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March 2020

Judgment on a House of One

Judgment on a House of One


And Herod appeared

Before the crowd

In an arena in Judea, to

Proclaim himself

Messiah to the Jews

And to the world

He wore a splendid robe

Of silver

How it must have shone in

The sun

And then

Herod fell

And soon he died

Wasting disease,

At the last

Consumed by worms inside

That, hungered, had their way


As well

How ugly and how awful

That must have been

Against the silver


And is this how it is

With those who think they are

In charge

Know how to lead

Must be resplendent at it

In a hided-over ego

And in other, badged ways

Over vainglorious skin?


Leaders, supposed, self-styled, or


Even the right ones

Will be judged twice over

Once upon themselves

A second time for those they built up

Or sent away

Or from whom they

Took away small pieces, one piece

By one,

‘Til for the company there was

Little left

But victim service


We might not see this, hear it,

Taste the mortal defeat

Touch the dust they have become

There is a reason why

In older times, the judge was


And is

Immortal, invisible

Only wise


C L Couch



(the death of Herod Agrippa is told in the Christian Acts of the Apostles and other ancient sources

it is fictively told in the chapters of I, Claudius by Robert Graves)


I should be judged, too, on whom and how I led, when I have led


Photo by Vinicius Amano on Unsplash

São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil

this was a color test I was doing with lighting on RGB colors and how the colors affected a piece of creased aluminum. looks like a mountain for me, what do you guys think?



Say Yes or No (two poems)



Yes, I am

Yes, I will

It could be no

And sometimes should be

Without doubt

But life goes better with a yes

To grease the wheels

Or whatever

Yes means

I’ll take the job

I’ll join this group

I’ll marry you

Yes means there is light—

Sometimes after no that happens,


But the yesses move the world

Not to talk you into anything

Say yes doesn’t mean that all is well

But that the response aims to be

Affirmative in attitude

Or style

And maybe, as the saint says,

All shall be well





No is a suitable companion

Keep in a pocket at the ready—

No is therapeutic

Sometimes preventative—

For every now and then


As a sound, well, it brings us down

It’s ingrained

Who said the first no?

Gilgamesh to his kingdom

He would leave to

Find his friend (which turned out to be

a no as well);

Cain who said no, he didn’t know

Where his brother was,

Even though blood was calling out

From the land

Hm, no wonder we don’t like the no

It’s been around

And naught, so to say, for good


But it can be good

Don’t forget its practicality

Often, there’s relief just after

Some wisdom gained

With some unpleasant heat

Some discovery

About what we want

Or for the time

What we need


C L Couch



(Saint Julian of Norwich affirms in her work that “All shall be well.”)


Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Rieserferner Group, Rein in Taufers, Italy

Pastel is beautiful!





There’s the outer skin

And then a mask underneath

Of pain

Then maybe underneath the skull,

Things aren’t so bad

Now in the heart of things,

It’s different

There pain enters and resides


And we must somehow get inside

Like a fantastic voyage

Plumb the depths

To find a source

Of everything that festers

We can’t laser it out

Even a scalpel wouldn’t serve

We have to go in ourselves,

Live with it for a while

Reside beside the pain

To understand

Its texture and its grooves, and finally

Where to touch it best

To hold it for a while

Try a tug or two

But if we stay and warm it long enough,

Part of it will start to rise



C L Couch



(Fantastic Voyage, a novel by Isaac Asimov)



