I talk you talk we'll talk


April 2018




It’s Sunday, and I’m tired

Somewhere the Gospel’s being read

And someone’s teaching from it

Good words, I’d like to think

I am here and writing differently about

A story that won’t be read in church

Not to sour-grape it

I don’t mind the anonymity

My story’s sad and uninspiring, unless

One needs to hear about

A mundane struggle, mostly secular

The seeking of good news inside one’s head

Though it’s not there

Not in the neighbor’s heart, either

It’s in the book

It’s in the neighbor’s heart

It’s in my head

(My heart, too)

But I have to hear

With two sets of ears that hear

In case the first set’s not so functional

(If you didn’t know, the deaf tend

To hear better)


Until something is opened

Nothing is going to happen

That’s the capacity that’s missing

And the action


They are there

It’s simple access, really

Like most things, altruism, sympathy,

Or sacrifice,

It’s made

It happens

With a choice

And on a tired day

When Sunday best is not enough

(It rarely is)

When the soul is split between awakening

Or remain embraced within the monolith


Half-shut is still half-open

And sides are being called for

Final play


Choose this day

Choose, this day


C L Couch



gospel choir

image courtesy of Charlotte Zoller


Premature Burial

Premature Burial



To end life before its ending

To box up everything we were

Tie it off, put it away

Other things we

Stack in front

Accumulated memory

Acquisition of scar tissue


Threatening open sensations go


When we were young


Nostalgia doesn’t kill, though

It hurts

It has to

Though we have days




I can’t count your seconds

Though maybe leaving some

Uncounted has merit

Leaving open

Room to grow


C L Couch




(good page to read)





It’s math, you know

Yellow on blue and green

Make joy

Black and white equals


All the colors are from God,

And they are gifts

That harmonize

The promise of a rainbow

The sign of Noah

A pledge not to

Destroy but leave things

To build


C L Couch



tree rainbow Africa





I don’t know what I’m doing

I know I often act misdirected

But where is the magic

The spotlight that tells me

I’m in the right place

And on the good way?


Came out of nowhere

I just heard that phrase used to

Sell something

A cliché, but it’s poetic


Out of nowhere, ex nihilo


But isn’t that how you create?

Out of nothing appears


To set new flesh upon a wound or

Fill a gulley in the desert with

Water unheard-of in the



Out of nothing I was made

The spark in emptiness that fused

A spirit to new cells,

And I am here

Though you’ve always been here


And I can’t say I understand that

How you are in the charges

Of my neurons

And the pulses of my heart

And over Earth

And through the universe of chances


Although I still feel useless

And pathless

For the Gethsemani contemplative

It was enough to know

Random instincts somehow speak to



That isn’t me

I’m not so smart

Or self-sufficient



He wasn’t, either

We both want to know

And what do we find out?

We wander an agnostic landscape

Step toward uncertainty

An answer in a


And for the next,



Will that do?

For us, it has to

And bold enough, if cautious

To go beyond the mortal shell

To tread in a fossil sea

To take a walk on Mars


C L Couch



Mars by Curiosity


Philemon’s Pitcher

Philemon’s Pitcher


I wished for more

I prayed for miracle

A job, a home


A car to get me there and

Back again

For clothes that set and

Looked good

Well, good enough

Food that might hold me

And I might enjoy


And what happened

With these petitions I don’t


But I think when at I’m the gate or

Once inside

I might be told:


Did you not notice the extra

Potato in the bag

The extra gasoline already in the tank

The fifteen minutes more

Than should not have been available

The one who held the door and

Was never seen again?


The miracles of stories must be large,

I guess

Miracles as molecules

Go uncounted


And those in between

Not for the book but nonetheless

The provenance of angels who

Entertained us unaware


C L Couch

ancient pitcher


blank page

blank page


don’t look at me that way

I can’t help it if

there’s nothing there

I try, you know

and it isn’t easy

you don’t know, do you

why don’t you try it


okay, here



remember the old riddle

birds tracking feet

across a page

meant a gospel record

had been written

good news

to tell

the Gospel and the fact of

a book


and then there was the writer

chaining herself to

a desk neavy

an alarm clock

I don’t recall how it worked


but it got her writing

which was

maybe only in the novel

I was reading


Martha Grimes


and was this aspect


or the story of a peer


we now have machines

to guarantee a process

the monkeys

who typed out War and Peace

have been replaced

now a feminized voice

might do this for us

if we ask aright

or else we might get electron laughter


so now there’s something

and I’m thankful

now your turn


c l couch


(c.f. The Horse You Came In On by Martha Grimes


Alexa’s ‘evil laugh’ is freaking people out | The Sacramento Bee)


blank page


The Wild (companion to “Way”)

The Wild

(companion to “Way”)


Maybe we can find another way

That no one’s taken

It’s a big world, after all

And we are small upon it

A road not ever taken

Not even a road

But what we make

Not an Appian macadam through an empire

Or cord wood laid down by artisan French

To consecrate

The king’s highway


Rude trail, if any

For others to press with

Greater permanence

Should they pass this way

On the track we have christened

Before nature grows it over


C L Couch



overgrown path

Overgrown Pathway Looking east across Banky Meadows.

david newton





if we don’t care when we get there

detours can be interesting

we might not know exactly where we’re going


and so find ourselves in something


and it’s not a jungle


we’re still on roads or, if walking, on paths

we’ll still see houses, trees marching

to greet us

maybe around the bend, we’d like to find

a castle in a wild place

a dragon perched atop, looking to tilt

fang against spar not for life but for

local reputation,

bragging rights at the public house


the thing about the road less traveled

is that others have traveled it

we can go it alone

singing Sinatra like a mantra


but everything’s been trod, everything’s a trail

explored many times by pilgrims

owning a variety of causes

we go to see what has befallen

to know what has been


in new combinations


and in company

I believe

Is best


C L Couch



path in Taiwan

Taiping Mountain Path in Taiwan

Image credit: Justin Jones


three poems about light

three poems about light

by C L Couch



The Light We Make


White lights

Illuminate too much

I don’t like them

In headlights or in overhead neon,


Where is the dawn

That softly cascades on all

Things below

If it’s an emergency,

That’s one thing

But for day-to-day, why

Can’t we have gold

Freely delivered from

Heaven’s treasure

Or more homely manufacturing?


Better the dawn, I think,

For inspiration

A glimpse of visioning like


A reason at the start of day




Galadriel Comes to Rivendell

(a Middle-Earth lyric)


In a penultimate age

Galadriel comes to Rivendell

To toast with Elrond

A Elbereth Gilthoniel

Whom shell they be meeting soon

On the first shore

Of unending

Once upon a timeless time

And everlasting


Well done, the half-elf declares

I knew you were hiding by

The gate

Hidden by my host, she corrects

They would not bear

To evidence my presence

So far from the

Golden wood of home

Where, alas, Celeborn remains


But ready, comes the declaration

From the host, back to the

Final battle,

Always ready, and she smiles


All our allies had not yet


I would have gone to them


You would have commended

Or commanded all of us there,

I wonder


I would not have said a



The authority of your magic

Is the message

In elvish silence


Even better, I think?

She sipped


And so they talked, old friends

As much as majesty and crusade allow

While the night inside faded

Outside a new day already


That would no longer know them

Might they leave


Yet a hint of Hollin

Goodness might remain

Where they once passed


[all the rest is benediction and epilogue]


So their time

Our time

An age between

Rises at dawn

Under a yellow, mortal sun

No longer blessed

By characters

And presence


A benediction before

They leave

All doors open wide

To welcome gratitude

Or rudeness

Mortals’ choice


An eagle’s blessing

Then all the keepers of blue flame

And light we cannot bear

Are gone






The lights of heaven

Are too much for me

I cannot manage

Pure light that has other



I need light gobos through wisping clouds

And trees,

Dressed in motley by

All earthly forms and shadows


In the shade

Is fine for me

Though not in formless dark,



Readiness for paradise

Means new lenses, I suppose

Like focusing kaleidoscopes

Or tracing light through prisms

I will adjust

Or be adjusted

By perfect agencies



Who see all clear

For ages, now

So will you

So will I






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