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Month

February 2021

The Book of Numbers

(x = space)

x

x

The Book of Numbers

(in pandemic time)

x

Lots of twos and ones

Tomorrow

And a zero,

And there could be church:

I think I’d cherish

Learning someone else’s

Story

If in a cyber way

x

To understand

How a narrative fits

Into the weaving,

The puzzle

Of the one great story

In which we each

Have a page

x

Monochrome

Or colorful

Burnt along the edges,

Gilded for the saints

After all the torn-up

Parts have been

Repaired

x

Not a book of judgment

Not a cache of

Clever evidence;

Rather the story of us

In part

And all the rest of us

And God inside, above

With tired angels

Tirelessly binding

Fixing binding

All the time

x

C L Couch

(for 2/21/2021)

x

x

Photo by Paulius Dragunas on Unsplash

Antelope Canyon, United States

Ladder to Nowhere

(reasonable skeptic)

x

Counting on God

(x = space)

x

x

Counting on God

x

We are in Lent

That like “lente” should mean

Go slowly

(Holy Week might be

“adagio,” I think)

x

Lent is a Christian thing

And goes along with

Our preoccupation

For things forty:

Forty years our parents

In the wilderness,

Forty days’ temptation

Between Jesus and the devil,

Angels standing (flying)

By,

Forty days for seasons

There are more

x

Four gospel writers

Three angels meet with Sarah

(meet with Abraham)

She laughs with them

Isaac, Rebekah

With two sons

The sons are parted

As father was separated

From brother,

Two traditions started

Eve and Adam

Had two sons as well

One of whom

Need be remembered

On account of murdering,

First murder

x

I’m making up the factor

And where is ten?

Ten tribes to the north,

Two to south

x

Numbers must be important

There’s a whole book for them

In our traditions

But I stop

Just this side of numerology

Yet remembering, just now

That Arabs gave us numerals;

Before then,

Letters had numeric value

Cf. X, V, I, L, C, and M in Roman

Usage

x

Letters as numbers

I think that hurts my brain

What is the number in the name of God,

In the quotient

Or should one multiply?

x

We say three in,

But sometimes I must wonder

How many God might be

How many parts and particles

Go into one

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Makarios Tang on Unsplash

x

Partial Recall

(x = space)

x

x

Partial Recall

x

How many things I’ve missed

In the last few days

The Lunar New Year

Valentine’s

The birthday of my mother

She died thirty-eight years ago

Shrove Tuesday

Ash Wednesday

Diagnoses take their toll

x

Today the rover Perseverance

Lands on Mars

I should see and hear that

And all the other days

Will have gone by

Love in the time of plague

To contemplate while waiting

In her office

x

We go on

We sigh, we breathe

We go somewhere

Where there is no breath

Unless we bring it with us

Then we craft it

Inside something like

New wineskins

x

C L Couch

(2/18/2021)

x

x

Photo by Lucas Myers on Unsplash

Cinder Cone, United States

x

Pirated Life

(x = space)

x

x

Pirated Life

x

Several hours later,

I meet with my band

In the woods

We go to the cave

That is our hideout

And headquarters

Time (past time)

For another adventure

x

You check out the dragon

Take dimensions

Find out if he must be foe

Or would it come on

As an ally

x

You and you

Find out who has jewels

In town

And if the jewels are fair

And are the owners fair

There’s precedence

To take them,

Re-reward them to

Those who have the need

x

I’ll spy out the rest

All the possibilities

Then draw out

A fine, nefarious campaign

Out best yet and

More profitable

Than the Hood or Ali Baba

Edward Teach,

Anne Bonny,

All the rest in the unformed

Guild of thieves

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Bas Glaap on Unsplash

Fremantle WA, Australia

x

Thought-Powered Words

(x = words)

x

x

Thought-Powered Words

x

The results were not good

I don’t mean to diary about it

But another organ is in trouble

I mean, I feel it

I thought it was gas

(hah)

And now I feel slowed-down today

In fact, since the phone call

Yesterday

x

Pray for me, friends,

As I pray for you

Though it’s not a deal—I

Pray for you anyway, and of course

I’m not sure what you do

x

But love has different kinds,

Hasn’t it?

