I talk you talk we'll talk


August 2019

Still Life by the Window

Still Life by the Window


The light comes through just right

And when it doesn’t go that way

I have the chance to

See it all tomorrow

Next to the air-conditioner lines

There is a work lamp

Good for reading under

There are eucalyptus branches in a jar

Actually, these vibrate

Challenging the lesson of still life


There are candles on a stool

A phone resting in its cradle

A coaster that’s a tile, promoting

Science in Puerto Rico

There are matches in a glass

Some English candy in an (English) tin

A pinecone


An ancient folding chair is folded

Next to these

(ten dollars from a store that whose

stock was old things)

Next to the jar, some crayons in a cup

Reminding me of color in the head

And in the world

No braces of birds or fruit cut in half

No mirror framed in gold

Or furniture I’d find in a museum



This is my exhibition

Of my time

The early twenty-first century

By now, many were expecting

Keys to hovercrafts next

To gloves for flying jetpacks

For now, the guy who few in Lost in Space

Will have to do

We’ll catch up by leaping forward


I have a corner

And in yours


C L Couch



Still Life with Grapes, Peaches and Snail, signed by A. Ruysch and dated 1685

Anna Rausch –, Public Domain,


Tentatively Yours

Tentatively Yours


If we are to heal,

There has to be a hope

That someday it will be complete

That all the things that festered

Will have finally unwound

From the brain, the heart

Any infected organs

That persistence of pain will

Be replaced

With something like assurance in

Confidence of being well

That the counting that has met

Each day

Now useless

Will give way

To errands, nothing much

A nothing kind of day

Wouldn’t that be nice

Wouldn’t that be lovely

To have a day that’s dulled by

Anything but pain

Not to be morose

For what I have

I’ll still wrap around mortality

Until the glorious surprise

Of the next thing


C L Couch



Photo by Michael Anfang on Unsplash


Bendiciónes Pequeñas

Bendiciónes Pequeñas

(inspired by and with permission from Cathy Birdsong Dutchak at


To be brought a small bowl

Of peanuts

Cacahuates—do I recall that rightly?

In a courtyard of an albergue

To accompany the glass of wine I’ve ordered

In the north of Spain

Somewhere along the pilgrim trail

On the other side of Spain, Hemingway might be


With or without companions

I hope with

He could have done with more company than

Cats (apologies to the six-toe-to-a-paw friends who

still retain his houses in the Keys,

on Cuba)


I’m not sure I could take the path

Maybe for a while

But I could sit there inside a breeze

Of northern Spain

Contemplate the pilgrimage

The pilgrims of all kinds


Have a sip

Reach for the bowl

Taste and see


C L Couch



(on the pilgrim trail to Campostela)

Option to Valverde de la Virgen (3.4 km)

Each day on the Camino, you don’t know what you’ll encounter as you walk in the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims. Sometimes you find pleasant surprises such as the oasis of my albergue, La Casa del Camino: Albergue de Peregrinos.

Though it sits along a busy road, it was a beautiful spot with couches and comfy chairs, lounge chairs, hammocks, and beds on the lawn for lounging.   There were areas under canopies and umbrellas and a line of square foot baths, and the most welcoming owners you could ever meet. When I arrived, they presented me with a glass of cold fresh orange juice as they checked me in.

Bowls of apples sat on tables, flower boxes and hanging baskets dotted the space around an above-ground swimming pool (with no water), gardens bloomed, and Buddhas reclined and sat, looking serene.

I sat outside having a glass of wine and one of the owners brought me a small bowl of peanuts.

When I have happened upon places such as these, I felt so joyful and grateful for the peaceful and refreshing surroundings.

This place rates up with a number of top albergues along the Camino.  There are fair shares of bad and mediocre ones.

(my emphasis)


Photo by Les routes sans fin(s) on Unsplash

Camino de Santiago, Spain

Perspectives on hills, pilgrims on the way. /// Le sommet d’une colline dévoile parfois une perspective hors du temps.




