a place to talk so talk I'll talk we'll talk



Why Try at All

Why Try at All


Is it crap,

I wonder


But I don’t think so

There’s an earnest heart somewhere

That asks an

Honest question of creation

What might we do for you?


How might we fix

Then use you better

How might we love

All your demands

The needs and cycles you must have

To realize

Before we take our measure


In fact, maybe we could work together

For a change

If you might still be for us

And open to alliance

Maybe we could be neater


Practical in the way of

Mutual prosperity


To ensure today

And a justified way into tomorrow

Reckoning the stars will

Want negotiation, too

When we go to visit and

To stay


C L Couch



The Autumn People

The Autumn People

(title and litany inspired by R. Bradbury)


World of stone

Ancient, difficult wood and sometimes glass

Though passageways for

Light and air are

Mostly shuttered nowadays


It is an age beyond the last

Ancient, classic, invasion, modern, after-modern

Mires of agenda

That refused to die

So that the next time had no name

No one after, either, to name in distant reason

This last time


In anarchy, all freedom’s lost

No one in safety alone

In groups of tribal bands

Joined for number


There is no core

Nothing on which to ride an atom or to

Split its parts


We came together as we could

Or nothing


Nothing, nothing, nothing

To have into grey days


Summer without

Winter long past to be accounted

No one remembers spring


This is what we are

This is what we left one season

Now only one time of year


Forever fallen

Ever falling


Who are we?

Once we were leaves

Attached, belonging to the binding of

The book of life


Where did we live?

In colors, living textures

On a primal world


What is left now?

Ghosts of patterns

What might have been


Why do we live?

It’s all that’s left

The spine is broken


We exist, barely assembled

What is left of

Dark matter, once

All light has been erased


The litany has ended

We return below ground

To sleep uneven with rude weapons

Close to our faces


Failing eyesight

Hands no longer trustworthy

In holding what is left

Into the evening of the Earth


C L Couch


the law of glory


the law of glory


who made autumn glorious?

a final, phoenix flourish before winter

who gave the colors

then must take them back

it is a way

with the discipline of divinity, I guess

I was not asked

I’d make it color all year round,

which would tyrannize the summer

and relegate winter sameness

to memory’s dust-catch

good that I’m not creator, then

I’d hash the seasons

(even in the south it would not be safe)

lose the patterns


remaking life in temperate parts


I’d wreck the year

and then we’d need a

God to save

when rescue is enough

most every day


quiet my reckoning, then

keep the seasons in-between as they are

let peace prevail in middlin’-parts

for better reasons


c l couch



Mehr News Agency – Golestan dabbed in Autumn colors


Anna Pauline McAnally

Anna Pauline McAnally

In my culture, Sunday

Is Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s a global mark

Or not

Maybe we got it from someone

Somewhere else

My mother died more than

Thirty years ago

To say the least,

Everyone was younger then

Cancer killed her

And later killed my father

Due to late findings,

The worse of everything transpired

Sickness from treatments, only

Receiving people wearing masks

When she was in ICU

Protesting medications helped

Because she was generally a fighter

Why am I taking this? at last

And I won’t take that

But she lived longer

Than the doctors claimed she would

Two years better than four months

It will be about a month from now, the

Date she died

Because it is now so far away

Her stone lies mostly unattended

Except generally in


An indictment?


For we all live

Hundreds of miles away in

These our days


C L Couch



The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on June 13, 1983 · Page 39

Pauline McAnally Couch obituary


Ode to Small Things

Ode to Small Things


The toast has jumped

Thank you, toast and toaster

Those who made you


Those who made you


Let’s have an ode to

Every small thing that’s good


Lids that unscrew

Peanut butter

George Washington Carver’s inventions,

The ones that were never made


You and me

And each one of us,

Small upon the planet

Large in worth

And skill

And gratitude

For being made

And someone of us who

Might fix everything


C L Couch


Blue Rhapsody

Blue Rhapsody


If someone should take a sword

And stab me through the head

And I don’t die

What am I

I press my temples, narrowing the blade

Closer to the center

Nothing much happens


The pain implodes

The bleeding is inside

A Shakespeare-like character might say

I am undone

I am wounded

I am slain


Yet to look at me,

I’m altogether


Naked the blade

An alloyed monster from the sky

Maybe it’s an allergy

Maybe it’s a growth

May I am too tired


Too taken to read more

But I can open a blank page, one

Without text for now


As I have opened here


C L Couch






High Level

High Level


There is a mourning dove visiting


Have I mentioned that,

He or she?

It pushes its tail feathers through the

Padding I pushed in from the other side

Next to the

Baffles of the air-conditioner


In the afternoon, the bird is gone

I push the padding



In the morning, it returns

To push the foam strip through

With the tail again

I want to negotiate

The bird may stay, but I need

The air

It’s hotter than the season typically


And I write on my side

For now, it’s only us


I’m not sure what it’s doing, she or he,

Building a nest maybe

Mourning doves

Aren’t good at that,

Though I’m impressed with the

Chartres-like, circular

Labyrinth design

Of round, broken sticks

Arranged, frankly, more like a coaster

For my mug of coffee than

An avian home

For old or new


We’ll work something out

If not, winter finally will


Us both away


C L Couch


photo by Terry Johnson—mourning-dove-still-top-u-s/article_00951622-6a1c-11e6-b4dd-6b2c02e45bd3.html





Sometimes I look into sky

There can be clouds

More viscerally when it’s stars

We see bucolic things

And we should

But sometimes it falls back on me

The sky, the stars

And if one can feel vertigo

When sitting still



I’ve tried to imagine it all

And it has smacked back on me

The universe, as if I’m told

Cannot take me now

Don’t even try

It’s not yours

Someday, maybe


You’ll know your place

And your way around


C L Couch



star field

(too beautiful, too much)





It’s Sunday, and I’m tired

Somewhere the Gospel’s being read

And someone’s teaching from it

Good words, I’d like to think

I am here and writing differently about

A story that won’t be read in church

Not to sour-grape it

I don’t mind the anonymity

My story’s sad and uninspiring, unless

One needs to hear about

A mundane struggle, mostly secular

The seeking of good news inside one’s head

Though it’s not there

Not in the neighbor’s heart, either

It’s in the book

It’s in the neighbor’s heart

It’s in my head

(My heart, too)

But I have to hear

With two sets of ears that hear

In case the first set’s not so functional

(If you didn’t know, the deaf tend

To hear better)


Until something is opened

Nothing is going to happen

That’s the capacity that’s missing

And the action


They are there

It’s simple access, really

Like most things, altruism, sympathy,

Or sacrifice,

It’s made

It happens

With a choice

And on a tired day

When Sunday best is not enough

(It rarely is)

When the soul is split between awakening

Or remain embraced within the monolith


Half-shut is still half-open

And sides are being called for

Final play


Choose this day

Choose, this day


C L Couch



gospel choir

image courtesy of Charlotte Zoller


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