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Interpersonal Toxicity

(x = space)

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Interpersonal Toxicity

(bad week, bad season)

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Toxic people

Make me toxic

But that’s not all there is

I can without doubt

Do it on my own

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I’m sorry, I’ve had

Bad encounters this week

With people who are

Poison,

And it’s so tempting

To turn poisonous as well

(there, turned)

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To deal with the pain

When what I really need

Is an antidote

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Thoughts?

Recipes?

There have been

Poison pens and poison rings

I don’t think

A tourist’s anodyne will help

Though there must be

Something

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I don’t mean chemicals

I think you know that

Though certain things must

Be released inside the blood

From time to time

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I suppose we have

Our healing substance, then;

But what I’m thinking is

The answer is communal

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That in love of each other

We’ll get better

And survive

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C L Couch

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“Poisoning of Queen Bona” by Jan Matejko.

By Jan Matejko – kpgd.pl, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=698448

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Saint Francis and the Sultan

(x = space)

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Saint Francis and the Sultan

(a contemporary conversation)

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What is the truth of Jesus Christ?

Hmm.  Well, the truth of Jesus Christ is that he is the child of God.  He is human and God, in fact.  He is one of three parts of God.  Three parts, always one part.  One entity.  God the creator, Jesus the savior, the Holy Spirit the guide.  One way Christians put it.

Jesus came into the world to save the world.  To save humanity, for certain.  Perhaps to save the rest of the world and all of creation.  The fallen elements—and maybe everything has fallen.

How does Christ save the world?

I’m not sure.  Faith is a mystery.  But I believe that, as a person, Christ taught a gospel (some good news) of life in love while affirming a covenant between God and people made so that we might know each other and live with each other, eternally.  Jesus performed miracles that emphasize his teachings and lend them some authority, though really I believe the main purpose of the miracles was, and is, for the benefit of those immediately in need.

As a human being, Jesus was perfect.  His godly nature had something to do with that, I’m sure.  At the last, he was too good for this world.  He was accused by his people and people at large.  He was accused of blasphemy and sedition.  He was arrested and was executed.  His body was entombed.

But he rose again to life.  As God and human, he had the power to live this way.  He offers that experience to us, because one day each of us will die.  But we are invited to live again and forever.  The means of this is grace for which we pay nothing because Christ through his experience has paid the cost for us.

Is belief in Christ the only way?

For me, yes.  For Christians, yes.  For others, I do not know.  I don’t know enough about the insides of other traditions.  And I cannot judge.  God judges, and God will judge perfectly.

What about love?

God is a God of love.  All the parts of God are love.  In love, God created the universe, the Earth, and us.  In love, Jesus came to Earth.  In love, he lived, died, and was resurrected.  We are called to have faith in love and to live in love as best we can and may.

Isn’t love weak?

Love is the strongest force there is.  It ends anger and ends war.  It starts and keeps families.  We are literally fed best through a loving, working relationship with nature.  We will explore this Earth better if we love the Earth and approach the Earth and cosmos with love.  But we’ll need good machines.  Love is practical that way as well.

They go inside to talk some more.  The scribe was not permitted.

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C L Couch

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Sunset was falling as a man threaded his hook.

Photo by Samson Vowles on Unsplash

Istanbul, Turkey

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Discover the Abandoned Sites of Brooklyn

(x = space)

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Discover the Abandoned Sites of Brooklyn 

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Where you lived

Is an abandoned site in Brooklyn

I visited you once

Never knew your agenda

I think it changed

Between the invitation and arrival

The visit wasn’t fun

You didn’t talk

I didn’t listen

Then it was over

You wrote to ease your mind

I wrote back truth, as it turns out,

Never heard from you again

You moved on

With your plans

And, you know,

That was that

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C L Couch

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Untapped New York

info@untappedcities.com

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Photo by Mitchell Trotter on Unsplash

Amidst the usual family arguments when attempting to travel via subway, our trip to NYC would not be complete without them. Tuning it out, I managed to capture a neat view of the variety of moods in the city. The subway is an efficient and well-used mode of transport in the city, you’re never short of people to fill your frame.

New York, United States

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The Tower Treasure

(x = space)

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The Tower Treasure

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I live on the second floor,

No great height

Up from me is Tower Hill,

A name from history

Since there is no tower

That I know of

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Wouldn’t it be romantic,

An adventure?

