Poetry: Selections from Christopher Kuhl

What Genius Invented Love?
God, with his ten thousand names,
created the world. He knows all things.
But who was the genius who invented
love, in all its hundred thousand ways?
Whatever, whoever they are, they join,
retreat, join, retreat, separate, and come
together. And they live in the twilight
green of leaves and the pale blue,
cerulean blue, righteous blue of earth
and sky. And they are not afraid of anything;
they have made, and continue to make, whatever
gives them pleasure. What more could they ask?

Jesus Amidst the Pines
Pine cones gathered from
the pines on the edge of
an ancient lake,
a lake as old in its wild life
as Jesus,
Jesus, dark, Rastafarian, with
the pine trees and cones
and wild lake,
dressed in jeans and flannel
shirt, a necklace of little tree
garnered from trees humming
at his birth,
yet destined to live thousands
of years longer. But now, they, too,
are threatened by men with chain saws,
chain saws that will crucify them,
crucify them: the Crucifixion
is never forgotten, and the trees
are always chanting it and then,
in spite of the threat they, too, face,
they burst out with
leafy joy at the Second Coming,
the Second Coming, living now
amidst them, the towering trees and their
giant boles,
beside the ancient, wild, holy water.

Storm Moments
Hail. Thunder rain. Rivers overflowing
their banks. Ninety-mile-an-hour winds.
Flash floods swallowing shores, leaving
roads overwhelmed with shattered trees.
My days
were laid out for me even before I
was born. And so I went out into
the storm, into trees cracking and
sheets of lightning firing. Was
this my end? In a moment I was
knocked down by tornadic winds,
and drenched with rain. I laughed
with a fearless joy. This was not
my time or place.

Maximum Security
I want a lined notebook.
I want pockets full of
gel pens, a box full of
and a shelf full of books.
I’m a writer: I want everything,
including cigarettes,
and coffee. I want a
bottle of Jameson and a
shot glass, to celebrate
when I finally get something
I want a window to look
out of, watching squirrels
run up and down, chasing
each other
among the trees. I want
to write about squirrels. I
want everything without
which I cannot write.
This is terrible: I am not
in control, free; I am owned
by the things I think I need,
including this poem.
I want everything. Everything.
All of it.

The Last Exit
Beyond the last exit, I hike
the rise to the west, and witness
the old growth, new cuts, the blight
that ripened the trees for the chain saws
wielded by those dealing in lumber. Hug
a tree? Nope. Not these guys: money
maybe, but not old-growth forests.
But suddenly a storm comes up,
bringing their work to a halt, and the mud
starts its run down the hillsides, sweeping
away everything and everyone in its path:
there are no trees left to stop it. And now
all of it—clear-cutting, mudslides, even
the storm—is over. At sunset,
the sky crimsons out, the clouds carry
orange, pink, even gray: the leftovers
of a western storm. Awareness courses
through what is left us,
slow and certain as death, slow and
certain as death. Slow, slow and certain.
This is the last, the final exit.

Christopher Kuhl earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and one in music composition, as well as two masters of music degrees and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts. He taught English at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He enjoys reading a wide array of literature, as well as philosophy and history. His other interests include studying higher mathematics and classical Greek and Hebrew, as well as drawing and painting with acrylics. He is never bored.