I talk you talk we'll talk


January 2020

Reconciliation Easy

Reconciliation Easy


There is no war that’s worth it

We’ll be here

Because being here is good

Bring on your armageddon

We won’t be taking part


We have trees to plant

A desert to renew

So much to sweep

We’ll need new brooms

Attaching brushes to bazookas

Dust rags to rocket tips

You may lay your devices

Over there


We’ll need the fire for cooking

Many mouths to feed

In swift rotation

We have a world to recast

Keep your gauntlets out of this

We’re busy

We’ll get to

That part last

Though if they are used up

Expending all munitions

We’ll grow over the crater

As we should

As we must


We might have to be sad

But the heaven we can afford

That’s in our hands

Is waiting to be made

Impatient for joy


C L Couch



Photo by Jeff Ackley on Unsplash


Outside to Play

Outside to Play

(borne out of neighborly annoyance)


Well, it’s quiet now

I have a moment

Not at five-thirty when

Everyone above had to stir

And drop barbells when waking

Maybe the human’s gone

And the dog is dreaming

Of bigger places

Than the third floor

Grass just outside the door

Where rabbits might be

Chased but not be caught

So that there’s always fun

Dog fun

Rabbit fun


C L Couch



photo by troy williams on Unsplash

Pismo Beach, United States

tennis ball retriever


The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives


My best for years

Wasn’t nearly enough

I’m slouching toward Jerusalem

The holy city where the ages crash

Enough of sailing to Byzantium

That fell so long ago


With what is left

The modern age done years back

What does one call the next age

But the next age, as we have done?

No more girls in water

Sparking epiphanies (ironically through


No more women beating men

To vote to have

The rudiments of politics

And understanding

I think they should rule—the

Women, not the politics


New happens with each day

There’s always change

Those who say there’s not

Who want all angles to be retrograde

Know nothing of the physics,

The inevitability of slopes that go

The other way

And energy with them


Africa is where the church is growing

And south of South America

Parts of India and Asia, even though

(please, not because)

It’s beaten down

Atheism rises, and why not?

Though I think agnosticism steers

The ship of state

Searching for a port

It knows is there


I think formlessness might be

The way,

Since doctrine has been brutal

In its application

And a ruthless form of righteousness

Where is love,

The orphan asked

He sung

And she responded

It is all around you,

Though mortality can end it all

It appears, my dear


Therefore go for what is real

Hold on, though not so tightly

The goodness cannot breathe


C L Couch



(title from the movie directed by William Wyler

Yeats is also relied on at the beginning

a musical toward the ending)


Photo by Fazel on Unsplash

Mazandaran Province, Unnamed Road, Iran





If there is a God

And sorry if there’s not

(there is—

there, you have the ending

of the story)

Then I wish God to do

A better job of it

For all the dreadful things

That happen

Not to me

(though, yes, there’s that)

But to all the people

Who are burned in fire

Felled into the earth

Killed because smooth steel

And lead pellets seemed

Good inventions at the time

And since

(we can beat them all down

anytime, pleading a case for


God, can you not stop

All the measures that hide empire

Except where vanity


Must break through

The offices and the meeting rooms

Sending, allowing

Hurt into the battlefields?

Naturally and practically, you can

Though there is that stone so

Heavy that you cannot lift

You made it out of will

And set it spinning

42, the Earth

It is a kind of comedy

The classic kind, pray please

In which through funny means

(grim humor in grim times)

The community is healed

Better than restored,


And we have a forest for a world

Near the city of perfection

Feasts, cominglings, promises

Of weddings

‘Round fires tamed by angels

The marriage of harrowed hell

And heaven

New heaven partners with

New world, finally the right kind:


And which

To mitigate with love


C L Couch



Photo by Richard Cordones on Unsplash

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Looking Forward


A Cool, Dark, Quiet Place

A Cool, Dark, Quiet Place


For optimal sleep, this is the

Room we need, certain

Voices say, though I think the sense

In it (in that) might be apparent

To reach out to the left or right

Then bring it in

Like muscles with a game ball


Lights out maybe with a care toward

Preplanning disorientation

From lack of light

We’ll need something soft, too, for

Our belly or our hip or our butt

Plus something for our head

Resting to the side or back or somehow with

The face pressed down


The coolness comes from moving air

Though climate control has become a

Denser thing, inside


As for quiet, we are on a noisy planet

Where some think noise is just for them

And could it harm the rest of us?

Let’s not think about that

In our cars,

On top of our neighbors

(I’m not bitter)


Cool, dark, quiet

And we sleep

I tend to think we figure

Other things might go that way—

Sex and, yes, well, rock ‘n roll

The play when that’s the thing

Our time in movie houses

Maybe for some exercise of other

Sorts, a walk at night, escorted,

Maybe in the rain


So I think we should vote for this

Approve efforts to make it happen

Good night to you

God keep you

God buy you



C L Couch



Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash

Heal’s, London, United Kingdom


The Battle of Antarctica

The Battle of Antarctica


The battle of Lepanto

Where Cervantes lost a hand

The battle of Gallipoli, where

The artillery barrage had

Done no good

And so many Anzac soldiers

Died (like those in gray

with gingham inside led

Into Pickett’s charge)

The battle of Antarctica

It hasn’t happened yet

Except in novels, where it’s

Tragic that the last clean place on

Earth must have bomb-holes

And blood and other human

Wreckage wrought

Afterward, to stand as

Life-deserted monuments

For life had fled

We tore it out of bodies

As with the earth and sea


It’s what I think about


While branches press on windows

Not invading but in greeting of

The day and even me

With a way of generous beauty that I

Do not understand


Conflict is small pain that grows,

Sometimes to tire me

In books

Though writers did not invent it

And readers have to learn

About it, again and again

‘Til nature stops, crestfallen

Due to our mistakes in self-destruction

Or, miracle of our making,

Stunned that we could get it


Welcome “peace prevail” on poles (recycled)


Every foxhole for repentance

And inside craters dug out with

Our bombs, before


With grace dispensed


By human peace


C L Couch



No machine-readable author provided. Pablo-flores assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5,

A Peace Pole in the neighbourhood of Empalme Graneros, Rosario, Argentina. The pole has four sides, with the message “May peace prevail on Earth” written in four languages; this pole shows the message in Guaraní and (barely) in Spanish. The other two languages are Toba and Italian. I, Pablo D. Flores, took this picture myself, in September 2005.





We need some peace,


The quiet of a moment

Canceling out the noise of

Satan for a time

Minions, silly, yes

Of hell

We call them trolls and lurkers

So we don’t have to

Take it seriously


Cancel conversation

Isn’t that the same?

Not to think about what we say

But to turn and, because

We will not see it,

Ignore the table where

We might negotiate

And afterward have feasted


C L Couch




James Emery from Douglasville, United States – Megiddo_0665, CC BY 2.0,


For Those Dying Last Night

For Those Dying Last Night



I can wonder

How many died overnight

And I do:

From fires, murder—way too many guns out there

To make it easy

Earthquake without preparation

Before catastrophe is imminent

Volcanic flooding and

The killing funnel winds and so much more


Death from lack of funding

Lack of food

Water without sickness caused in

Drinking as we have to do

Death from addiction

Let’s pass fault like drawing fault lines

All around


It’s the death unnecessary

That is maddening

As in angering

And thinking that our planet’s people

We are insane

For valuing a life over the next

For execution

Or reward

And a temporal plutarchy

(as in for the moment)

Abrogates decisions from the rest

From the most

The vast most

Of us


Blame nature, if you will

It is so strong

But at worst indifferent

With signs drawn almost in miracle

That it would just as soon

Lavish Earth with green and blue

Morning mist of romance

Evenings of wind-song

If only we’d stop destroying all the sense

All the delight

Even the magic in

Everything we should know

Do better


No, frog—isn’t easy being green

When your world wants to wither you

In fact, find new places to do so

And turn a profit in the air

Made black before nightfall

And there’s a prophecy


We keep living to hate nature

It will find a way to act and show

It hates us back





Was it taming nature?

Or negotiating,

Beseeching it not to break

Our dams or roads

Or anything for which

We lay foundation?

Did we not ask for mercy

When we lay the track

And dredge the harbor

Back from where

It had newly settled from

Whose effort, I wonder?

Do we not beg the

Earth as we split it with our

Dredges, channeled water

Wide, fractured slate

Not to hate us but

To give us our reward?

Have we ever sought to understand

Balance, agree with

How it sets and how it turns

And how we might live well

With it?

If so, then

That’s the song to sing



C L Couch




Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

Hawaii, United States

Lava from Kilauea on Hawaii flows into the ocean. I shot this picture in October 2017. More on my website


Should the Shepherds Sing

Should the Shepherds Sing


I want to tell you, God,

That I love you and

Need you

But crazy isn’t good,

And I don’t want that


Crazy is good for David

Or Deborah or other prophets

Who come to you and

Are not burned by

The holy of holies


That is too much:

Too powerful,

Specific, and eccentric

Might we meet instead by

The shepherd’s brook,


I could save my fear

Inside the burbling

For anything you might

Say to me

And might I only listen

Thanks still to be living


Should all go well,

We might rest a while

Should the shepherds sing for us

New litanies

At night inside the hills


I might be asking for

A small trail under trees

Back into heaven

Cold and clear

As we had drunk

And washed

In this encounter


With only country rudeness

(thank goodness)

For an ornament

A style

Show the way


Way too easy

And romantic

I might have to endure

Some craziness

Call the party


Like the ark from Shiloh

Danced into the bright city


Yet I might listen from an


Feel the air from

Underneath an arch that shows

The desert

No longer inimical

But part of home


C L Couch



Photo by Makenna Entrikin on Unsplash

Sahara Desert

The dreamy walkway leading up to our campsite in the Sahara Desert.


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