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After Something

(x = space)



After Something


Catharsis is so healthy,

Isn’t it?

I mean leaning back

Something to sip at hand

Maybe a book one has meant

To return to


It must follow crisis

That’s too bad

Maybe in between

There was a celebration,

Maybe not


The thing about it all

Means that change is coming

In fact, it’s here

But before

We get directions,

Have the first planning meeting


There is this drink

And a few pages

From a book

One meant

To return to


C L Couch



Photo by Arseny Togulev on Unsplash


The Formal Feeling

The Formal Feeling

(title from Emily Dickinson)


Catharsis after tragedy

The sad rush we feel, knowing

The experience is over, that we got it


That it will not happen to us

And by the way

The community depicted now is stronger

It’s after the terrible and blessed

Have both transpired

And watchers leave the scene

(we leave the theatre)

To go home, chastened and relieved

It wasn’t us

They got their due

Their nation will be better

Let’s go home


It’s not closure

(what is)

For a future ticket will bring it all to

Action, opportunity, and desire

For mortal flaws to seed

And then to flourish

And are these analogues for

Life outside

Well, for those who must

Who will not learn

By mastery of organs or

Of language

Who will not hear

And will not heed delaying paradise

So not to have it at all


C L Couch



image from a production of Hamlet, 1899


Bread and Circuses

Bread and Circuses
(after a debate in 2016)

I know I’m not the only one
He yells into the microphone
Dismissing anyone he’s talking to
Sometimes with a literal wave

He wears too-long neon ties
And cannot carry a moment of
Dignity, let alone civility
Has he ever been polite a
Day in his life?

Yet he’s our front-runner
Why? Because he’s got us
Paying for it, and we’re buying
Him, his shtick, his cant

He reaches the mad part of us
(“Mad” in both ways)
He’s catharsis when he’s gone

But we’re acting as if
We want to elect him to stay

Writing Prompt: Describe your worst ever Thanksgiving meal.

while wrestling with recall, it turns out what should have been the worst day turned out not so bad–a terrible time, a moment of grace

Cathartic Thanksgiving Day

My worst Thanksgiving ever. Hmm, I can’t recall. Not that Thanksgivings were always grand. But they tended to be good. The years my mom was dying from cancer. I can’t imagine those Thanksgivings were good. I was trying to visit her in the hospital each day or taking care of her when home, trying to take care of the house, trying to work a job across the city.

But I think for the holidays my siblings came to town, and I had a holiday of sorts unto myself. I didn’t cook or do much of anything except sit still. And Thanksgiving Day was peaceful. Same thing at Christmas.

I probably felt tired and numb at heart. The constant pace of covering everything increasingly took its toll by coring out my spirit of enthusiasm, which I then learned to manufacture. I felt bound to provide for my mother and others, though more and more I felt little else. But it seems that in my memory of mind (though I wouldn’t trust myself to be my own life’s reliable narrator), I can recall the long table in the dining room space, all around the table the folk that I’m related to. Lots of containers filled with many things, turkey in the center, carved. Glasses we could make sing by rubbing fingers around the rim, which always bothered someone (I can’t recall whom). A hum of conversation with a layer of laughter on the top, like whipped topping on the pie. (Always more than one actual pie.)

A good day in a miasma of sad and difficult time. An anodyne. Better yet, a day of grace.

There would have been two such Thanksgiving days while my mom was sick. The third year I think maybe there was little celebrate or nothing at all. And within a year or so, I moved out, as everyone had gone before over several years’ time. Leaving my dad who later left on his own, too.

C L Couch

image from and Google Images

not dissimilar from our actual table; even the chandelier looks right, though our walls were white

now off to make a turkey sandwich

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