Thunder

Paul was struck
by his lack of desire for the Abrahamic God
or any of the thousands of interpretations
of the Word perpetrated on the day.

He decided as a child
he had not failed Sunday school
but it failed him
as it tried to indoctrinate his behavior.

He admitted some of the stories
were good to know in a vague way
like knowing where one hill is
among thousands of nameless hills.

Paul pulled water up from the well.
He knew no matter
what he believed
the water would be the same.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Sea to Shining Sea

I traveled these United States
to see the wonders of the continent
and harmlessly flirt with cafe waitresses.

As I traveled I learned the word united
holds looser connections
than the dictionary suggests.

We are ten thousand cultures
based on personal freedom of expression
and dodging responsibility.

The stripes of the flag
might as well represent bloody bandages
on our collective social wounds—

not the original thirteen colonies
steeped in racism, genocide
and slavery.

I found the practice of religion common.
But it was mostly Sunday only Christianity.
Not something lived through each breath.

I met a great deal of kindness
but I was a tourist. Not homeless or single
struggling to raise a child alone.

On clear nights I noticed
the stars shone down upon all of us
with the same intensity.

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

Bubbles Popping Out of the Ooze

Karma sat down
on Saturn’s rings
and watched earth
from afar.

Too many religions
inside religions
further inside religions
deeper inside religions.

A multitude of centers
to the universe.
Contorted selfishness
circus-mirrored self-reflections.

The tooth faerie was unsure
how much change to leave
under pillows
depressed by sleeping heads.

Ancient DNA revival.
Arctic melt methane release.
Choppy seas chopping up
coastal city shorelines.

American eagle
now portrayed with two heads
split apart
gone in different directions.

A porcelain white witch’s caldron
brewed some crude liquor.
We added juniper berries
to the gloop.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Hundred Hues

The world reassembled itself.
It had not really fallen apart.
Bethany’s perception of it fractured
in the glint of the storage unit’s
razor wire.

Only a guest in the hidden chapel,
the light through the stained glass
worked better for her
than Christ upon the cross
with his decorative piercings.

Bethany sharpened her sense
of broken-down-in-urban-America
so the pieces fit properly.
No light shined through rough edges.
No cold winds pressed bare skin.

She relaxed into herself
as if lying on a pile of raked leaves
with the smoke of other piles
thick in the air before cities
banned such fiery rehearsals.

Bethany heard the song of the world
and how flat and out of rhythm
her life-notes were within it.
And the counter melody
of the long scars upon her body—

her repeated dash in the buff
through a thorn bush thicket
thinking she could embody
the Christ’s thorny crown
under the watchful eyes of owls.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Card Game

Dora stopped playing.
The earth stopped turning.

The stick figures of distant people
tottered and fell down
as the world stuttered to a stop.

One hundred and thirteen religions
sprang into existence
with various explanations
and interpretations of events.

Dora returned from the bathroom.
She picked up her newly dealt hand.
The earth began to spin.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Graduation

Dora hugs me from behind for the first time.
It is the last time we will be together.
You have put earthly religions behind you
and immerse yourself in the eternal spirit.

She pushes me forward as she lets go.
When I turn, the empty air shimmers
like the old light of new stars
warm and close by.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Revival

I do not need to see
your wings open to the sun
to know the cleansing breath
of your initial feathery flap,
even if all you use it for
is to regain balance.

For all of the priest’s
Jerusalem rhetoric
he fails to see or feel
your plumed curve mid-hover
above the smoldering violence
in today’s thunderous voices.

All the charting of the sky
is for naught.

Tragic storm clouds brew
unforgotten bygones
into lightning strikes
that char the earth,
rip open the grassland
and set flame
to the grounded dead
that know their ash and dust
is the basis of eternity.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Empowerment

In all the stories
I tell my daughter,
Jesus is a woman.
God is a woman.
The holy ghost
is a nurturing spirit.

In our creation myth
all life exits
an earthly womb
from a crack in the bedrock.

If my daughter was adopted
and brown, red or yellow
the Jesus and God
in our stories
would be the same color.

In our creation myth
there is no Adam,
no Adam’s rib.
Man and Woman
emerged from the earthly womb
together and equal,
requiring the help of the other
to proceed into the land of plenty.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

postscript

I believe that our myths and religions form much of how we think in our society. Because of this, I think we should create new myths and religions that present the world in a manner more to our striving. The new myths / religions do not need to be totally new. Take what is deemed good from the old (like the golden rule) and add it to the new. Since I find equality of both genders important, my myths promote that cause.

I realize we could debate what equality is under these circumstances. In my mind in equality current male mindset of hierarchies (where is my place in the totem pole and how do I rise) would dissipate. I find it more important to get the needed tasks of society accomplished.

Also, I am tired of Us and Then mentalities. There is Us, no Them. Us encompasses all people. Universal rights of man.

Oh well.

Love and light. Tree and leaf.

Kenneth