I talk you talk we'll talk




(x = space)




(for Mandy Shunnarah)


It’s Wednesday

And a hump day

Too many cases breaking out

Al-Qaeda talking up Afghanistan

Fires in California

New Apple phones

Unveiled there

I need shoes

More importantly a place to live

Local friends are helping

And good thoughts

Come from everywhere

Faroff family stands by

I’m eaten up with nerves

They eat me

Consume the calm

Like the noise above

That means I’m leaving

After many years

Too many jobs

That took up all

My energy allotment


And my attempts to rest

And now


Accosted with all that


My heart needs fixing up


This should not

Be all for me

Too many people

Have revocable need

I pray

Others help

With worldly substance

So much more than I have

But this should not be for me

In what I cannot do

It’s to put out fires

Help first-responders

Let go those

Who have no perspective

Build up health


It’s true

And I must ask

For all of us


C L Couch



Mandy Shunnarah has been writing about skateboarding and skateboarding—forthcoming book, Midwest Shreds: Skaters and Skateparks of Middle America from Belt Publishing (fall 2022).  Hers is a positive, inclusive, encouraging voice.


Skateboard on Dry Lakebed

Photo by Kelsey Dody on Unsplash

Alvord Desert, Oregon, USA


Love Song of the Mendicant

(x = space)



Love Song of the Mendicant


I sit by the side

Begging bread for my bowl

I drink thin liquid,

Hoping to sustain me

Is it Egypt

Of long ago,

A curb in Cairo

Or in Rome

Or New York City?


We dream,

And in our dreams

We look for many things

Gold, perhaps—

More so for love, I think

The love of God

Of one another

Of those we know

And those we knew

Who have been away

For a long while,




We wake

And everything begins again

We are cast outside

By the world’s demand

To beg for bread

And something cool

To drink

And that, with enough,

We can share with


In our group,

With our family


C L Couch



Photo by Viviane Okubo on Unsplash

Palhano, Brazil


Folding Expectations

(x = space)



Folding Expectations

(thanks to Meg and Madeleine L’Engle)


There’s a physics

In the characters

Who wake up late

And join each other

In the kitchen


Eating liverwurst-and-onion


And discussing tesseract,

Other functions and ideas,

The day,

The world,

And each other


I can’t pardon their menu

But I applaud the way

They spend secret,

Winking time


Wrinkling it,

To say,

Slipping a dynamo

Inside hours that pass

Most of us as



I long to sit

At Meg’s table

Then join her

Sometimes with siblings

On the seeing rock

Out back


C L Couch



photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano on Unsplash

gym ceiling in sao paulo, brasil


Wolf Gang

(x = space)



Wolf Gang

(winter song)


Up and down

The streets at night

Back and forth

Across the city

We go for what we want

We don’t care about

The human race

Except as a resource

For the things

We need


It’s winter time,

Our favorite time

We take what we need

You could wish

For a gang as this

Keep wishing


We owe no one anything

We take what

Evolution dictates

Our strength

Is a number, only

Each of us

Would rather be alone

As our howl sings

At the break of day


We are wolves

We are alone

We haunt

The human mind

We break apart

To make each one

A scoundrel of the day

Then we sleep

We sleep long hours

Then when

The weakling day is done

We wake up to

The power of night



And none of this

Is true

We are families

And our power’s for

Our children

And the pack


We mate for life

We do not wander

Unless the food is far away

You might fear us

We need our teeth and jowls

And a howl that sings

We know you’re there

We sing

To each other


What we want

Is life together

You ruin all our seasons

In the land


When you can’t hear,

We also cry to Earth

To punish you

And save us


C L Couch



This is a response to a prompt:  Katie writes fantastically about winter and folklore, self-awareness and the growth of self.  The prompt is for the season, and there are many good cues there from which to choose.  An opportunity to express (and thus enhance) creative health in winter.


Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash


Please follow me on Instagram! @chrishenry


Old Poodle Plays Elsewhere

Old Poodle Plays Elsewhere


His breed lives to ten

He made it to seventeen

Not by force of will

But by force of being silly

He didn’t know his job

Was to stay alive

He was simply having fun

Goofing around in mortality

Wanted what he wanted,

Which is what dogs want

Except he never asked

To be taken seriously

Maybe inside, there always was

A puppy brain


At last, the canine version

Of Charon must show up

Taking dog treats for a coin

And he will join Old Dachshund

In the field

That bears no blood

Though there’s hunting

Good sunlight

Where play and sleep have been



Here on Earth, there are empty

Cushions and certain corners

Remembering to take bowls up off

Floor and resist the urge

To fill them

Not to listen for a bark

Or nails upon hard surfaces

Or take all the licks he wasn’t

Supposed to give


Two more dogs for paradise

While we remain in our station

Good-bye, Old Poodle

Say hi to Dachshund for us

Enjoy all the things

You can enjoy again


C L Couch



Image by Katrina_S from Pixabay





I wake up and no one’s


The noises of the house remain

My sister’s probably in her office

On a conference call

My brother-in-law in the master

Bedroom getting ready

What a brief time it takes

To get used to company

It all feels strangely empty

The house without its people

I have entered from another place

Where loneliness is normal

But I have changed

In such a short time

I’ve picked up sibling silence

And placed it in my pocket


C L Couch



Photo by JAYAKODY ANTHANAS on Unsplash


Frank Families

Frank Families



They tried daylight ways

We wouldn’t let them go; we

Made them hide ’til found


C L Couch



image in the public domain


news story,




(Advent or anytime)


This is my country now

We brutalize the families

At the border

And the young who attack them

We can remember what

This did to us in Viet Nam

If we want to

The enemy had wrecked the families

First, and then we had

To finish its work

It was strategy

What is this?

What child is this?


For every war we cause with someone


We make it harder for the Christ child

Or any child

Any family

To come here


C L Couch




This photograph by @Reuters shows the United States of America firing tear gas at women and children.


Near-Dead Reckoning

Near-Dead Reckoning


If I had children

To rear (that used to be the proper

Word), I’ve little doubt

I’d treasure some time apart, now

And then

There’s a story of the mother of my



She was going to walk

Around the hundred-acre wood

Her son asked to go

And she said no

But when I return

Welcome me

As if I had been gone far

Away for a long time


Nowadays what guilt the mom or dad

Must feel to know

That children are taken from their

Parents with no returning



The parents now are criminals, they’ll say

Trying to enter by

Liberty’s calling


The children are caged, too


Everyone is guilty, by the way

Not one of us gets off

Unless we’re trying


God will accept a prayer

To bring entire families

Along with sanity

To what has been happening


My father’s people were

Here to tie

Up the ships of all the rest

My mother’s people, there’s a problem

Only a few generations here

So I’ll

Have to take my chances


Warming up to say

That without family

Without the value placed

Up on the shelf in pride of place


That what have we of home

A nation of all promises

Is dust collecting

In an empty place


I don’t have all the answers

I don’t know all the rest

But I think impracticality also

Becomes illicit

When we break the bond

That promises compound reckoning

The nuclei destroyed

Hostility left to orbit like

Errant electrons



And sing-songy

Yes, I know


But there it is, I’ll ‘fess up,

And if you’ve come this far

We can go farther


C L Couch (/jpg)


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