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A Count of Days

(x = space)

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A Count of Days

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The Sabbath comes

And in ten days

And counting more

Is Hanukkah

Lights and chocolate

Latkes and other gifts

Of earth

And from each other

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Blue and silver

Days and nights

The nights show off the lights

That show the miracle

When we got our temple

Back

To find it desecrated

And no fuel for lamps

We lighted them anyway

And they burned eight days

For us

And for our faith

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We’re not perfect

We need to keep commandments,

After all

That remind us

And our neighbors

And the world

But we own miracles as well

As the menorah

And the gifts

And the food

And the blue nights

Shall show us

As the first time

The grace and love

And strength of God

For us

In faith

And you

In yours

If we may say,

Welcome to our festival

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C L Couch

9th of Kislev (after sundown), 5783

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

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Frances Perry

(x = space)

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Frances Perry

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Today is my grandmother’s

Birthday

She made it to 92

Not bad in my family

She thought Excedrin for pain

And a banana once a day

Were good for long life,

Otherwise living each day

With whatever

x

She had agendas—don’t

We all—but

She might have been

A simple person

Driven by impulse

That life in the Depression drove

Also by other, better life

Secured

After

x

She was the one I knew

Her husband was a good man

Who died when I was

A teen

And everyone was gone by then

Now the parents’ generation, too,

For some time now

x

My siblings

Have had to forge their anchors

And to cast them on their own

In hopeful waters

x

I’d say they’ve done well,

While I record

Some things

About them all

About us all

x

Remember to

Set down your stories,

Too

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C L Couch

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“Migrant family from Arkansas playing hill-billy songs. Farm Security Administration emergency migratory camp. Calipatria, California” 1939

By Dorothea Lange – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4450129

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Christmas Campaign

(x = space)

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Christmas Campaign

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Christmas

Is a month away

Precisely

In this year of 2022

Good timing for Black Friday

I don’t understand

They’re only things

And each other’s company

The presents

x

Not to be maudlin

Or mawkish

Sometimes the truth

Must come with syrup

That makes it sweet,

At least

x

I wouldn’t know

How to deal with

Great expectations

Of receiving things

Rather than

Only ourselves

x

There could be meals

Recipes

Desserts

Special drinks

Coffee

We could defend each other

Don’t let people drive

Until they’re ready

Turning out spare rooms

(Spare Oom in Narnia

with a War Drobe)

x

I don’t mean a campaign

And I do

Christmas is love

More than possession

Though there’s nothing wrong

In wanting things

And owning them

And if there are dangers,

I think

You know what they are

x

A month from now

Merry Christmas

It doesn’t have to be sectarian, for

Maybe part

Of Christmas love

Is diversity

And the widest possible

Welcoming

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C L Couch

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Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

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The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, specifically The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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Earthquake in Indonesia

(x = space)

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Earthquake in Indonesia

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Pray for the souls

Of victims

Dead and living

And the

In-between

We don’t understand the hundreds

Because we are not there

We’ve seen pictures

These are not enough

What would we see for real?

What would we smell?

What would we taste?

What would we be allowed

To touch

And whom?

And all the misery

We’d hear

From the keening of the living

And the demons overhead

And underground

That scream a victory

x

Nature is corrupted

We’re claiming the win

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C L Couch

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Boy, 6, pulled alive from wreckage of Indonesia earthquake

Story by Masrur Jamaluddin • 1h ago

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/boy-6-pulled-alive-from-wreckage-of-indonesia-earthquake/ar-AA14sWsL

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Photo by Chris Zhang on Unsplash

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distracted

(x = space)

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x

distracted

x

in the concluding

of the service

we sang

in the hymn

behold his hands and side

and I stopped following

x

that’s hard

the hands and side were pierced

there was blood

out of its natural place

and it ran away

from the body,

stealing life

and we are to behold all this

x

it happens to others, too,

the bleeding

from a fall

from a blade

(the scalpel blade is good)

or from a bullet

or from shrapnel

or part of a car or truck

or other crash

and we can talk about

what missiles do

x

we release so much blood

and it becomes

the thief of life

x

what was Thomas thinking?

maybe he knew brutal living

and the dying

all too well

and didn’t mind the asking,

blood for proof

or the holes in hands

and mark of the spear

at least

x

was he chagrined?

he knew his master

and the following

restored

for everyone, as far as

Thomas might be concerned

and in euphoria

he might not have cared so much

about the scolding

because blessed are those who

don’t need such evidence

for proof

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whatever

he was back

he was alive

the gruesome marks

the signs of blood,

blood now thwarted

in thievery

x

the marks he saw—and

did he touch as bid?—either way

concluded,

concluded

everything

x

c l couch

x

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photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

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the story of Thomas doubting is in the twentieth chapter of John’s gospel in the Christian New Testament

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Meet You at the Place by the Sign

(x = space)

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Meet You at the Place by the Sign

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At the end

We find ourselves,

Which is why I do not understand

The quest

Yes, it must be in the journey

Why not take a journey?

Find an agent, first

x

We don’t want to kill a dragon

There are too few

We don’t really want the Arkenstone

Too hard to find a buyer for

Too much destruction

In the selling

Or the having

x

The map is fun

We’ll take the treasure map

Though we might have to earn

Some credibility

For display

x

Sigh, all right

We’ll go

Make our final preparations

In the evening

Leave in the morning

Our weariness shall be

The last convincing item

For the start

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C L Couch

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Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

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Homely Revelation

(x = space)

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Homely Revelation

(Psalm 19:2)

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Maybe

It will start

On what we’d call

A clear, calm day

In fact, cerulean

x

The armies might be

Lined up, anyway

In the desert

x

On all borders

x

A day for maintenance,

Patrols

With no shots fired,

Nothing pointed launching

x

Mary out of blue

(cerulean)

Shedding all colors

For us

Might come first

With John and Michael,

All directing

That the fighters clear their vehicles

While things are peaceful,

Rather easy

Before a miracle

Of rust shall have the

Armor and the gears,

The nuclei of fuel

Returned to earth

x

Before a rain shall fall

That satisfies the thirsty

While frustrating

All the radar,

All the targeting procedures

x

Like the cartoon

In which the prey

Like a magician

Causes flowers to appear

Inside the muzzle

Of the hunter’s gun,

Children shall be

Fed and entertained while

Parousia take

The unexpected

And frustrating

Lack of determined war,

The crazy metaphors

Made real

That taught us for an age

To give us

Love and time

x

Frightening things

Might happen:

God’s arrival in

Healed flesh and sprit,

The judgment of the wicked,

Victory in nothing gained

But love’s perfection

x

Awful as in awesome,

These should be

Enough;

The day shall satisfy

As water and air cover

And fulfill

The valley before

Baucis and Philemon

And perfectly

The entire Earth

Of us

x

C L Couch

x

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Photo by Andrew Sterling on Unsplash

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The Magician’s Children

(x = space)

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The Magician’s Children

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Lately,

I’ve been seeing my face

In other faces

I look for a few moments

Sometimes stare

Then realize

I’m looking for

More signs of me

In you

x

C L Couch

x

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Photo by Guillaume Bleyer on Unsplash

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Narrative for Veteran’s Day

(x = space)

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Narrative for Veteran’s Day

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I hope the veterans

Have a good day today

They served

Time to be serving them

Certain restaurants

Will do that literally

(track the ads)

x

There was a draft

I was in school

A war for oil fomenting

As if primordial

Muck were heating

In the gulf

(not that war

in the gulf

or the next one)

There was an energy crisis

Hiding profits

x

I didn’t want to fight

For companies’ oil

But when on the application

I was asked

If there were anything I would fight for

I had to answer yes

And so ruin the deal for c-o

And the draft board changed

My status

(they won’t admit to punishment)

From 1-H to 1-A

x

Well, that war didn’t start

There were numbers

But no draft

I finished school

And then the next one

And with Watergate

Had reasons to feel bitter

Toward my government,

Which since then

Has become increasingly

Stupid and useless

x

But love of country

All the stickers

All the posters

The Bicentennial

If we forget who is in charge

There are superlative reasons

To be serving

And they have served

Time to be serving them

x

My brother

And my father

And my grandfathers

Came back

My friend Patricia

Returned, retired

A full colonel

x

There are those

The many, many those

Who did not return

And have their days

And who cannot remember them?

Anytime and every time

We should?

x

Red poppies will festoon

And sides of buildings carry

Words of verses

“In Flanders Fields”

And that is London today

Here there will be flowers, too,

And flags

And I hope everywhere

That she has served

And he

And they

And all the fields

Nourished by remembrance

With all the hopes

And wishful strategies

To change

x

C L Couch

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carrying the burden of a nation

Photo by Joel Rivera-Camacho on Unsplash

U.S. Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, conduct vehicle recovery drills on Camp Pendleton, California, Apr. 6, 2021.The Marines of Motor Transportation Platoon pride themselves not only on their vehicles, but on each Marines’ hard work, dedication, and drive to excel in all they do.

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Fallbrook, United States

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