
or assemble at Concord.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Whether Disliking or Loving

Paul watched the sun pass overhead
through golden aspen leaves
to soften the light that enters his eyes.

He desired freedom from the bible
and its followers, so he might write
his own scriptures.

Paul grounded himself in children’s verse.
Alan Alexander Milne.
From which he composed a life manifesto.

He claimed to have no answers.
He broadcast Mozart for the sparrows.
Vivaldi for the sparrow hawks.

Paul flooded the neighborhood
with the feeling of being alone
so community might form with urgency.

He thought it might help the brave
mend their brokenness
and the fearful to dance in the mad streets.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Chapter One Second Coming Murder Mystery

The morning news stated
some local fishermen
fished out six of Christ’s fishermen
from the sea.

Saint Peter looked more sleepy than dead.
His hair was drawn back
and secured with a red rubber band
into a ponytail.

Simon (who was called Peter)
was identified by the tattoo Cephas on his arm.
Of the seven fisherman, Nathaniel, was missing
and presumed the murderer.

We confirmed Mathew the tax collector
worked for the Internal Revenue Service
and happily lived in the residential tower
above Balston Station on the metro’s orange line.

When I think of God in flowing white hair—
venerable yet cranky from constipation—
with his old testament thundering reputation
I figure he ordered the hit.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul grew up in America.
That is a lie.
The idea he grew up.

He is a poet.
As a poet he was asked
to translate the bible into plain English.

Paul’s skill at poetry was brevity.
He distilled the bible
down to as few words as possible.

It took him close to a year
as American snow
came and went and came again.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
Do not do to others
what you do not want done to yourself.

The people who hired Paul were angry
he did not mention God once
or Jesus and the twelve disciples.

They refused to pay him
for this one double spaced
typed page.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Not Sunday

Lori walks through the city.
She carries kind words
instead of the Bible.

She carries a hot sauce bottle
in one of her coat pockets
in case street vender food requires it.

Lori stands on top of a fire hydrant
with her extraordinary balance.
She dispenses kind words from there.

Her kind words are so right on
that street preachers stop
to listen and ask for blessings.

One day the fire department
and three of its trucks arrived
and required use of their hydrant.

Lori was in the middle of distributing kind words
and made the decision
it was kinder to let the firemen do their work

than to finish dispensing kind words.
She jumped down from the hydrant
and sat among the street preachers

to watch the firemen work.
They put out a blaze in record time.
No one actually times and records

firemen working
when they could be watching
the flames consume the Bible shop.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Awakened By Weeping Icicles

Awakened by weeping icicles
Lori felt the unevenness
of her holy body.

She read cover to cover
the Bible, Torah and Quran
in search of her name

but found it untouched
by their many verses
and living parables.

She chose not to see
this absence
as a barricade.

Unblocked by script and tradition
she examined
her every longing.

Especially rhythms
edible or audible
or snowy when the pipes froze.

Kiss me.
She thought of god
bending down from heaven

to place lips
to her forehead
to sooth unnamed sadness.

Kiss me.
She thought of the man
down the street

with good manners
who harvested winds for melodies
pushed through his clarinet.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

No Matter Where

Paul finds a way
to sneak into heaven
unrestrained by the Bible
or the Pearly Gates.

Paul’s sneaky way
steals from another mythos
and he crosses at Bifröst—
the burning rainbow bridge.

His entrance
is the one blind spot
in the all knowing Christian God’s

It turns out Heaven
always had many gates—
one for each of the world’s religions
and each religion’s sub-sects.

Paul did not sneak
but boldly crossed over
because there are no check points
at the boundary.

Imagine his swift walk up the mountain
through the ponderosa and aspens
and by clearing a ridge
he entered the Valley of Heaven.

All it takes to enter Heaven
is a longing for peace
and human belonging
and the path opens up before you.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Underlying All Molecules

The revisionists got hold of the bible
and started a rewrite with Genesis.
They extended it to include evidence
of evolution and carbon-fourteen dating.

They dumped the begat chapter.

They created one hundred and seventy-two
synchronistic Abrahams
one each in the different cultures of the world
founding a religion as best each Abraham understood.

God did not order anyone to sacrifice a child.

The revisionists used two different fonts.
One for metaphorical verses.
One for literal verses.
They did not consider colored ink due to expense.

They did not include Jesus.

The revisionists made God
able to communicate with everyone at a heartfelt level
so that a savior was unnecessary.
Race and nationality never became an issue.

They gave women equal footing with men.

They gave people dogs instead of dogma.
Ritual remained important.
But not so important that ritual was static
and unbending.

There were no lists of death sentences.

The revisionists made clear that the apocalypse
was not an act of war or divine reckoning
but a revealing of the truth that exposed all closets
so people could be themselves—unafraid.

copyright © Kenneth P. Gurney

Part of Something Marked Out From the Rest

Sometimes my past catches up to me
and I feel my hand draw a bowstring
on the soggy field at Agincourt.

It is not that I died that day
or the men I killed
but the horses deserved better.

A moment that wicks up my attention
is the Sixth Wisconsin’s charge
of the railroad cut at Gettysburg

where a round ball slammed into my thigh
and I fell twenty yards from glory
to bleed out upon the grass.

I wish the past presented more pleasant images
like swimming in an ocean
following an octopus along the coral

or choppy white water
through a rocky chute
while paddling the canoe like crazy.

There is that evening with wig removed
I sat in candlelight to read
Gutenberg’s newly printed bible

and fell asleep
while the dogs lazed by the fire
and my beloved placed a blanket over me.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shelf Life

Paul edited out
the punishments
from both testaments
of the bible.

He did so
based on reading
science reports.

And learning
the longterm damage
physically striking
a child causes.

Even open handed
All without
spoiling the child.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney