(x = space)



Columbus Day Observed


I guess that would be today

Funny, I haven’t heard

About the sales

Maybe we’ve realized that

Good money after bad

Means something

That by five hundred years ago

Something scandalous had happened

Land was discovered

By the Europeans

Though it wasn’t empty

So guns and armor

Their diseases

(don’t worry—they took some back)

Conquered and destroyed

Enslaved the native life

In greed for land and gold

And anything discovered

Were they ever fooled,

The people they encountered?

Person to person

I have to wonder about that

Less discriminate weapons

Skin tone that made it easy

To tell friend from foe

Tall ships

Laden with rapacious agenda

Before and after


My people to the north

Didn’t do much better

On touching land

That wasn’t theirs

Until they said so


Should we give it back?

Should we go back to Europe?

For justice sake, we should

The irony that bites

Is that we came

For freedom

As well as opportunity

And for many as a prison sentence

We should have known

We used God as our excuse

To take what we wanted

Then take part

In perpetrating crimes in Africa

North and south we did this

So that prosperity

And new-empire thinking

Might belong inside the few

Who understood

New to them

The land and its resources

Should belong

Should be banked

Should be used up

Keeping pushing west


Some renegotiating is in order

Honestly, this time

Call it reparation, call it giving back

Call it what should not have happened

In the first place

And could stop any day now

My people came from England

And from Ireland

And other British parts

They were not kings,

Though their ancestors might have been

As with us all, I imagine

They wanted service

Frankly, they wanted food

They were told the land was good

And they could have some

They soldiered

They farmed

Many are soldiering and farming, still

I don’t think

There is a going back for them

For us


We call it now

An American story

Occasionally remembering

There is America to the north

And south

And farther south

We had it

Setting and ordering the wilderness

The denizens

Breaking treaties for cities

For estates

For colonies

Until colonies became the nations

Over here,

Another irony of freedom

But hard-fought

Adding to

The blood already planted

In the land


And here we are:

Sliding our land into the sea

(don’t worry—it’s happening all over)

Setting fires

Ruining the air

Counting on small trees

To replace the giants

Looking far off

With universal agenda

Toward NEOs, the moon,

And even other worlds

To save us

And who will save us

From ourselves?


But it’s all right

Everyone is wrong by now

Everyone deserves some fixing up

How about we meet

Without the windows

While the world is melting

At our hands

Around us?

How about inviting

Everyone who wants to come

To camp around this place,

Sending representatives?

How about we start the work

Around the talk

To seal in word and

In action as a fact

And a tontine

With the world?


Give Earth a chance

Stone soup

And the favorite part of everybody’s


Come to the table, too

We leave with new orders

We give ourselves

And in the first step

And each step after


Too good to happen?

Let’s find out

Every race, every arrival

Has a part in this


C L Couch



Don’t Lose Hope

[“Don’t Lose Hope.  When the sun goes down, the stars come out.  Pastor B. Crouch”]

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Community Presbyterian Church Pismo Beach