Photo by Macavei Alex on Unsplash


Giving Way


Giving Away


A Christian

Wrote a magic book

Don’t ostracize him for it—

Too late, too many

Praise the work

And the worker

And, yes, in the larger family


You might know who I mean

You might know what I mean

It’s everywhere, nowadays

Though the worker

Was confused by



He was used to saying

What he wondered anyone might

Want to hear

Though it was all required at the school


C L Couch



Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash


Nothing Cynical Today, Please

Nothing Cynical Today, Please


I know we’re all supposed to be

So smart,

And we are

But sometimes don’t you want to take

A breath

Then exhale all kinds of things

That really aren’t necessary

On the inside, anymore


Take in something fresh

I know it’s hard in a polluted world

But there’s still enough air out there

And in a breeze

There’s dreaming

Give that some air as well


I’m going to close up the dark shop

And risk the outside world

Not to get too close

Just yet

But find a sitting place

(you, too),

Not so far away

To look outside and inside

Consider what to keep

What can be let go at last


C L Couch



Shouse Village, Wolf Trap, United States

Photo by Eric X on Unsplash


Short Story Unit

Short Story Unit


I read a story once

One of many stories

Short stories, in fact

A unit we went through

I think it was in seventh grade


In this narrative,

Told from a boy’s perspective,

There was a stepmother

He didn’t like so much

No, she wasn’t classic fairytale mean

She was pleasant, but she wasn’t

His first mom

The real one

His mom was prettier

And better in all ways

But she had died

Then dad had remarried

The boy was sad, crestfallen

All the time


I don’t recall the lashing out

Because there wasn’t any

But at a dinner out, the boy

Noticed a moment when

His father tucked a loose

Curl up inside her hat,

And then the boy knew that his

Father really loved her

And for his sake

And for his sake,

He should try to love her, too


C L Couch



Image by Jenna Nguyen from Pixabay


‘Til the End of Time

‘Til the End of Time

(Ireland forever, as it’s said)


My, it’s a grim day outside

There may have been fog

That is yet lifting

All I see is white and gray

It’s unsettling, first thing

To look outside

Today’s the day for green and


Remembering all the snakes

Driven out of Éire without

Wondering where they went

Well, Guinness is dark

And celebratory

So despite the virus going ‘round

I should perk up a peg or two

Remember the McAnallys

Look for some colors, since

The Irish own the rainbow

If not the gold where

The magic arc

Must someday land

All are Irish?  I don’t think so

But all are welcome

Into the saint’s day

A saint who wasn’t Irish, either

But came to own the land

In spiritual ways

Who is remembered for all

Intents and purposes

As a native

Might we remembered, too,

For something spiritual

And native

Created beings of earth and air


C L Couch



Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

Saltee Island Great, Ireland


The Sun’s Indigenous

The Sun’s Indigenous


A treat

The coffee

I don’t have to load it

In my buckboard

Like a settler come to town

On Saturday for supplies

Too easy to fantasize

My house on the prairie

Or my split-level

In the east

How much did others pay

For dreaming?

I don’t mean pioneers

Though for their dreaming

They gave much

I mean those who dreamed

Of earthen wisdom,

Already here for centuries


But here first

First people


In the world, we don’t respect

Indigenous save for study

(bless the anthropologists

in situ)

The land is there

Just needs some brutal scrubbing

Clear it out for destiny

That we own


I’m white

I don’t mind being white

I rarely have to

I rarely have to think of it,

Unless I want to

Call me a lover of dark skin

I am

I have no way to understand reparation

Except that it’s a worthy thought

At least to seek forgiveness

Knowing that each people

Have done each other

That is no excuse for us

Or anyone

To pick up the rope, the chain,

The sword

To take over for intrafamily rivalry

And sin of war that way

Theirs in the first,

Ours in the last


I think that colors merge into the sun

I think that I’m idealist

And most likely, oh, so naïve

But I’ll take it for my vision

Keeping in the daylight

Dreaming of at night


C L Couch



Photo by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash

Azukar Coffee, Phoenix, United States

The subject of this photo, Hannah, radiates authenticity, joy, and beauty in her jean jacket laced with various pins and buttons. This photo of Hannah was captured by Idara Ekpoh in south Phoenix, Arizona, at Azukar Coffee Shop.


Eccentric Season

Eccentric Season


A loud single song out the window

For a second day I’m greeted this way

Whom is it calling?

I’d like to think it was me, but it must be

Another creature

Singing to to say hello, come over here

There’s a divot-space next to the air-conditioner

Might make a nice place for a nest


I guess this because it’s happened

More than once

That through the panel I can see bird-shadows


They come and go for a while

I should worry, and I do, that all goes well

While there is waiting for small, gray life

To emerge—

Usually, they’re gray—

To add their greetings to the day

And the days ahead


I think maybe I shouldn’t look through

The window, down so much at what’s going on

I can listen to some small cacophony



Life will emerge, and then the nest becomes

Useless, falls apart, not fit

For a sparrow

My odd season with the nesting birds is over

I’ll clear out what remains, maybe there’s

A crack of egg to see

I tried to bring the rounded twigs inside one time,

But they fell apart too easily

A sparrow wouldn’t want it

Such a fragile operation, all this is

To make more birds

Especially in a small space on the window sill


And my own sign in parts that at last the weather’s

Turned into a fecund opportunity

As the planted fields around the town

Will also show, certainly in

Wider, columned ways


C L Couch



Photo by Chromatograph on Unsplash

Hong Kong


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