(Genesis 49:21)


We say grace

As an association with blessing

Bless our food, bless us

As we eat it

And as we use the nourishment

Singly and together


I was asked (selected) to

Share grace at family camp

Deer Valley, Pennsylvania

I wanted to say something grown-up

Over the microphone

But was told to say the childish

One we learned to say at dinner time

I was a child

So it was okay


Now I can’t recall which prayer

It was

Wait, here it is


Thank you for the world so sweet

Thank you for the food we eat

Thank you for the birds that sing

Thank you, God, for everything!

(a sibling can correct me)


What is the source for a proper


I don’t know; I don’t think I want to know

The source is childhood

And grace in remembering


C L Couch



Photo by Yangfan Gan on Unsplash


Pity the Party

Pity the Party


Wow, pain is such a disconnect

Like depression

That I also take a pill for

What is there to care for?

What do I care about?

Who cares for me?

I have accoutrements

A blanket ‘round my shoulders

While I’m cold

Toast (the start of a loaf)

Some grapes (the last of them)

I gave up coffee and caffeine

As if it were my own form of Lent

Though I can’t recall

A decision for

The sake of my soul


Pills have side effects

These press down, too

I am surrounded

The best thing that I have

Are movies

But I’d rather be the artisan

Than the spectator

So sit up to write

A little more


I’d rather make

Than borrow off

Another’s making

I mean, there’s allusion

Citation when it’s proper

Or otherwise might render

A source beyond reach

If not belief

Or to leave it all, hoping for

Belief in the beholder


Well, some system

Is protesting

The strain of illness

Or the medication

Most of this I doubt I’ll leave

Though there might be something

I can’t see or hear

That someone else

Much better at beholding will


Do I pray?

I do and hope for more

But I haven’t a perspective

The thermostat is broken

Someone else must regulate

What happens next,

Which is what I think

The praying’s for


C L Couch



Image by ImageParty from Pixabay


Waiting the Hour

Waiting the Hour


I used to swim a lot

Back and forth across the pool

Down to the bottom, where

There was clarity up-close

I learned the different strokes

And what was then


I’m unsure how that’s changed,

What’s preferred about

Administering the kiss of life

And such

Eventually, I would tire

But there was such a store

To keep me going then

To bring me back next day

Heat in the air, cold water

The extremes were not the issues

I’m only sick

I will recover,

Which means I’m overdoing


When I’m better I’ll, you know,

Test the waters


C L Couch



Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

Calle de San Andrés, Golf del Sur, Spain


Blessed Insurance [and a note below]

Blessed Insurance

(for anyone on Sunday morning)


I sing this while

My world falls apart

My older child might run away

My job is on the line


The car needs so much work

I haven’t seen or felt

My partner smile, really smile

In a while


I don’t want to know

The balances

I can’t think about what happens next

Can’t think about what else


The church organ might be better

Suited at a ball park

The pastor tries to sing along

I think I see the words on the page


There is no harm in singing, too

I guess

Who hears, who cares

I know it isn’t that bad


C L Couch



Image by PhotoGrafix from Pixabay



note on me

I’m not in the hospital anymore.  I’ve been diagnosed with infections and am taking an antibiotic.  I still feel lousy.  Maybe less?  It’s hard to tell.  Thank you for your prayers!  They are potent.


Origami Transportation

Origami Transportation


How close am I to

Earth when

Help would push me

To the sky

And pain still wishes to

Pull me to the ground?

I guess I speak of

Medicine and illness

And the rips, the tears they make

Ideally with coordination

(patch over wound)

But with parts of the heart

Still pouring over into

Nets of capillaries



What can artificiality construct

(what can making make)

To that will mend with

Flesh parts that have

Been hung for years

Red, brown, freckled, white

Flesh like bird-feathers, birds

Waiting on a branch to fly

Once the banding’s done?


Fly so well, then?

Metal and claw, we have to hope

Human mends

Steel and plastic

Cotton, nylon fiber

Chemicals repurposed from

Repose inside the Earth

Give it all a chance


The gently shackled bird

The patient with medicines

In binding


C L Couch



Photo by Nikoline Arns on Unsplash






Getting sick

Trying not to

No, what is it

Trying to get well


Two infections

And did they damage my heart?

Became the overarching question

So a string of tests

Withholding diagnosis in the mean time

Withholding treatment, too

The pain was high

Still is

Less lousy, I can say


C L Couch


Image by 이정임 lee from Pixabay


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