Inseparable

I arrived.
The sun’s soft etch changed everything.

The ruin of the aspen leaves
is most beautiful.

My eye tracked each falling.
Each landing.

What more wealth do I require?
No need to confess.

No greater solitude
for being—for being prayer.

The line of the mountain frays.
That is what I love.

The blending. The blur.
The rejoining.

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

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

No Matter Where

Paul finds a way
to sneak into heaven
unrestrained by the Bible
or the Pearly Gates.

Paul’s sneaky way
steals from another mythos
and he crosses at Bifröst—
the burning rainbow bridge.

His entrance
is the one blind spot
in the all knowing Christian God’s
omniscience.

It turns out Heaven
always had many gates—
one for each of the world’s religions
and each religion’s sub-sects.

Paul did not sneak
but boldly crossed over
because there are no check points
at the boundary.

Imagine his swift walk up the mountain
through the ponderosa and aspens
and by clearing a ridge
he entered the Valley of Heaven.

All it takes to enter Heaven
is a longing for peace
and human belonging
and the path opens up before you.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Digestion

The mad god
consumes us
one by one
day after day
and swallows
to places us
at the center
of the center
of creation.

In the mad god’s belly
resides a black hole
not strong enough
to collapse
the mad god’s
galactic bones
and star dust sinew.
The black hole grows
collapsed particle
by collapsed particle—
which is all I am
under pressure.
Not quite the size
of a single
ink jet droplet
thirty-three microns wide
on a pristine
white page
and just as flat.

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

Superpositions

The pre-dawn dark
enclosed the house.
The first light I turned on
intruded and deepened
the surrounding darkness.
There was not enough moon
for illumination
and I did not think
to turn on the blue flame first
then fill the kettle.

Out the window
the absence of stars
marked the mountains line.
There. That bend.
That indentation
which will be white soon
is where you are.
In the litter of leaves
and pine needles
that now cover
our thoughts of you
where we spread
your ashes.

And not where you are.
You believed you rejoined the whole.
God is the word we use
to define the whole.
Our solar system equivalent
to a single atom
of something infinitely larger.
Eternally.
Atoms trading places.
Always in motion.
Your water, by fire, evaporated
into the air then clouds.
Your ash when the west wind kicks up
moves your carbon toward Kansas.

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

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