Even Footing

Paul walks alone
deep in thought
through the aspen grove
toward the ponderosas.

He ponders gender assignments
as a quiet form of violence
constructed in biblical times
by someone powerful and totally freaked out.

Paul feels for the disappeared
who are catholic
and die in some lonely place
never to receive last rights.

Paul moves into a metaphysical space
where angels and semi-forgotten gods
hang out with animals and humans
all bodiless and free.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Catch

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
brushing
their knees.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Parable 11 Feb 2022

Outside of nature
Paul did not experience reverence.

He did not think this out of the ordinary.
The village priest was cross with him.

When pressed by the priest
to name someone he revered

Paul thought and said Einstein.
For M C Squared

and the theories of special
and general relativity.

The priest grew angry with Paul
and struck him with angry words.

Paul turned the other cheek
Turned it to walk away.

Back into nature where he felt love.
Where he gave love in return.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Two Miles Past The End of a Lost Road

Paul watched a ghost bird
fly over a stonewall
then vanished.

The stonewall
on the mountain ridge line
sunk deeply and appeared as a raised path.

He believed it marked a boundary
between this world
and the next.

Sometimes when he approached it
he choked up
and moved no closer.

Other times he felt invisible lassoes
fall short of looping him
from beyond.

He saw a Roosevelt Elk
approach the wall opposite him
to nibble greener grasses.

Paul collected the poems
that leaked through the gaps
in the stones

or bubbled up lower on the mountain
as a spring—the fountain of all life
for all he knew.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Celestial Object Cloaked in Flesh

Paul stood in the middle.
He did not define the middle of what.

He knew he was in the middle
if all measurements started where he stood.

His tapping foot did not change this.
The position of the sun did not change this.

Paul understood
this made himself self-centered.

Self-help books told him
being centered is a good thing.

He decided it was not the starting point
of his measurements

but the radius of the circle he drew
from the starting point of self that mattered.

And whether the drawn circle
was inclusive or exclusive.

Paul noticed his circle’s interior
was brighter than the area outside the perimeter.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Other

She was sometimes happy and sometimes sad.
She seemed religious in the vein of Vivien, the Lady of the Lake.

She tended to follow mother ducks on land.
She disliked and refused to use the words Fairy and Nymph.

Her gaze turned men to stone
only as long as both their eyes met.

Her gaze ignited woman to fire
in a manner that burned their spirits brighter into the world.

She lead the worst kind of men into the lake.
This journey did not go well for them, especially when drunk.

She lead the best kind of women to the shore
before the transition to the Other Wind.

One evening catching fireflies in a jar
I captured her as she waded into the intermittent glow.

I kept the fireflies prisoner long enough to write a poem.
She was not in that poem, but this one.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Commitment To Seeing It Through

There is an edge.
A stonewall in a meadow.
Moss covered ground stones.

The meadow is full of flowers.
Both sides just as colorful.
Just as lovely.

You are injured.
You drowse with your back against the wall.
Head bent under your broad brimmed hat.

Your gentle breath pushes the breeze.
Just as easily it takes the breeze inside you.
You are unaware of the sweat bees on your arm.

Within your sleep you feel stings.
It is not the bees.
It is the memory dream of a CSI episode.

The sun shines equally on both sides of the stonewall.
The wildflowers snuggle up against the stones.
In some places they are high enough to hide the low wall.

Your father stands on the other side.
Swallowtail butterflies decorate his bare arms.
His bare feet bear dirt from his walk to this location.

Your mother waits on this side.
She calls out to you to finish your math homework.
To come to the kitchen for milk and cookies.

Her calling wakes you.
You stand. The bees take their leave.
Your shadow casts itself across the stonewall.

Your shadow alters its angle on the other side.
Confused, you pull back from your father.
You notice the greenery grows at different angles as well.

You walk across the field toward your mother.
Not because she called you. But for yourself.
Nothing to do with television characters.

Who grow louder as you cross the meadow.
You return to the antiseptic room with white walls.
Your mother reads aloud a poem from Now We Are Six.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Red Hart

Inside the Lord’s pocket
lives a red hart
with velveteen antlers.

It roams the silky green expanse
the pocket’s narrow valley
provides.

It lovingly knows
this threaded ground it treads
and the ancient seams.

The red hart senses
a larger world outside the pocket.
A multicolored universe

with an inverted world
where all is displayed to the sky
and hills were smoothed by receded ice.

The Lord though
requires this red hart
held close to the vest

to power its face and tongue
to expand its songs
that burst stars upon the void.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney