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in pandemic time

Signs of Protest

(x = space)

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Signs of Protest

(civilly offered)

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I do not understand

The people who have died

From shooting,

From hunger

Or lack of safe water,

From COVID

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You know what I mean,

I don’t understand

The situation

That allows for these

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Too many guns,

Not enough

Food and water,

Too much disease

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The solution seems mathematic

Fewer guns,

More food and water,

Less disease

x

I don’t care about the politics

We’ve made death too easy

And where politics might be concerned,

We’ve rendered people into blots:

x

We take off our glasses

And look at the blots from a distance

x

We have the right

To kill

Except we don’t have it

x

Made-up spies, perhaps

Soldiers who follow orders,

Though there’s too much a burden

For them,

The soldiers and the orders

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Stay strong

Broker peace

Don’t outlaw emotions

But outlaw hate

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Maybe slowly we’re getting there

I don’t know

Maybe you do

I hope so

Because I have to count on you

And you and you

Not as blots

But with the most urgent

Kind of clarity

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C L Couch

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International Women’s Day in Barcelona, Spain (2009). The motto, written in Catalan, says: “Total crisis in the patriarchal system”.

By Mutari – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6151838

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finding an image to represent protest was harder than I thought it would be; I chose this photograph because I agree that the patriarchal system is in crisis: in fact, IS a crisis

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Ramadan

(x = space)

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Ramadan

(2021)

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Ninth month in the lunar calendar,

A time for fasting and reflecting

On one’s faith and submission

To God’s will

x

At night, we eat

Though I think we might save it up

For the three days’ celebration

At the end, Eid al-Fitr

x

Many, so many, would try to go

To Mecca or Jerusalem;

Though as with everything else,

This time must be different:

It’s not safe to travel

For ourselves and for our neighbors,

So community will have to mean

Home stays

x

But the meaning is unchanged,

And I wish for my neighbors

Days of prayer and meaning

And a season of

So many blessings

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C L Couch

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Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

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But If the Numbers Lie

(x = space)

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But If the Numbers Lie

(they don’t)

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We thought we’d wait a year

Though we did it badly

We’d rather believe conspiracies

That allow us to travel

Go to bars

And live virtuously

In neighborhoods

x

We didn’t take the year

In fact

And now numbers are increasing

There should be little wonder

Undeserved curiosity

About the sick and dying

x

So back up now

Go the other way

We know the options for belief

But by now we know the dead

And could take a chance

On caution

And on care

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C L Couch

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Are there choices in belief?  Absolutely.  And options for our actions.  And I wonder if we might love our neighbor, then we could side with caution and prevention and, yes, inconvenience.  For now, I think it must be an inconvenient world.

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Photo by Alexander Grigoryev on Unsplash

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Degrees of Incarceration

(x = space)

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Degrees of Incarceration

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I don’t know what to say today

To students, peers, siblings, or anyone

I keep thinking about

The Pennsylvania woman on spring break

In Florida, who was raped and left

For dead

And who died

Whose credit cards were stolen,

The proceeds to sponsoring more partying

By her rapists, now incarcerated

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I keep thinking about the images

I’ve seen of spring-break partyers in Florida

At night and looking young and fit,

Drinking from cups on lawns and in driveways,

No doubt parking lots as well

And in many, many rooms

And there is not a mask in sight

And there is no safe distance in between

For any reason

x

I keep thinking about the places where

People are fighting, virus (also) notwithstanding

Syria and Yemen

Myanmar

Hong Kong where leaders and speakers

Are arrested

And all the acts of violence in my land

The land about which Woody Guthrie wrote

And sang

Irving Berlin and Kate Smith, too (respectively)

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There is too much to think about

But no sedative or anesthetic for me,

Please

I have to deal with side effects from

What I take each day

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I ramble but around a theme

And I’m revising, too:

What do we think about what threatens to

Close us off from normalcies

And niceties?

It’s all right, you know

(I know)

There is no Sunday best required

For thinking spiritual thoughts

Or wondering how the Spirit as we know

That Spirit might be enlisted

Might be involved, anyway

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If not our neighbors or our friends

Though maybe our neighbors and our friends

And family people

Encouraging our say

As we encourage saying

For all the times I want

To shut up, and that is right

For all the times there is something pressing

And I

And we

Should release it

x

And, yes, I wonder if poems

Should have messages and morals, but then I think

I’d have to say that poems aren’t for less

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Maybe poems are

Things we have to say

That can’t be said better in

Any other way

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C L Couch

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https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-spring-break-victim-identified-24-year-old-philadelphia-woman-20210323-quet7ixvhbcodaxhi7h3n5tmj4-story.html

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-spring-break-woman-rape-drugs-dead-20210323-qljdbntr3vd43bbvfaxj5aclaa-story.html

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Photo by Rajesh Rajput on Unsplash

Love

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Counting

(x = space)

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Counting

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There was an equinox

The sky returned to balance

While our Earth began to slide

The other way

Into spring here

And winter to the south

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We call them snowbirds,

The folk who go to Florida

In January

I’m not sure about the opposite

Those who might want

To travel farther south for winter,

Maybe call them penguins

Puffer people

Magellanics

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We wish for a good season

Much to plant

On planet Earth

To hope for green:

Seeds to break

Blades to rise

Life to harvest

Healthy crops of health

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C L Couch

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Photo by KT on Unsplash

Satay by the Bay, Singapore

Observed this Yellow Bittern for a good 20 minutes.  It was trying to find the most comfortable position for its morning food hunt.  Photo was taken from the lotus pond at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

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La Bohème

(x = space)

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La Bohème

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We cannot tell the good

From black or white

That’s clothing

Or how the clouds come at us

From the sky

Or day or night

Night or day

The priority is

Having clothes to wear

To feel secure

Safe from certain elements

That challenge us throughout the day

x

And we need air and food

A way to get around

Space for living and for working

For a Bohemian

The garret’s all the same

And prophesies pandemics

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C L Couch

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

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The Famous Ides

(x = space)

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The Famous Ides

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Watch out, Caesar,

This is a bad day for you

Stay at home

There is a pandemic

Feeling against you

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He ignores us

Like the chorus that

Sees and analyzes all

And is ignored,

Like Cassandra

Whose prophecies are true

And are ignored

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These are plays and stories:

What do dictators know

But what we know

Is a gospel

From a god

And your counsel might be sound,

But I shall ignore you

Because my vision

And my words

My will

Must be greater than the rest

Up ahead, the senate chamber

Waits for declarations

From their general,

Their god,

As good as emperor

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C L Couch

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Batna, Algeria

Roman Ruins

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Tell the Beadle

(x = space)

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Tell the Beadle

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I had church today with friends

Five hundred miles from here,

And I am thankful

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I’m not sure what it means or

How it counts, and I guess mostly

I don’t care

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There was prayer and conversation,

And God was mentioned many

Times and Jesus

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I think if there were an attendance

Book, our names could be

Fairly entered

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As it is, computers have recorded

In theirs pathways our participation so

Cybernetic stars

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C L Couch

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Sayq, Ad Dakhiliyah ‍Governorate, Oman

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Diagnostics

(x = space)

X

Because heart disease and the pandemic aren’t enough, I’ve been diagnosed with something more.  Not the worst, certainly not the best.  More medicine and alternatives to try.

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Diagnostics

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I’m tired

And I’m sorry

And I didn’t get

A good diagnosis

Not that the pandemic

Cares

It’s not awake

It doesn’t vote

It’s doesn’t laugh

In the irony

Of being sick from something else

This is my day, I guess,

To deal

To move around precautions

While I take them

Looking for

I don’t know

New ways, new things

To try

To live new life

Mollified, uncoddled

Looking from inside

As if the world

For good or ill

Is new

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C L Couch

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Photo by Kai Dahms on Unsplash

Blood

cell

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