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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 5: I am (not) the Cosmos

Jeff Gundy

Jeff Gundy
Carefully Selected Quotations with Minimal Commentary
But we will learn, she insisted. There are delights, impediments,
and chairs. Who are we? Von Ranke would laugh when he discovered
a false narrative. How was your academic pedigree formed?
What do you mean, love the Lord with your mind? Power
& hierarchy & all those isms, really big solar panels, identity silos,
third way thinking: a circle? a rectangle? The cradle-to-prison
pipeline? Trust, compassion, stability. Hope? Guilt? Even soldiers
spend most of their time not killing each other. I ask students
to write reviews of the bad books we’re reading instead
of the good one I am entirely capable of writing, someday.
As we seek the Light let us not forget the unreasonable efficacy
of mathematics, issues of emergence and reductionism,
echoes and glints of the multiverse. In my negative remaining
minutes, please imagine that I spoke of God in nature,
eloquently and at some length. But next, the task of reconsidering
our beliefs, the problems of leaving stuff out and of a certain
self-righteous subjectivity. Yet God has time, and so we also
have time. Let us resist the notion that we are autonomous entities.
Could it be, that the world once was aflame with fate? A hundred
thousand killed as witches, and yet we still have no reliable studies
of levitation or the flying friar Joseph. We must be tender as we
approach these sources. Nie wieder Krieg. Down with competition,
up with synergy. Don’t be boring. Don’t be bigoted. Be absolutely
dogmatic. God asks: How will you name the world?
Jeff Gundy’s sixth book of poems is Somewhere Near Defiance (Anhinga, 2014), and his fourth prose book, Songs from an Empty Cage: Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism, and Peace, came out in 2013 from Cascadia. Recent poems and essays are in Georgia Review, The Sun, Image, Nimrod, Salzburg Poetry Review, and Christian Century. He will be spending the spring semester teaching at LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania on a sabbatical from Bluffton University.


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