An idea turns my head
to the night-dark sky

and I ask, Why is Heaven
placed in all that emptiness?

I lost myself looking up
and fell into simple easy breathing.

I move to relax
under a late Autumn elm tree.

I notice how its slim branches
connect stars

the tips plug into the sky
and channel Heaven into Earth’s soil.

I reach my hand up, fingers spread,
to accomplish the same.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


Your god seems vengeful,
while mine is green and generally ignores me.

Your god has an old testament fury
and new testament love,

while mine loses its leaves each Autumn
only to grow them back in Spring.

Your god directs the four horsemen
to run errands and deliver messages,

while mine houses an assortment
of birds and animals who do their own thing.

Your god blocks the entrance into heaven
with pearly gates, Saint Peter and graded tests,

while mine will draw me into herself
and makes me part of her body

whether I am planted into the earth,
drop dead upon the ground or enter the sky as smoke.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Much The Same

I stumbled on a tree root.
All my words fell out of my mouth.
All of them. The seldom used ones too.

Blanket, forget-me-not,
moon and trademark
stuck to my left arm.

They sunk below my skin
to become tattoos
in search of colors other than black.

Working late into the evening,
I picked up most of my vocabulary,
fearing a frost would wither my words.

Squirrels scurried over to the spill
and took words away
to bury them for a winter cache.

I cannot name
a single nut type anymore.
Or what it is that encases its edible kernel.

The tree roots soaked up many words.
The tree now pleads with me
when I trim its branches.

While relaxing in its shade,
the tree tells me how it feels
about squirrels.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


I came across the trees one night
walking in single file, abandoning the forest.
The rain fell to cover their tracks
and filled the disturbed earth where their roots once held.

They were delayed at the river
as each tree stopped to soak up water.
The river was a muddy bed
by the time all the trees forded.

I was unable to determine if there was a leader.
I thought the first tree would be the leader.
That tree wore a tartan scarf and lost Batman kite
and behaved more like a rambunctious pup.

Compared to these trees I am very young.
As the young do, I wondered what I did for them to abandon us.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


No men in black suits.
No bugs in human suits.
A haphazard shadow greens.
A gentle sway of line and pattern.

Bald official paperwork.
So many trees wear eviction notices.
Six more days for public outrage.
The government stumps the park.

Small black bugs hide.
Fallen bark reveals their trails.
Paths snake meandering lines.
Leaves brown in June.

copyright 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney