I talk you talk we'll talk


January 2018




My father used to swim the sound

I don’t know what that means, the sound

Since if ever I had seen it

I was two

But he swam it, and I guess

That was a distance

Puget Sound

He was the only engineer not to work

At Boeing

He chose the aluminum company instead

That sent him to Pittsburgh finally

Where the children finished growing up

That was fine

I like Pittsburgh


Anyway, to Puget Sound

And boats and ships and sails and I’m

Sure great engines

A life outside

I’ve had some of that, though

I did not wear an open shirt and a

Fedora on my head (yes, like Indiana Jones), stood

By the campfire, near which

Strings of fish were bound to sticks

And lines

Close by all the gear and even some guns

For pheasants and frankly

For rattlesnakes

These are the photographs and

The stories


How was he formed

And what did he leave?

And why do I have Northwest

Roots I do not know


At two, I picked blueberries for my


A memory I fight for

To conjure

To keep


C L Couch





Atlantis at night must be beautiful:

Lights once-Greek quietly

Illuminate the shores and other surfaces

And textures

Gold outside, silver-lit within;

We make it up, naturally,

Because we need to


We want to wake up tomorrow on

An unknown shore that has

The best of what we are.


C L Couch





Today we need to save the world

Because we don’t know how

We sit in the dark, a fine day for crucifixion

We betray all elements

In chosen ignorance of how to fix things


Not to those who know better

Who have the technicalities

Each of us in normalcy must choose

To save the world

Our own heroes in a comic book

And like those stories,


Our local universe is at stake


C L Couch


My Own Sabbath

My Own Sabbath


I want to capture something

Something of this padded moment

Sunlight is muffled, outside movements, too

Warm coffee in the cup, mottled by cream

I am tired, not having slept, yet have

Numbered hours without expectation

Except of myself

My own sabbath day

Tomorrow is the Lord’s

Don’t worry, I’m aware of presence


C L Couch


Dawn on a Winter Morning

Dawn on a Winter Morning

(Christopher David Hill)


A US Marshal died

Serving a warrant to a woman

And a man there started


He is dead, too

More in number wounded


The marshal

I don’t know him

But he was on the law’s side, and


That makes a difference


He was on the law’s side

That always makes a difference


I’m sorry he’s gone,

Sorrier, frankly, than for the one who

Shot first

Sorry if that makes me a frozen


If I were at the shooter’s funeral, I might grieve

But for now


I’m with the marshal

Anyone with him

Related, co-working,

Or close

In other ways

The mayor, the governor

Make statements


Other politicians


And might we all stop for a while

To let the weight of this

Drag on us for a while


C L Couch


Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream


Our DACA children

Not their fault

They are busy being children

That is their job

It’s our fault

It’s the fault of Congress

The fault of ICE for

Their current directive

It’s the fault of parents, even though

They are being parents, doing

What parents do

Bear children

And rear them

Why can’t the children stay

And what must split the family

Small, complete citizens have


The same as you or I

Immigrants all

Except for maybe woolly mammoths


What is there

To catch someone at—parents

For having children


Was that a stratagem, maybe

For some

Is that enough for cynicism

A rationale for trading

On children

They are the future, yes

More importantly, they are the


They are today

And we are judged

Judging them


Dreamers allow children America


C L Couch

God of all,

We struggle to welcome those we don’t know to join our communities.
Please guide our actions so we may be a reflection of your love.

We struggle to find common ground with those who are from different places and have different customs.
Please guide our words so we speak with charity and hospitality.

We struggle to remember our own times of transition and uncertainty.
Please send your Holy Spirit to challenge our assumptions.

May we continue to seek new ways to find you in our lives.
May we Share the Journey with one another, every day. We ask all this in your holy name, through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Back from There Again

after heart surgery


Back from There Again


I’ve been there before

Ten years and then five

I will return because

I have to—heart devices have

Shelf life




Teams of nurses, more medicos, the


I have seen since the beginning

A new machine this time

Each time smaller,

More refined

With cybernetic features

I am maybe the

Sixty-thousand dollar man

Thanks to Medicare

Saint Jude Institute


I am sore

Of course, I am

I was just cut into

Efficiently and in a civil way

No one hurried, yet

They were done with me in time for


Enjoyed with my sister

At a nearby place


I won’t be lifting, won’t be reaching

For a while

But I can express relief


First on the inside

Then start writing notes


C L Couch


heart mended

Cliparts and extras for teachers, students, and parents by teachers and designers!


Personal Apocalypse

Personal Apocalypse


It’s only you and me, now

Everyone else is in abeyance

Prayers on deck or

Already in the waiting



I should have an attitude

That lifts a heavy spirit

But what can I say

I fear the things so much bigger than me

And the loss of consciousness that

Certain operations bring


I will awake no doubt

To start the stanching where

I’ve been newly opened

There will be other healing, too

And slow life ‘til



But while it’s only you and me, might

I ask for some return

Of grace:

Better days

Better hours

Coffee and morning, crackers and

Cola later in the day

And something to heat for


Cool water for the pills


Water for the spirit, the

Kind you walk me


According to an ancient promise


C L Couch


Muslims Forgive

Muslims Forgive


In case we forgot or never

Thought we heard,

Care for neighbors and

Forgiveness are Quranic


In Arkansas, this is understood and

Filed when

The mosque

Was marred with unholy relics,

And someone was caught


The church

That means community

The mosque, the people there


And helped the man with

Criminal and legal


Lifting the weight of



And are there the violent who

Claim Islam

And Christian terrorists are

Part of the story and

Our practice, too


Which is to say

Many get it wrong

Yet the Muslims of Fort Smith

Had it right

And all is testimony now

Maybe in your story,


You know this happens


C L Couch

Muslims in Arkansas have paid a $1,700 fine to keep a vandal who defaced their mosque with a swastika out of jail.

“It shouldn’t be hanging over him for the rest of his life,” president of the Fort Smith Al Salam mosque, Louay Nassri, told




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