Free of Small Town America

At the end of everything
a streetlamp goes out
and Narnia darkens.

The grass around the streetlamp
remains green for a time
until it browns and withers.

That is if everything is real.

If it is of the imagination
it will spring back to life
pretty much as it departed.

I cupped a cricket in my hands then let it go.

I gave up TV for miniature toy soldiers
where wars take place
on a scenic table top.

It is the closest I will come
to being god
as I shape the scenery

placing trees one by one into woods

micro managing
which pasture a couple of cows graze
and how loud

the war will be this time.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Unapproved Conjecture

And God saw the light
and it was so-so.

He tried to reshape it
but each time he touched the photons
butterflies burst forth.

When each of God’s breaths
passed into the beams
a new language took shape.

The radiation in the light
burned God’s hands.

As he tried to reshape the beam
carbon based life sprang into existence
when the photons carried sloughed skin
to planetary surfaces on the solar wind.

Eventually God turned light off
to work on the source
in the dark void where he was accustomed
to getting things done
with a lack of complication.

God grew frustrated with the unfixable source.
He squeezed it between both hands.

A great explosion took place
generating hundreds of billions of smaller lights
that being scared of their creator
ran away from God in every direction.

And God saw those hundreds of billions of lights
and thought them good.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Storm Blew the Ark Far Away

I woke to find the ark gone.
I was wet with rain falling upon me.
Knee deep in puddles soon.

The continually rising water
prompted me to climb the mountain
while foot steps reduced my shivering.

At some altitude the rain
turned into snow
and clung to my hair before melting.

I knew how to make fire.
There were caves with wide mouths
that were dry inside

with small leaves and bracken—
more than enough to act as tinder
for flint and steel.

The water did not swallow everything.
It did not reach the tree line—
but halted at a belt of white stone.

When I saw the carnage
left by the receding waters
I said, Oh, you are not my god.

The heavens rumbled
but no thunderbolt struck anywhere close.
And I thought, Now I am a nation of one.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

What was Once Solid

Paul breathed a spell.
He breathed in the pine scent of the ponderosas.
He breathed in the water vapor where the stream splashed rocks.

The spell he wanted was magical without sirens.
The spell was medicinal to remove a bruise from his ego.
The spell infused the hibiscus tea in his thermos.

He achieved that valued non-thinking.
He felt himself blur.
Merge is a better word for what he did with the wild.

Paul half understood this connecting.
He attributed it with the divine without a white bearded god.
Sunlight streamed through leaves amplifying the beauty.

Ages of death and rebirth made themselves plain.
Dead cells made way for new ones.
And the bear walked sideways past him not ten feet away.

Paul swallowed and the muscle motion brought him back to himself.
Separate now and again as the raucous stellar jays scolded.
He rose to return to town from the mountain.

His connection lingered just under the skin.
The divine inside him to the divine outside his body.
Unseen currents stream through him now, not around.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lilacs Bloomed Again in June

The crashing through the roof
a little after midnight
was not a missile or meteor
but a fragment of God
when God exploded
and fell from heaven.

Mostly God splashed harmlessly
in three turbulent oceans.

This one finger-nail clipping fragment
crashed through the roof
destroying the TV in a white hot flame
that burst into existence
six white swans and one black.

Under such circumstances
it is hard to call this destruction a catastrophe.

The theologians failed to take notice.
Their heads were buried in the past
in writings thousands of years old
while lively debates sought to elevate
one translation over another.

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

Half Asleep from a Late Afternoon Nap

A long gray strand of God’s hair
snakes across the dining room table
out of the chicken casserole.

A portrait of Sequoia sits on the fireplace mantel
with his alphabet inscribed as a paper frame
within the wooden frame.

A bee that inadvertently flew into the house
now bangs all his buzz
on the picture window viewing the terraced garden.

The gray strand of hair is twenty-two feet long
that is why I ascribe it to God
and not grandfather or grandmother.

My Apple computer products
contain the Cherokee font package
as I begin to learn Sequoia’s native language.

I open the door then use my hand against the window
to guide the bee to freedom and home
only to let four flies in.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


I look up
to the glittering
close woven
white net
of the heavens
and feel it cast
by an unseen hand
to haul in souls.

And I wonder
if it is really
many nets
held by many hands
like the fishermen
I have seen
a little off shore—
the steady ocean
their knees.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Not the Season of Flowers

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

Their hands struck red match tips to striker strips
and lit twenty-seven votive candles.

They placed names on the spiraling smoke
as if the smoke carried away a tragic weight.

They did so for all the people they knew
whose ignorance betrayed them to misfortune.

They did not add uttered prayers
with their common imperfect vocabulary.

Or juggle their different interpretations of God
and what lies beyond life.

They provided the connection they desired
by holding each other’s hand.

This sharing of an unpracticed ritual
opened the path for pent-up tears.

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney