I talk you talk we'll talk


June 2018

Try to Be Still

Try to Be Still


Try to be still,

Try to be still

To hear the small voice;


That would be fine

Or maybe not to hear anything

For a while,


To nestle in the darkness of

The mind

To listen for the voice before the voice:


The whispering commands

That the angel receives,


The assignment

From God’s ear to mine


C L Couch


Near-Dead Reckoning

Near-Dead Reckoning


If I had children

To rear (that used to be the proper

Word), I’ve little doubt

I’d treasure some time apart, now

And then

There’s a story of the mother of my



She was going to walk

Around the hundred-acre wood

Her son asked to go

And she said no

But when I return

Welcome me

As if I had been gone far

Away for a long time


Nowadays what guilt the mom or dad

Must feel to know

That children are taken from their

Parents with no returning



The parents now are criminals, they’ll say

Trying to enter by

Liberty’s calling


The children are caged, too


Everyone is guilty, by the way

Not one of us gets off

Unless we’re trying


God will accept a prayer

To bring entire families

Along with sanity

To what has been happening


My father’s people were

Here to tie

Up the ships of all the rest

My mother’s people, there’s a problem

Only a few generations here

So I’ll

Have to take my chances


Warming up to say

That without family

Without the value placed

Up on the shelf in pride of place


That what have we of home

A nation of all promises

Is dust collecting

In an empty place


I don’t have all the answers

I don’t know all the rest

But I think impracticality also

Becomes illicit

When we break the bond

That promises compound reckoning

The nuclei destroyed

Hostility left to orbit like

Errant electrons



And sing-songy

Yes, I know


But there it is, I’ll ‘fess up,

And if you’ve come this far

We can go farther


C L Couch (/jpg)




(believe it or not, for J K Rowling)


Suddenly the steam from

The coffee rises in an eldritch way

Because the cup is now a cauldron and

The liquid is the matter of a


Not the dangerous kind

The easy, adolescent kind that only

Causes sit-com harm,

The kind that must be resolved in

A half-hour

And hadn’t hurt that much, to begin with


But rain is coming on

Humidity is high

There is wind high in the trees

The branches dance to universal motion

And I wonder who

Casts such a summer day

As this


C L Couch


Border Talk

Border Talk


I don’t know what to say about

A family torn apart

I never had that feeling

Once I thought I’d lost part of my family in

A famous fire

I was hundreds of miles away

I cried for a day to find

It wasn’t true


C L Couch


Made Up

Made Up


It’s Sunday

Maybe I should think something


I’m two days behind the Jews

Only one day after

The Adventists

And for those who never keep a sabbath

Why miss out on

The rest


It’s inside-out

Or should be

Take the time to know the heart

Four chambers to walk through

A mind that is a ride

In a synapse car


None of this is religion

But there’s something about

Wonderfully made

That comes to mind, while

I’m on the synapse-ride

In a park with a

Neuron saucer


What would I configure

If I had to make up me


It’s been done with

Someone who has more

Art and skill than

I shall ever have


In fact, the one who

Made the ride to

Set me on this course


C L Couch





What if the world gathered

In small circles

As it gathers now

But the smaller circles valued

The way they’re not

Not now, given the searches for


For trending items that for now

Must matter more


What if we enjoy the ones

We really know

And see home places that are

Modest but loved as



Not exhaling compromise

But sing a celebration


Of what we have,

We are,

We are


Change to make it better

To hear a crying need

To know who’s next door because

That’s virtue and delight

In community

For all the ones who struggle

To have any


I don’t mean Americana

I mean Earth

All Americas

And every continent


As it were

As we are

At home


C L Couch







I want soft things

To be protected

May we do that


Give puppies homes

And kittens

Take care of children

Until they care for their own

And, who knows, maybe

Us older ones


This leads to causes, I know:

Feeding the hungry

Safe water for all

Shelter especially for the frightened

Though everyone needs a home

Sue for peace

When we don’t have to

Rather than rattling for war


And learning

So that all might know how to have

A world

As well as how to hold a job




Don’t forget clothing

It doesn’t make a man

A woman or a child

But it makes our bearing in

The world

Wearing a relationship

With custom


Work, play, gratitude, reflection of the



And might we support the artisans

Those who make not only

What we need but

Enliven wisdom, reflection, celebration

Of the materials

We find above or under


Inside water or through the air


I mean manufacturing, you know

Not simply things for beauty

Though why we cannot have both, I





If you think this is


If you think I am

Maybe you’re right

Curing disease was


We simply had to wait for God

Before we knew that God

Was waiting for us


C L Couch



Mystic Island Vol Fire Co Sta 72


The Secret

The Secret



I’m hunting wabbits

Quiet in the library, please

I’m on the phone

I’m trying to watch this

Did you hear that?


It’s a secret

You can’t tell

I’ll let you in

Don’t talk about it


To anyone


Does this sound good

Our own form of gnostic living

Here’s something for a few, well,

Pay your dues

We’ll let you in


We’ll let you in on it

And then you’ll know

You’ll know

Our secret



Words to say

Our relics to behold

And then


And then

Well, that’s it—what more

Do you want

You wanted in

You’re in


There’s got to be more

Well, yeah

We’ll keep in touch

And through our symbols

We’ll know one another and

Owe each other favors



Well, because now we know

What it means to carry on

In secret


C L Couch


The Formal Feeling

The Formal Feeling

(title from Emily Dickinson)


Catharsis after tragedy

The sad rush we feel, knowing

The experience is over, that we got it


That it will not happen to us

And by the way

The community depicted now is stronger

It’s after the terrible and blessed

Have both transpired

And watchers leave the scene

(we leave the theatre)

To go home, chastened and relieved

It wasn’t us

They got their due

Their nation will be better

Let’s go home


It’s not closure

(what is)

For a future ticket will bring it all to

Action, opportunity, and desire

For mortal flaws to seed

And then to flourish

And are these analogues for

Life outside

Well, for those who must

Who will not learn

By mastery of organs or

Of language

Who will not hear

And will not heed delaying paradise

So not to have it at all


C L Couch



image from a production of Hamlet, 1899


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