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Month

November 2020

Clusters

(x = space)

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Clusters

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I sigh and sip

the morning is progressing

I have an artificial breeze

a measure for tinnitus

while outside, the tarn effect

persists

another day in more or less

a string of days

x

I’m clustering my thoughts

until one group of them take over

travels on its own and further

a thesis for a theme

process and product

you know

x

and hopefully approve

because I’ll be doing this tomorrow

until the cows come home

or other herded things

within which are groups of one

like thoughts

there you are in your thinking

hi

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C L Couch

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Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Love Letters

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Neighborly

(x = space)

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Neighborly

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I’ve just read a story

About a neighbor,

No one I know,

Living in Florida

(I’m in Pennsylvania);

He was accosted

Just the other night;

Someone stood outside

His door, trying to

Bash it in; he broke

The door but did not get

Inside; the neighbor

Had a gun but did not

Want to use it, and

He didn’t; well, 911 was

Called, and here’s

The shameful part—police

Came and waited

Some distance away;

They didn’t get involved

Until the perpetrator

Came up to them,

Which seems to me

Lucky and convenient

Law enforcement;

x

As you can imagine,

An official line is

Spun from the department

While the incident

Is under investigation;

My neighbor and his

Neighbors now

Live knowing nothing

Happened that was

Helpful, not by the

Police; and the first

Person, my neighbor

(I do not know him)

Must was his dog

While keeping pocketed

His gun, should inaction

Require shooting

On his part

The next time

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C L Couch

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‘Sheriff, hurry up please.’ Disabled man battles intruder as cops wait down the street

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/crime/fl-ne-police-response-intruder-ss-prem-20201128-ibp6eequqjf3lhgvowzcwlhaee-story.html

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Photo by Nathan McDine on Unsplash

Spotted

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Be Serious

(x = space)

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Be Serious

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I should say something about God,

because I like God

though I wonder how God likes me.

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Love and like,

like the basis

For a friendship.

And Jesus is our friend,

a revelation given when they met

for supper one last time.

x

So if Jesus likes me,

which has been the implication

then somehow, in some way

I must be likable.

x

I know God is all-giving

and all patience

with everything that’s perfect,

and my regard hardly necessary.

x

And I suppose

friendship must be doctrine

in this tradition, anyway,

though we switch it to indifference

when we think we might,

x

when we want to forget

until outside the booth

that God was there

in everything,

made complicit by us followers.

x

We are reverse claustrophobes

on Earth—we want to tunnel in

where we might take the rocks

and build small tyrannies,

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which is not friendly action,

though if God is removed

by our convenience, how easily

each other?

x

Friendship with God,

a treat by Christian doctrine, I

suppose,

while others don’t forget

the awesomeness of God

and that awe means fear;

x

we could stand some friendly fear,

for it is God who loves

and calls us loves even from

prophets and lawgivers.

x

Jesus as our pal?

Our buddy at the bar?

It’s fun to think that way

(I think so),

x

though Jesus of creation

and of Sinai,

of Golgotha and victory

in hell—how trivially

is made up by us;

x

but God is always God

who cries, who creates,

who sacrifices—maybe, then,

deserving of

an attitude of more.

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Coney Island, United States

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Invitation from Earth and Sky

(x = space)

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Invitation from Earth and Sky

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Briefly then,

There are good things

On the earth

And inside sky

And inside far below

We can ask for

Closeness to good things,

And we should:

x

For good warmth

From the sky,

Good feeling in our bodies,

Good reason for

Decision-making

x

The substance of the

Asking might be

Prayer of a kind of

Cosmic negotiating

For agnostics

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Either way

Or with simpler hope,

We can let goodness

Have its way

With core and crust

And breathy atmosphere

x

Inhale, exhale—

Walk to stretch things out

x

Extend our fingers,

Reach out with our palms,

And turn our wrists

x

The cosmos will

Appreciate our reaching out

So and more so

Would the mortals

And the ineffable

x

Let all mortal flesh keep silent

And in fear and trembling stand

x

Each year there is an advent

And most days,

Our response invited

x

Our planet awaits

As does everything beyond

The sky that our shiny satellites

Detect, now draw from

For extraterrestrial

(extra-lunar)

Samples

x

The maker awaits

Here and there as well,

Inviting us inside

Community, one by one

And altogether

To believe

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Strong wind, frost and rays of sunlight created this wonderful pattern on my windshield.

