Retainer

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

Our Own Kind of Hallelujah

We tagged the neighborhood church.
Black paint on red brick.
Old Golden Rule version.
The Do not version.

The priest committed no transgressions
of which we were aware.
The alter boys looked happy walking to school.
The stations of the cross were immaculate.

We expected our house to be tagged
by the priest or his surrogates.
We hoped the tag would declare
Love thy neighbor….

Our dull adobe walls
could use some color other than black.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Tyranny Sonnet

Pandemic face mask tyranny.
Stop sign tyranny.
No littering tyranny.
Stay off the grass tyranny.

Clean up your dog’s poop tyranny.
Slower speed in construction zone tyranny.
Professional licensing tyranny.
Restaurant health code tyranny.

Water quality tyranny.
Dumping trash tyranny.
National Park land conservation tyranny.
Currency tyranny.

Golden rule tyranny.
Love thy neighbor as thyself tyranny.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red White And Black

When cotton was king
a people was enslaved and declared subhuman.

When corn was king
the McCormick reaper freed a million men

to serve in the Armies of the Potomac,
Cumberland and Tennessee.

Southerners’ mental gymnastics
won all the the eighteen-sixty Olympic medals.

Hypocrisy recognized by a few
caused them to teach their slaves to read and write

for the importance to know the gospels,
to come to know Jesus and salvation.

Do not dismiss the bravery of this act.
In most southern states that was a capital offense.

Before the black man was brought to the Americas,
the red man was enslaved and worked to death.

Columbus promised Isabella and Ferdinand
boat loads of New World riches,

but found only one valuable commodity
in abundance to enrich Spain.

No one heeded the Pope
when he spoke out against this practice.

How shabby our collective Christianity.
How spartan our application of the golden rule.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

Poetic license allows the Olympic medal to be awarded in 1860, when the modern Olympics did not start until 1896.

Documentation of the enslavement of Native Americans is in the book The Other Slavery, by Andrés Reséndez.