The Works of JR Gilness

JR Gilness is a writer and former teacher who has most recently been living between Alaska, California, and his native terrain in northeastern Minnesota. He has written articles for local newspapers and plans to eventually publish both fiction collections and non-fiction academic works. His themes usually involve religion, philosophy, sociopolitical controversy, nature and science, and individualism. He holds a BA in Creative Writing and International Business, an MA in Teaching ESL from St. Cloud State University, and intends to pursue a doctorate in the near future.


All Poems © JR Gilness

I am Sleeping with God Tonight


I do not dread the passing hours

I do not worry tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

I do not suffer what I don't have

I do not feel lonely

I do not fret for nightmares

In solitude

I am sleeping with god tonight


I shall pass the hours of slumber

As if in meditative bliss

As if a child returning to primal state

As if the fetus, embryo, zygote who doesn't dwell on sense perceptions

There, now, forever, eternally

With brahman, as brahman

As one in solitude

In solitude

As one

I am sleeping with god tonight


Tomorrow I shall be reborn

Tonight I shed all troubles

In between I shall not be aware


I am sleeping with god tonight



Why I Stay Alive

(a tribute to the sanātana dharma)


1. Kham Brahm


Should the claustrophobic strain

inflict terror and anxiety,

remember you, which pulls me through

to triumph on despondency.


When you're components of my make,

I've rediscovered in the end:

in solace I'm a part of you

which others cannot comprehend.


You are the only thing that is,

as all is all I hope to be:

a primal pulse, diffusive this

in vibrant choreography.


You're prana flowing in my spine,

inventive vital energy

that drives me through the course I chart

to move to you as destiny.


I celebrate our link

to merge beyond the sun:

In union manifesting

out of many out of one.


That's why I stay alive,

if that is all I do.

That's why I stay alive:

I stay alive for you.


2. Bhakti


It matters that I care enough,

I choose with noblest intent.

I find my dedicated peace

in honoring without relent.


Beyond emotion is a love

devoted to external cause.

Dissolved in you, complete and great,

the sense of ego thus withdraws.


As passion motivates

as far as one can strive

to wonder and to seek

that's why I stay alive.


3. Karma


The role I play integral to

the universe developing:

immersed in deed, I offer you

the actions I'm accomplishing.


That man but for to live, he lives—

and have no reason more than he—

is lacking wisdom to exist,

for thou art reason thus to be.


With all the world to change

inspired by this drive

to reach a goal of you

that's why I stay alive.


4. Jnana


Beyond a name, beyond a form,

our mortal wits cannot believe

what senses cannot sense,

what thoughts cannot conceive:


The joy of perfect unity

to know that by which all is known,

you manifest in cosmic dance

I see through you as all is shown.


As I am part of you

from whence I did derive

and you are all of me

that's why I stay alive.


5. Raja


To move beyond to simply be—

become that comprehensive bliss,

the sense perceptions fade and yield:

definitively nothingness.


Concordant balance clarifies

the many manifold in one,

and settles to the purity

of karma to oblivion.


To stop and meditate

upon you I arrive

for what transcends is true

that's why I stay alive.


6. Dharma


Yet all attributes here

fall short of bare deception,

that rightful words still fail at truth

by flaws of sense perception.


Beyond what I personify:

the absolute reality,

the substance, force, and source of all,

salvation from duality.


To lose attachment to this life:

a perfect reason to survive.

This is the course the cosmos takes.

This is why I stay alive.


With all the verve to effort through,

lord knows that I have work to do,

and that is why I stay alive.

I stay alive for you.