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Invitation to a Wake

(x = space)

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Invitation to a Wake

(with a toast)

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We invite ourselves to

A meeting of ourselves

To celebrate a life

No longer with us

With all the possibilities

Frustrated to resolve

This side of things

And we can’t drink ourselves

Into oblivion

Because oblivion has form

And so frustrates annihilation

Of our senses

Besides, we want

To remember

And with gratitude

Share memories,

Enumerate mortality

Until the count and everything

That counts

Is ready on both sides

x

To one or those no longer

But an absence,

Here are drinks

(one of these

per one of us)

To aid sensation that

We hope will aid selection

Of desired sun-and-shade

Remembrances

Of memory

To tell

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

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The Mystery of Richard Bruce

(x = space)

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The Mystery of Richard Bruce

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I think it’s Saturday

The twenty-eighth

I’m

I don’t

Really have to know

The sun is bright

Through filmy

(rented)

Windows

And on the dusty

Hardwood floor

(I can take

care of that)

And, well, he’s gone

Meeting God so closely

In ways we only

Imagine

And how much we do imagine

Is in the books

How much we want

To know

He was suffering

That’s over

I’m glad for that

Though catharsis should not be

The main reward

They know what to do

The professionals

My sister says

They’re really good people

Plus they know their jobs

The government

Has funded a good deal

Of everything that’s happened

Our tax dollars working

Is there one administration

Or another

To approve?

The family,

We talk with each other

And our friends

There won’t be a service

He made that clear

He approved a wake

An experience of drinking

And appreciation

Since we tend to be

Micks and Scots

And even if we weren’t

This gathering appeals

My sister

And her crew

(my brother-in-law and

nephew)

Had done so much already

The burden for

Being there

I guess I can relate

There was a lease

Apartment filled with furniture

A car

All the bureaucracy

That places our lives

In containment

Then the boxes must be emptied

When it’s time

There should be more

There must be more

There is

There is an end to pain

And remembrance

That’s on us

I’m trying to recall

His sense of humor

It will return

His last days might have

Been sullen

Save for staff

And asserting to my sister

He did not want

To be there

Though there was too much

To do

To allow for decent care

Anywhere else

Too much immobility

Too much medication

There are degrees

I understand

I made such decisions years ago

And do not like it

When there should be more

x

We’re down

To four now

In the immediacy

Of things

The math is weird

The hole

It feels substantial

Holes should have no feelings

Gaps are an absence,

After all

My feelings are dry and sad

Like edging on a desert

Upon waking

Or simply turning around

I want to feel grown-up

And I do

It is the wake that follows

A wave anticipated

Always a surprise

She’ll have the family in

One more burden

Though I think everyone

Will try to behave

(not a pub, you

know,

though even there)

We’ll ponder mysteries

Though I doubt

We’ll talk about them

Memories might be easier

We’ll look for something positive

Or funny

Or strange

He took off once

And I have no idea

What transpired

I was a child

I guess I wasn’t allowed

To know

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C L Couch

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My older brother Rick died on Thursday night. He died as if he were asleep, and I suppose he was. His last insistances were not to have a service and to have his ashes scattered (not held onto). A wake was approved.

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Photo by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash

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dispersed

(x = space)

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dispersed

(from the beginning of the book of James)

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we were together, Mom and Dad

(physical or meaningful)

now we are spread far

we can always say

the Romans did this

but there is our own

polemics

stranding us

separated

in a world driven by

its own prince

that drove Jesus

in the wilderness

from one arid part to another

x

I’m sorry we are no longer

together

though we have letters

we are the legacy of David, still

we are a people

and, as always,

we are family

I hope you are well where you are

I hope that work and food

come easily

I fear, because I know

such things are never certain

we came away with what we had

some maybe had accounts

and interests along the Mediterranean,

generally

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we live today

and in the Messianic time

and must take hope in that

God will return

God also waits for us

like the shepherd by the

clear stream,

both to beckon

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and God is with us, now

with love

x

with love,

this note from your child

we all are children now

again

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c l couch

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James is a brief letter in the Christian New Testament; the pastor preached on James this morning at Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana (USA)

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photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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Familiarize

(x = space)

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Familiarize

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It’s my brother’s birthday

I have brothers

I have a sister

So do you

We’re in this together

What did Franklin say,

We hang together

Or we or each hang

Separately

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That may sound crass

I may

A side-swipe at togetherness

I wish there were more

x

I wish there were more

Friendliness

Maybe in the Midwest

Or the South

You know

x

You know

The easy kind of

Hi, how-are-you kind

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And for a moment

We mean it

Then move on

As if we all were brothers

And a sister

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Our people

One by one

A crowd

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C L Couch

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Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

Street of Delhi, India.

Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi, India

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Blessings of Lights in Darkness

(x = space)

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Blessings of Lights in Darkness

(appreciation of a Gentile toward the Jewish family)

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Somewhere in Advent

Hanukkah begins

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Sundown tomorrow,

I believe

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Eight nights of blue

With silver lights

That dedicate

The temple

From our enemies

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They’re gone:

We don’t have to think

About them

x

Now, there’s chocolate

And treats

In games

And gifts,

Small delights

And big ones for the heart

x

Anticipation

Practice

Family

x

My ignorance

Like ignorance

Has walls;

I’d rather be inside

The spirit of redemption

And occasion,

The community

x

The relief in having realized

Somber times

x

The pleasure now,

The fun

Of shalom

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Eight days

Of miracle,

Of remembrance and the meaning that

Creation is in food

Also in candle lights

And in each of us

Singly

And specially together

Now

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The one who saves is blessed

And offers blessing

And is the one

As one

Who provides seriously

And playfully as well

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Is here

Beyond the count of days

And nights

But who is here

Inside these eight,

All the intimate hours

As we draw near to them

To have,

To share

x

Next year in Jerusalem

Then

And now with family

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From the source of blessing,

Bless

And

Keep you, friends

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C L Couch

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Call of the Light

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

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Cancerous

(x = space)

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Cancerous

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We’ve been five

Soon we will be four

That is the prognosis

Palliation

Hospice

These are discussed

And sought

For him

x

Out of order

Since he’s not the oldest

In mere math of life

It could have been me

I’m the one with the machine

To keep me going

But I guess

(today’s not over)

It’s not me

(for now)

x

The math doesn’t matter

Not important

Math matters elsewhere

In the dosage

Of his medication

In the number of his place

In the hospital

His apartment number

To which they say

He will not be returning

x

It’s not me

It’s him

He is important now

But I have to say

It’s been a problem all along,

Frankly, with me

I don’t know how to lose

A brother

x

And has he ever learned

To live with this

I’d say so

A mystery he did resolve

Through work

Through home

Maybe through old movies

He knows so well

x

And one day

All shall be all

God bless everyone

Who tries

Who’s trying now

One by one

Who practices with grace,

Each fitness for heaven

That shall be judged

By perfect love intending

Hoping that

Full health to be restored

x

God bless everyone

God bless each one

God bless Rick

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C L Couch

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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The Latest

(x = space)

x

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The Latest

(family things)

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My brother’s in the hospital

I’m not sure what that means

He fell

I know that much

He spent the night outside,

Which I think must mean

There’s trauma

x

A body worked too hard

A body with cancer worked too hard

A neighbor saw him in the morning

And called 911

He’s hundreds of miles away

And he’s in the hospital

In downtown Pittsburgh

My sister says the hospital is good

Urban, smart, efficient

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Everyone knows their jobs

And what to do for him

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Now we know

We’re standing by

Something will happen

And we’ll all come in

It doesn’t have to take an ending

He simply needs to be in one place

Or another

For a time

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What contemporary medicine allows

And Medicare affords

A rehab center

For new fractures

While his cancer’s tended

And he

And everyone

Must deal with that

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We’ve been out there

When and where shall we go now?

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I’ve rattled all this off

Because

I don’t know how to be ready

For what’s next

I wish I had resources

Of all kinds

x

Family things

Obviously

Certainly (to push on

the conceit) I don’t mind

If you know

x

If you pray,

Maybe you’ll pray

I believe the power in that

God bless him

And help us all

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C L Couch

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

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The Killings in Thailand

(x = space)

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The Killings in Thailand

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They were brought

Juice and popcorn,

Dolls

Everything they’d need,

The children at the daycare center

x

But this was funereal

The children had

Died

Killed by a madman who killed

Others, too

Killed his family

Lastly, himself

x

The families brought juice and popcorn,

Dolls

Snacks and toys

To the daycare center

For the children to enjoy their day

x

Everyone had been to the temples

Then they came here

x

Come back home

Come back with us

x

The parents

Parents and the living family members

Said

Pleaded

Cried

While exuding dignity,

Respect

For everyone

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Come back home

Come back with us

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They were there

At the daycare

Leaving presents, organic things

Symbolic things

The children would have used

At their age

For their lives

In the daycare

x

Everyone had been to the temples

More to follow there

Now they are here

x

Come back home

Come back with us

x

They can’t;

Insanity

And criminality

Has taken them

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Spirits

Journey

Hard

But shall be

Reunited

Wrongful death

Owns no victory

The children

Other victims

Know this now

They shouldn’t have to

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C L Couch

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Photo by Charlotte Seo on Unsplash

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Prevarication

(x = space)

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Prevarication

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How do I write about my brother

Again

And be ready one more time?

The doctor gave him time

Then that was it,

The doctor said

. . .

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C L Couch

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Photo by jules a. on Unsplash

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