a place to talk so talk I'll talk we'll talk

Anna Mary Robertson

Anna Mary Robertson


I think of her often


She had cooked and cleaned

And run a farm and

Put up guests;

She sold the produce of her

Land and made

And sold potato chips

Of all things;


And in her seventies, she thought

She’d try to paint

Depicting life as it had come to


Someone who had a way

Espied her work in a place,

Thought it

Ready for

The nation—

It was:


To give it a name,

Call it simple, call it native, naïve,

Call it primitive.

She spoke through all the plains she painted,

And we listened.


Her last name was

And is


And she had the better part

Of all of us;

Like her namesake, she

Led in prophecy

And simple, mere

World-changing delight,

A commemoration and a celebration

Of what is

Colorful and real and



C L Couch


photo found at WikiArt



Ordinary Rituals

Ordinary Rituals


How I brush my teeth

And break my fast

How I dress and drive the car

I have these

I think you do, too


C L Couch

















C L Couch


Maybe I’m Not Human

Maybe I’m Not Human


Don’t listen to me

I am woman

What do I know


Please vote in place of me

Rule me in a democracy

Of one in which

I’m other


Am I human

Sometimes I must wonder

I should read up on this*


In the mean time,

I plot my course from


For, really,

How could I make my way without



Okay, now the nightmare’s over

I will make it so

Hear me howl across the ages into

Modern reckoning

I am here

I know

I love you

Now be with me

And let me be


*Dorothy Sayers was once asked in outrageous sincerity to pen an essay to the question “Are Women Human?”  She wrote, planting her tongue in her cheek and opening up her brilliant mind.  The title is eponymous of the question.  Please read the essay.  It’s good.


C L Couch




A knoll of pine trees

Tops too tall to see

A circle implied

Because there is a seat

At zero point


And snow falls:

Flakes congealed into comic blobs

That fall in quiet plops

On branches and,

When straighter, onto

The granite surface


The needly floor,

Covering a sleepy earthen

Solemn way to

Narnia or Middle Earth


No lamppost,

Elf, or orc, either, only a winter

Day on planetary sides

Where worlds meet


A place made up

And does exist

For I am here


C L Couch




[Compatibility Mode]


It beckons

To use a fashioned word;


I put all files to rest,

Because I was told that updates

Were required;


I let all sleep except the function, my

Initiative (the computer would

Not have started otherwise),


And then I went away to read a book (you

Know, pages to touch and stuff);


The machine is done with me for now—and,

Wouldn’t you know,

There is a blank page on the screen,

A first page,


As if the program were inviting me

To start again:

I didn’t mean anything by it;

It’s my protocol, you know.


Please start again.

I want you to, really.

I am bound by algorithms; you

Are bound

By turmoils I

Cannot compute.


C L Couch





I don’t know why that comes to mind except

That it is a game that can be won

And folk all around

Can take it fine



Satisfying quantities of asphalt, chalk, and

Small stones

Congenial lines and arches

A game for friends

A game in which core competition

Is with the self

To jump and stay on balance


Dusty chalk

I miss it, maybe you do too

And games whose consequences tend toward


The garrulous courtesy of children (worth

the risk)

Unlike the fractured day in

A quarreling, gimbaled world

To which I’ve awakened


C L Couch




I know I’m old and stupid

Fell in love too much while I was young

And now rising is hard


To hope

To dream that what I believed

Was magic still

Might cast the spell


It might, you know

The color and the lines of love that

Make imagination and

Might make it real in time before

I resign


To what is dry and normal

Everything illustrative surrendered

To the age in mind of

Dust for aspiration

Of remembrance and renewal


Rather make for a

Place of once and future joy


C L Couch


Earth, Victim

Earth, Victim


It was reported in the ‘70s

That we had enough nukes to

Melt the crust off planet


And in 2016 campaigning in the USA

An uninformed remark

Was made: Why do we make nukes

If we don’t intend

To use them?


We’ve learned how to recycle

Trash and plastic

We can even scrub the skies

To good—




Against ages of waste and disposal

From age-old stability of the

Earth itself,

Our efforts are nascent


We have humanity in two minds:

One mind mutters, doesn’t matter; I’ll

Be rich and dead and gone

By then

The other mind considers the catastrophe

And asks what might I do

How might I repair

My tongue, my thought, my profit

So that

There’s an Earth-home

In which to have all good


Meanwhile the

Earth itself

Blows out hurricanes our

Way because

It’s losing breath

And also torrents of rain

Because it



Earth bleeds through the crust:

We can rise to help everything that’s wounded


We can fall

The way the planet’s falling




C L Couch

TYSON: There are people who have cultural, political, religious economic philosophies that they then invoke when they want to cherry pick one scientific result or another. You can find a scientific paper that says practically anything and the press, which I count you as part of, will sometimes find a single paper and say “Here’s a new truth.” But an emergent scientific truth, for it to become an objective truth, a truth that is true whether or not you believe in it, it requires more than one scientific paper. It requires a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences. That’s what we have with climate change as induced by human conduct. This is a known correspondence. If you want to find the 3 percent of the papers or the 1 percent of the papers that conflicted with this and build policy on that, that is simply irresponsible. How else do you establish a scientific truth if not by looking at the consensus of scientific experiments and scientific observations. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, signed into law in 1963–a year when he had important things to be thinking about–he signed into law the National Academy of Sciences. Because he knew that science mattered and should matter in governance.


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