And for the Hardy Boys

And Nancy Drew,

Cherry Ames

And the Bobbsey Twins

(maybe somewhat

grown up

maybe)

Robbers hiding out

In said high place

With those who always

Want to find the ancient

Loot breaking in

From time to time

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So that now everyone

Wants jewels of differing

Centuries

And there are flashlights

There are yet-to-be passages

To find;

There are guns

Because good stories

Mention risks

There are old stairs

And so much dust

And colonies of cobwebs

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And in the nearly final act,

There is confrontation

Of all parties

With nearly everything

Discovered

Until the final trick

The heroes get to throw,

Distraction that gives

Time enough

For law enforcement

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Then all friends

Meet in peace

Have snacks

At the place in town

Where all the young ones

Meet

To read the story

Above the fold and farther in

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And we close the covers

(books and beds),

Pining for our treasures

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Never

The end

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C L Couch

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If you would like to read about a treasure in one’s own town (a novel, I’m afraid), there is for children (of all ages) The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn by John Bellairs.  And many more such stories, I’m sure.  Or you could write such a tale.

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Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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Quiet Start

(x = space)

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Quiet Start

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I am quiet

And for a change

The building’s quiet

I have ordered food

Staples, that kind of thing

It should be arriving

In two hours

Or less

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It’s a breathing moment

When the sun is considering

Fully rising

Though it’s tussling

With some clouds

I like this time

I wish my coffeemaker

Wasn’t broken

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But I’ll take this

For a Friday morning

Pray for all the tragedies

By nature and by us

Do some plain old

Wishing, too,

As if I had an unironic genie

Who would simply give me

What I wish

Even world peace

Or something like that

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C L Couch

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Dandelions are everywhere in Finland in Spring!

Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Levi, Kittilä, Finland

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Unbroken Surprise

(x = space)

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Unbroken Surprise

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I’d like to offer prayer

Of thanksgiving

For I have received

Good help

I can question how deserving

But I got it, anyway

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In the moment,

Certain things let go:

Doubt, worth,

Particularity

People give, and I receive

Not that I haven’t helped before

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But here is the receiving side:

Thankful, relieved

Not burden-free

But bearing less

Than before

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All this to say thank you

To both sides of prayer

The givers

And this time

The one who has so gladly taken

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C L Couch

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National Day Fireworks

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Perros-Guirec, France

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Good Machines

(x = space)

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Good Machines

(for Earthly terrors)

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Perhaps we could have cosmic-

Earth machines,

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Could the floods

Be sucked up here—say,

In Germany and China—then

Taken and dropped there

Where the land

Is dry

And ablaze as the land

In California,

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Then we’d have a system

Perhaps in harmony with nature,

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Technocracy that favors life

In joy and praise

Of what machines can do

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With pay and gratitude

The human operators

Deserve

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C L Couch

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Every spring the Mississippi River floods, but the downtown area of Davenport Iowa refuses to build a levee system to hold the waters back. It would block the river view. Some years the waters come several blocks up the banks and flood out local businesses.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Davenport, United States

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Countdowning

(x = space)

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Countdowning

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It’s Tuesday,

And I didn’t know

This was happening

I follow the news

Though clearly

Not the timetables

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I thought we’d

Have more time

To get used to the

Variance in the crew:

The one with white hair,

The one with shiny

Brown

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Maybe when this

Is ordinary, things will

Be better

Arch-safety

Will be ordinary,

Less frantic for those

Of us

On the ground

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They holding,

Time for nervousness

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Please launch already

Then come back

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C L Couch

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Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

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Childhood’s Beginning

(x = space)

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Childhood’s Beginning

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Here is the litany of complaints:

My back hurts;

I’m tired;

I’m tired of my back hurting

And my feet

And sometimes my left shoulder

And the headaches

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I should soak my feet in

Medicated water,

Something like the

Still water

We are promised in

The company of the Lord

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You have a list,

I’m sure

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And I mean to be respectful,

But sometimes

The child’s cry is stronger than the

Grown-up’s

Sense of things; and

We should listen to

The child,

The plaintive child,

The honest child

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Sometimes it hurts—

That’s all there is

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C L Couch

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A Silent Little Girl Looks at Camera

Photo by Assad Tanoli on Unsplash

Lassan Thakral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

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English teacher’s note

Arthur C. Clarke wrote a novel called Childhood’s End.

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