I talk you talk we'll talk


February 2019

in the neighborhood

in the neighborhood


in the neighborhood of make-believe

it’s always a beautiful day

blue, sunlit (spotlit), houses even

trolley rolls making celestina music

it could not be otherwise, since

it’s make-believe, and we would imagine

only ever placid scenes, i guess


the studio was in pittsburgh, home of

contrary weather, snow, ice, deep

temperatures cold or hot

and much is changeable throughout

the day, though i don’t think this means



after all,

we make this up

for and by our host, the

peaceful man


i might wish for different days,

something cloudy for a change

maybe an unobtrusive rainfall or the

kind of snow just right for angels and

snowpeople or the kind of hot that takes

us joyfully to swimming pools

or inside icecream shops


this would make my make-believe, i guess

different skies for different days

without destruction caused

by anything, and that


would be made-up, indeed

eschewing tempests of reality

taking only friendly patterned skies with us to

meet the king of superstitious days


c l couch



TARS631, Attribution,

Linie 43, Wien





I wake up and no one’s


The noises of the house remain

My sister’s probably in her office

On a conference call

My brother-in-law in the master

Bedroom getting ready

What a brief time it takes

To get used to company

It all feels strangely empty

The house without its people

I have entered from another place

Where loneliness is normal

But I have changed

In such a short time

I’ve picked up sibling silence

And placed it in my pocket


C L Couch



Photo by JAYAKODY ANTHANAS on Unsplash


Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages


I like to sit in motion

Testing those first laws, I guess

Maybe I look daft

I need a rocker

I like a rocking chair

Why must it be

A symbol of old age

And life that’s done

As if there will be no more


Grandma in her rocker

We keep them in a corner

Far from our lines of energy

Grandpa gets quieter and quieter

Should someone check on him


And what goes on inside the brain

Of she or he who moves in tilts

Against a creeping stillness

That finally takes over


Oh, there’s so much more

Don’t doubt it

Don’t let the lethargy

Of cooking and counting

Take you over

Go to the chair

Slide another to it

Join in the conversation

And all that gifts bestow

That will not open without you


C L Couch



By George W. Ackerman – The Progressive Farmer, Public Domain,


Doan’s Pills

Doan’s Pills


I don’t know if it’s the mattress in

My sister’s house

Or when I fall asleep upon the sofa

While I watch the dog,

But my back hurts

Simple as that


There was a commercial once

For something that should help

According to itself

I used to see it at the store


Along with Smith Brothers Cough Drops

The guys on the box, who had

Long beards

Where packages of Red Hots were also


And bars of Bonomo Turkish Taffy

That had a jingle on TV


Goodness, wasn’t Rexall

A haven for good living!


C L Couch


Prime Meridian

Prime Meridian


I doubt we think of

Fighting dragons all that much

If at all

We know a story

Maybe one or two retellings


Saint George


Or the dragon who slew Beowulf

Most of these from the west

(as someone has determined)

In the east

The east of east

The dragon is a force as likely

To ally itself

With virtue

And to embody the divine


Then there are those between

Those who’d just as soon have peace

To sleep in every now and then

And enjoy late breakfast


Who might take an adventure

On, because a spark of virtue

Has ignited


Travel somewhere farther out

Not for treasure but for

Keeping all the neighbors

And the neighborhood intact

And then


There is the confrontation

And because the sword is rusty

With the faith in fighting

Our hero

Turns to listening

And hears more than the

Dragon’s name

Hears its complaints


Beneath the bluster

It is a creature

With a need

It wants to escape the stories

And the derring-do

It has treasure enough

With a collection of knight’s armor

It can’t wear


The hero, then, steps forward

Not to raise the sword

That molders in a

Rotted sheath borrowed from

A museum

Not to speak a loaned-out



But instead to utter

Through the fear of one so grand

And sharp with many razor-points

A greeting that sounds

Civil, if vibrated


There’s a wet tear

The first one steaming


Tears from both combatants

They make a friendship flame

To camp

Tea for drink and

Moistening dry food

They talk into the night


The town has two heroes, then

One of them will last for ages

The other return

To sunlit life

Late breakfast in

The back garden


C L Couch



By Allie_Caulfield from Germany – 2012-10-10 10-13 Berlin 313 Pergamon Museum, Ischtar Tor, DetailUploaded by FunkMonk, CC BY 2.0,

The mušḫuššu is a serpentine, dragon-like monster from ancient Mesopotamian mythology with the body and neck of a snake, the forelegs of a lion, and the hind-legs of a bird.[18] Here it is shown as it appears in the Ishtar Gate from the city of Babylon.[18]

[18] Black, Jeremy; Green, Anthony (1992), Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, The British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-1705-6


The Cypress Trees out Back

The Cypress Trees out Back


They stand tall and spare

Branches at the top all by themselves

Like leafy crowns

Bearing the responsibility without

The retinue,

Royal reinforcements


The tree that was squat and enormous

Is gone

Blown apart by wind and rain

And all weather-fury


Tell me how the slender cypress

Still rise from the earth

When the broader, low-to-ground

Was taken

I don’t know, but I think

Maybe the taller trees were

Much, much better at bending

Without breaking


C L Couch



Kevmin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A branch of fossilized Glyptostrobus species needles. Eocene, 49.5 myo; Klondike Mountain Formation, Republic, Washington, USA. Stonerose Interpretive Center specimen # [sic]


Look at It Another Way

Look at It Another Way


I’m thinking of a cave

Yes, there could be crystal there


And, yes, I suppose there could be

A wizard there

How about two wizards

She can wield the power from

The spells he formulates

Realizing brand-new combinations of

The elements that otherwise

Might have kept on sleeping

In the deeps of earth and time


A retelling

A fantasy

But as with everything in all dimensions

It could happen


C L Couch



Crystal Ice Cave

California (USA)

Jesse Barden (photographer)


Therapy Human

Therapy Human

(fable with a person in the part)


The people she is speaking with

Think that it’s a hoot

And knife-like insight:


My brother-in-law helps my sister

When they’re on an airplane

Because my sister hates to fly


He gets to know the people

Sitting nearby

He’s excellent at striking up conversations

Works at exchanging seats,

When necessary


At the airport, she

Refers to him as “my therapy human”

Since therapy animals are in vogue


But we can do this for each other,

And it’s good to say so


C L Couch



By Liabilly Wildflower – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Allee is a Labrador who acts as an assistance dog for someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.




(Old Poodle)


I have Old Poodle still

He’s here

And at the moment he is resting

He often lets me turn him like

A ragdoll

Like an organism without bones

Not even wire


He’s cheerful

Likes to nip my hand when I give him


Will go outside happily enough

And with more gusto return

His eyes are dark and shiny circles

As they should be

Mister Stephen from Hard Times

Might be impressed


Every now and then however

He looks a little lost

Not as if he doesn’t know where he is

But rather that someone else

Should be here


At least something that was intrusive in

His universe is missing

And the lack of energy and mass

Is disorienting

It’s Old Dachshund

Who died some months ago


C L Couch



Public Domain (no image creator credited)


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