I talk you talk we'll talk


4 July

5 July

(x = space)



5 July



As we must be

After battle

We have to count the wounded

On the field

The dying

And the dead


In Chicago

And across New York

Wherever we commit

And find,

To make the discovery



That we are bestial

Worse than,

Since we weaponize

Our extensions


Tooth and claw

For killing

Over distances

And up close


Conviction is an odd word

That cuts at us two ways


C L Couch



Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash


Birth of a Nation

(x = space)



Birth of a Nation


It’s the Fourth of July

In the USA

It’s hard to miss

What with all the sales

In the computer


And all the local booms

That will happen

Between buildings

In the neighborhood

This evening

Upsetting dogs


The bell did not crack then

And the document

For the assembly

And the criers

Wasn’t ready then

More like the sixth

And no one need worry


A day was selected

For the start of freedom

And a nation

Approving thirteen groups

That did not want to fight

But would fight

A famous army

With a storied king

From faraway

Now home


Home needing freedom

From political

And corporate interests

That took more and more away

Until at home we said,



And war is war

It would not be kind

Or clean

Though ranks set on the field

Were tried

And when to start the battle



How farmers

Children died

Holding guns

Or something enough like

To draw fire from the foe


There were strategies

And spies

And those with local knowledge

Of terrain

And somehow

Against the European mind

For monarchs

The war was won

By merchants and farmers

Fugitives and foreigners


Foregoing slaves

To free

Only to count


With vision to admire

Yet with fractures

Like the bell that was fractured at

Other times

Now we had to form a nation

With all the blunders

And the cheating

All the buildings

And the farmland

All the expanding

All the settling to come

With treaties


And battles

We borrowed names


The United States of America


We asked for God

Too often after everything arranged

Maybe we could do better at that



God is known in many ways

Inside this land

The values of the heart

And mind

And neighborhood

Remain the same


Reasons abound

For trying God first

Each day

In every time


In a nation born


C L Couch



United States flag painted on the side of a Saturn V rocket.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, United States


Fourth Parable

Fourth Parable



Willy Wonka

Some songs are extra-beautiful

Depending on who’s singing

Today The Star-Spangled Banner

Always sung in martial fashion

So it seems

I don’t suppose there’s another way

But maybe remember that

The fort and city were outgunned

It wasn’t really victory

But endurance and survival

The flag was flying in the morning

(big flag, if you haven’t seen)

The nation got another day

Sometimes, I guess,

It’s all we need


C L Couch



Jay Bala, Public Domain,


Oh, Say

Oh, Say


The American dream


Overextend the company

Charge more for products

Reduce services

Pay people less

Try to eliminate benefits, so-called

Maybe get raided by another firm

Everyone is fired

Move on


Wait, what?


What happened to Knute Rockne

And Jim Thorpe?

Horatio Alger

And the poor match girl?

(wait—she died)

The lives of Harriet Tubman

(whose image we pretend will go

on a twenty, yeah, someday)

Sojourner Truth

The words of Frederick Douglass

Susan Anthony


And to those

Asian and Latinx

Black and even white

In museum heritage

Or not known at all

Who made it?


What is it?

A home, a family

A car unless there’s good transit

In the city

Enough possessions

Something to pass on

Assets, among them

A good story


Justice enough

Truth enough

Faith a little more

Love more than that


A choice

A say

A vote


That’s some dreaming

That was here a while ago

But I can’t find it in my pockets

Or outside where I hear

The pundits

And pretenders

Evoking bitterness

And gorge onto

What should be a better scene

With sapling promises all

Planted, taken care of


Back to basics?

No such thing

Even on a good day

You like basics?

Me, too—guarantee of shelter

Food and opportunity

And, yes, I’ll say it

Say it with me



I like reenactments

They rarely bleed

But some real blood might have to be

Spilled again

Before we’re through in

Or with

The world

And we understand what the world

Has been through with us

And a different ecumenism’s called for


Once we understand ourselves,

We’ll have to apply again

And take part

No longer the whole

That’s for villains in poor novels

And movies


So here’s the thing:

Forward to the basics

As in feed everyone

Learn democracy

Not from demagogues

Vote again

Rescind hatred

Don’t make it a crime,

Simply something lacking reason

Not to mention humor


We can learn how to laugh again

Without the grime

Without the fall

We can honor heritage

More so legacy

In festivals


Happy Birthday, USA

We can make it

If we try


C L Couch



covering the National Mall

User:Lipton sale, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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