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“Let All Mortal Flesh” is an old hymn out of the Christian tradition.

A newer hymn, “Earth and All Stars,” also comes to mind.

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Good One

(x = space)

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Good One

(in pandemic time)

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Watch the game

Through the phone

Or tablet

Or computer

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Eat with the group you know

And keep it small

A family parameter is fine

If not the number that

You’re used to

x

Eat

Laugh

Play games

Clean up

x

Pretty good, overall

Thanksgiving Day

Reborn in the USA

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C L Couch

x

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Photo by Anastasiya Romanova on Unsplash

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Chocolate Milk

(x = space)

x

x

Chocolate Milk

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I used to like

To mix in Nestle’s Quik

Sold by a rabbit

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It was powder then,

And I was not good

With the result

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Little globs of wet

Powder on the surface

Of the milk

x

But I liked the process,

Spinning the Quik around

Making a maelstrom

In the center of it all

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I don’t know if

I had been in the southern world

Would I have stirred it

The other way

x

I’m drinking coffee

From a glass just now

(it’s customized),

And everything is smoother

x

I’m grown up

x

But the stirring

Just this morning

Reminded me of

Turning galaxies

In my child’s glass

Of milk and Nestle’s Quik

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C L Couch

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Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash

universe

Far away Andromeda galaxy, or M31, in deep space.

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Reading Lists

(x = space)

x

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Reading Lists

x

Adrienne Rich

Wrote about Aunt Jennifer’s

Rings and tigers on screens

And diving into a wreck

x

These were the poems

We interns were assigned

To read and teach,

And that was all right

x

But reading on one’s own

With no one’s rubric but

One’s own

Is so much better;

I’m sure we were supposed

To instill some kind of

Critical process regarding

Life and reading in it

x

But I’m not sure

How well that worked,

What kind of processes

We might have instilled,

What seeds grown,

What personal

Allegiances to one’s own

Mind and heart

x

So was a new generation of

New readers of poetry

Begun?  Has it flourished?

Are they among the ones who

Turn to poetry when there’s

A tragedy?

x

(read up how we

took to verse after the

Towers fell)

x

I like Rich, though that

Would not be enough

In that we were serving

A learning process

x

It was a small, state school;

I never heard from anyone

Again, though nothing and

No one is due me

x

A state away and many

Years, I wish us well

And to take up small books

Of miracles from time to time;

I do this, Mary Oliver’s

Most recently

x

C L Couch

X

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

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The Twenty-Third Song

(x = space)

x

x

The Twenty-Third Song

(a paraphrase)

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My life is wrecked

I feel ruined

And here you are, Lord;

I don’t know if I asked for you,

And I am so relieved

That you are here

x

I thought there was a desert

But, look, there’s water

Cold and clear;

It is the best that I have tasted

And I have no doubt

That it is good for me

x

This is more than I deserve

And maybe I should leave—well,

I feel your hand

Guiding me back;

I should stay a while

x

I thought this was the end,

That I could not lose any more

And it was getting dark;

But you are here,

And maybe you were with me

While I was stumbling

Back there

x

Look, here’s food:

And who are those around me?

They don’t come any closer

x

Before I eat, please

Bless all this

And maybe me;

You are the one

To do it, after all

x

Should you be with me

Through all that is to come,

Then blessings

Will continue, even in

The splintered times

x

And because of you,

Your presence in my life,

When this life is done

And the next mystery begins,

I shall be with you

With a living place in heaven

Or on Earth renewed

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Rome, Italy

The Forum, Roma

x

“The Rape of the Lock”

(x = space)

x

x

“The Rape of the Lock”

x

Is a poem-story

About a theft of hair

(a basis for satire)

From times when

“Rape” meant abduction

(bad enough, though

if you know

The Fantastiks, then

you know)

x

Even so, not a good

Word, made worse by

The way we use it

Now—given charge

And change

With reason

Words have power,

Don’t they?  Sometimes

More than action: try

Proclaiming “dictator”

Inside democracy

(listen to the only

speech in Chaplin’s

The Great Dictator)

Or cry “freedom” inside

Tyranny

x

Then there’s

“Joy” in a

Cheerless place,

Challenging the time

Another way

x

Have a gentle day

And mind (and mine)

Your choice of words, and

Take comfort from

The people with whom

You don’t have to

Fret so much

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Kristian Strand on Unsplash

New York, United States

Type

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