We have ways to regard each other

Respecting who we are

What’s going well,

What’s not

x

I’ll take a good thought anytime

And be thankful

The words without thoughts don’t rise

As Claudius confesses

(Hamlet doesn’t hear)

But your words are thoughtful

They soar

I know,

I read them all the time

Then watch and hear

With the inner parts

Of eye and ear

x

C L Couch

x

x

citation

Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 3 (last two lines)

x

Photo by Rafik Wahba on Unsplash

Cincinnati, OH, USA

x

After the Blood Test

(x = space)

x

x

After the Blood Test

x

The kind that requires

A fast

x

I didn’t take my pills,

Either

Or had water

x

I waited for a while

But this was appointed

x

They should take me

And they did

x

I leave with less

Than I came in with

x

I face the day outside,

Later afternoon

x

I wander if the person

Who had miles to go

Felt tired,

Making the desire

To stop a temptation?

x

I get in the car

Hear the tires pressing

On the snow

As I head out

x

Turn the wheel

To point myself

Down one hill

Across some water

Up the other side

x

The sky gets dark

As the miles to go

Are done,

But now I know

x

I don’t know for sure

The measure of the distance

For results

x

C L Couch

x

x

Photo by Byron Johnson on Unsplash

Great Smoky Mountains, United States

x

Walking in Beauty, Like the Night

(x = space)

x

x

Walking in Beauty, Like the Night

x

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

—Byron

x

The only place I live

Ironically

Is in the clock

(absurdly called the grandfather),

A prisoner

Of time

And time

x

There’s a dark space

Behind the weights,

Behind an ornate board

In fact, taller than I

x

I listen to the clock

x

I hear its beat,

Its announcements

Count the hours along

x

I got good at guessing

When it’s dark

Outside,

The dark of night and mortal people

x

So I might slide

As if it were amusement

Into the room night,

Of shapes and shadows,

Followed by another room

And then another

x

Accommodations for

Ghosts among the living

In a place

Where both reside,

Divided places aren’t worked out

x

When light touches me, I burn

And if it weren’t an issue

For the gossamer of tissue,

I would burn for shame

x

Life was love

Attended

x

I thought I’d be released,

But immorality

So far has judged me

Here

x

Where I must hide

In filminess

And flimsiness

Inside the dark

Of this dark place

By day

x

C L Couch

x

x

This work is in response to a prompt for horror writing from Katie Metcalf who writes supernally about the dark and winter and folklore and endurance.  Here is the link for you to try at your own magickal delight:

https://wyrdwordsandeffigies.wordpress.com/2021/01/30/writing-in-the-dark-horror-writing-prompts/

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Terrell, TX, USA

An old blue creepy haunted house | Please check out my blog at: matthewtrader.com/unsplash

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The Haunted Woman

(x = space)

x

x

The Haunted Woman

x

She was from Kentucky

Her family harbored

The popular illusion that

They owned people

x

He came up to her at an event

And said, “Ma’am, I want

To dance with you in the worst

Way,” and he did

x

They had four children,

Only one of whom survived them

Her life, as you can imagine,

Broke apart

x

She outspent the White House

Budget many times

Decorating, socializing

Her husband despaired

x

The war over,

A measure of peace

That lasted for more or less

Two days for him, for her

x

She was there when

He was killed,

Heard the Latin cursing

Of the actor turned assassin

x

She lived a while longer

Seated beside her life that

Never happened

She remains in Springfield

x

She is a shadow person

Loyal, if distracted

She lived the status

And now claims a legacy

x

C L Couch

x

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Mary Todd Lincoln with the “ghost” of her husband, in an image taken by spirit photographer William H. Mumler. Mumler’s photos are now considered hoaxes.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20276887

x

The Haunted Man

(x = space)

x

x

The Haunted Man

x

It’s Lincoln’s birthday

Kind of a palindromic date

This year

(twos and ones)

He was born the way

I learned in school

And reading Classics Illustrated comics

x

There was a three-sided house

He was named for his grandfather

He studied by the fire

And later used his height

For playing pranks

x

He failed at most everything

Took part in debates

Got elected enough

To be elected for a final thing

x

He was from Kentucky

Then Illinois

Then Washington,

The District of Columbia

Where he died

x

His remains are buried back

In Springfield, I believe

And in the dust of bones

And blood

The ashes of war

Inside every part

Of the nation

x

C L Couch

x

x

Alexander Gardner – Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25238743

Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death

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