No Thunder No Lightning

Paul asked God to come down
and dangle feet off the end of the pier into the lake—
for them to have a talk about important things.

Paul pushed a tune out of a penny whistle while waiting.
He watched his mirroring image in the lake surface.
How it wobbled through his recent ups and downs.

God arrived as a gentle rain
that settled in the mountain valley
and speckled all the land and water in sight.

Paul spoke his most intimate conversation
with face lifted into the rain.
Drops occasionally interrupted a word

as they hit his mouth deep in his throat.
Or it could be that he choked up
with tears hidden by the falling water.

During this time Paul found his tongue
was made of cedar and magpie feathers
and his skin felt like it unraveled to expose his inner self.

The rain ended as sudden as it began.
Paul felt God rise back to the god place
as the sunshine returned.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Faculties

Paul screams.
He is not hurt.
This is not an emergency.
He tests the soundscape.

Much of the soundscape
is beyond human capacity to hear.
Just like more of the scent-scape
is available for dogs.

Every animal goes quiet
as Paul’s scream
echos off the mountainside
and pinballs through the tall pines.

The wind ignores him.
The lake threatens
to drag him under and drown him
if he does it again.

Paul does not understand the danger.
The lake’s voice is beyond his hearing.
Just like the voices of the dead
are beyond his hearing.

In the wake of his scream
Paul remains quiet
until and beyond
the animal sounds returning.

He checks his compass.
North moved a fraction of a degree southeast.
But not enough for Paul’s eye or compass
to register the change.

He wonders why God created humans
so large amounts of data is unavailable to them.
God replies Use it or Lose it.
But the sentence is beyond Paul’s hearing.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Peanuts & Cracker Jack

Paul caught a fly ball.
He caught it by a mountain stream.
He assumed is was a foul ball.

He looked around
but no baseball field was in sight.
No ball court or other athletic facility was in sight either.

Paul pocketed the ball
since there were no visible ballplayers
to throw the ball back to.

For a moment he thought
he might be a character in a Kinsella baseball story
but this was New Mexico not Iowa.

He thought God might being playing catch with him.
Or the disembodied voice from Field of Dreams.
To have a catch, he corrected himself.

Paul took the ball out of his pocket
and tossed it as high as he could.
The ball did not reach the low clouds.

It did return to earth a few feet away.
Paul stumbled on a rock
trying to catch it again.

He fell and bumped his head on a different rock
which refused to take responsibility
for Paul’s hearing Take Me Out To The Ball Game.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

I am not Religious

My idea of God
does not fit in a church.

I visited great European cathedrals
to view the artwork in the windows
statuary and architecture

not the reliquaries
and saintly crypts.

Churches do fit
within my idea of God.

Though not as well as forests
or mountain meadows.

I once started a count
of the everyday saints I met
as I traveled these United States.

Six full legal pads
and a box of pencils
sharpened to nubs
and I was only one week
into the adventure.

My idea of God
fills the void between protons
neutrons and electrons.
The galactic distances between molecules.

Something in the weak and strong forces.

Something that remains
gracefully and elegantly
out of my grasp.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Opens Under Fire

Paul stands
in a hollow on a mountain.

The hollow does not allow him to view
the broad river valley below.

Most people climb mountains
to view far away things.

Paul hikes the mountain
for a closer look

at the trees and wildflowers
and rock that extends deep into the earth.

Some days he presses his face
into ponderosa pine trunks

to view the variations in bark
and catch a whiff of vanilla.

Other days he sits on a rock outcropping
in a high meadow where pikas live

and watches them become accustom
to his quiet sitting.

They grace him with their presence
and rodent antics.

This is his paradise.
His garden of eden.

He imagines God’s forbidden fruit
described as a pine cone.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunset Under a Break in the Clouds

Bright west difference.
Night sky without constellations.

Forever unhinged.
Vertigo.

The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!

Terrafirma embrace.
Nearby horses.

Fewer names I am known by.
Limbs stirring July.

Pushups.
Tens of them.

Ones really.
Single digit planet.

Eyes transfixed.
Adobe brick church transept.

Pebbles in my shoes.
Journey slowed.

Muddy white laces.
Unbowed tied.

Dew wet.
The sky opens up.

An immense rain.
Not Noah big.

Arroyo wash out.
Three homeless

now embraced by
Poseidon? Yahweh?

Vishnu? Mohamed?
Rio Grande sandbar.

Flow rates
remain twenty percent of normal.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Not Available at Lowes’ Garden Department

Dianne and I grow good omens
in our garden.

Admittedly she does most of the work.
I spread the manure.

We cut bouquets to give to our friends
when they fear dying.

Or when they invite the four riders of the apocalypse
to gallop through their living room.

God admonishes us for giving away
the beautiful blooms

before the bees finish pollinating
and the good omens go to seed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

House And Home

My body battered by my mind
trembles in place.

My blood hollows itself
blueing under oxygen debt.

Knights joust upon my tongue.
A soggy pink field torn to pieces by mad charges.

Love is a word I do not speak to myself.
It is an abstract others speak of solidly.

It has something to do with the difference
of the words House and Home.

My body houses what God’s mouth
breathed into me.

But this flesh does not feel like home
for all my consumed communion wafers.

In this state I tell myself
this night I feel the holy dark about me

and the floor’s broken glass is fear
not a bottle dropped

after liquid numbness fails
to add color back to old photos.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Answered

Walking down the wrong street
bullets called out your name
but none of them knew how to pronounce
the umlaut over the A
so their lead missed your body
but hit many other things
that shattered upon impact
or shattered the bullet upon its impact.

You were not oblivious
but more concerned about the stranger
who screamed out for a hug
while two dozen tiny moons circled their head
as a reckoning of how many lunar mouths passed
since they were last touched.

Believing they witnessed a miracle
the shooters scattered
not wishing to be in the proximity
of something so holy that God’s breath
saturated the neighborhood’s air
like the little puff from a kiss just let go.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sunday

Paul deduced that Time
was not something God created.

As far as he could discern
all of God’s creations

stopped for a while to rest
and recover

but time never missed a beat
even when he missed

one of time’s beats
if not three or four in a row.

His heart which beat without stopping
did speed up and slow down

but time only sped up or slowed down
in the scope of his human perception.

Paul thought about the sun
and its fission and fusion

of atomic particles
and how it created elements

only up to iron
before going nova the first time.

But that going nova proved
a beginning and end of the star

no matter how seemingly countless the days
from ignition to boom.

I suggested Time was created
by Missus God

but received an ungracious grunt
and dark look for my effort.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney