I talk you talk we'll talk




(x = space)





Men retreat

Women advance

Children waiting

They play

An idea forms

A dream invented

All go toward

An interpretive horizon

Until the line and

Agenda are released

And all go home

With marbles

So many

You would not believe


C L Couch



Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash


Surgent Prophecy

(x = space)



Surgent Prophecy




Crushes at the border


Surgency of variants

Afghanistan has fallen

To a group we have called


Though a while ago

Alliant in and as the



Farther east in Asia

There is disease

There is prison

For dissidents


Sounds like end times

Too many will believe

One of the riders is

Pestilence, another


Famine and Death—and

We can make a case for



So is this the start

Of the end,

Of apocalypse, Parousia?

Could be

Probably not

Against the march of days

That has marched and

Most likely

Will march on

But who knows?

Someone who we are not


We can be ready

It’s not a matter

Of bunkers

But of the spirit

Are we loving animals

(and do we love

our animals)?

Are we ready for straight roads

For the coming of the monarch

Over land

Or under sea

Or through the air?

Will we have good stewardship

Reports to make

About the

Earth that has been our charge?


Well, we’ll see

About it all

Though our part

Is ready now






Plant and move around

What will grow anew

And what will grow forever


C L Couch



Burning Down the House

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Kittitas, WA, USA


3 brief poems for the new year

3 brief poems for the new year

(x = space)



May I Sell You a Machine?

(end of December)


According to commercials

At this time of year,

We should be losing weight


Grinding on exercise machines,

Finding our food in a box,

Engaging meditation maybe

Thirty seconds, maybe



I suppose the box companies

Are doing well

And companies that make

Machines—I wonder

That machines are always doing well


We lose weight,

They weigh us down






God, help us in new years

Whenever they begin

In calendars,

In life


When someone dies,

When someone comes to life


Because she or he is born,

Because there is a return

To life

After pain, as she says


When the formal feeling comes

And something after



Our Sci-Fi Lives


Now is the science-fiction time,

Far enough into

The twenty-first century

That we may have some expectations

For reverse magnetism

And anti-gravity


For cities in the air and mining solely

By machines, enough that humans

Have jobs again

In new alliances


But we know how to fix it, at least

I hope we do,

The Earth that we have harmed;

And when we go, the missions we take

With us will not harm



C L Couch



I was a suburban kid but grew up in or near mining and steel-making country.  And our city fell apart when the industries fell apart.  If they could come back in local and safe ways, I should be relieved and very glad.


After great pain, a formal feeling comes –

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –

The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’

And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

. . .

Emily Dickinson


Photo by Fabrício Severo on Unsplash

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Bishop Street, The Lough, Cork, Irlanda


Future Tense

Future Tense


Mostly, I’m hoping

Some of this will lie around

Like Claudius’s second copy

According to the novel

To be found under an urn

Behind a shelf that no one sought

To look (behind)

For ages


That dusting off

(however that’s done

with electrons)

There will be some words

From someone we didn’t know

Maybe some initials,

Half a word for clues


We’ll read

And have two sets of wondering:

What was this person saying then?

What is this person saying now?

The first we’ll most likely

Never know

The second will be up to us

We own the words, now


C L Couch



(I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves)

Photo by Tistio on Unsplash


To the One Who’s Typing Now

To the One Who’s Typing Now

(regarding futures)


I mistype a number

And it’s 2029

I mistype again

It’s 3029

Maybe 3129

Let’s make it 3159

So each number’s new

Now let’s consider our world

Should we still have it

Should we be here


A thousand years to get it right

Maybe we’ve refined

Profit at last

A personal fruition of one’s


The happiness of that

Is a profitable life

Each one contributes out of joy

Not that we won’t make mistakes

We will

And I’m not sure where

Ego’s gone


We’ll need more materials

Stop wrecking Earth to have them

We might be digging into Mars

And asteroids

Still needing to learn

The cosmos is not for digging

And for slicing up

Maybe other leaseholders

Will have shown by then

To live that

For us


Despotism might be a deserved

Anachronism by then

Democracy gain such momentum

That we will have it

And no other way

Maybe there was

A final fight for freedom

Last and only monuments

Only to us

And worth remembering


The state of the human soul

Might not have changed at all

We might have evolved so that

Ancillary things such as those

At the ends of fingers

And of toes

Might have grown off

Nature evolving, too

Harder trees and rocks

Like crystal steel

Water that will no longer

Be prodded

Nature’s having learned as well

That living with us

Is inimical

We will be peers

If never really allies

We might have learned that

Nature’s soul deserves

Respecting, too


As for God

No need for changing there

Immutability required

Maybe Armageddon,

Maybe no one came to play

Maybe God will have reason

To smile a little

All the time

Weep less for Earth and us

Maybe show up, now and then

Because divine invisibility

Will have lost some

Of its doctrine

With its need


Will we be happy,

Feel fulfilled?

Goodness, I don’t know

Once everyone is fed

And money doesn’t mean

Withholding shelter

Banks off our backs

Having failed at climbing on us

To deceive with interest

(not only banks—the corporations

so this way and politics)

Maybe when we understand

That lunacy means not providing

Water safe to drink

And we don’t want to be lunatics


The world will, what do you know,

Be a better place

Commercials and song lyrics

Have it right

We’ll still be dying,


But letting go will be done

In a circle

With fewer things to worry over,



We’ll be a thousand years ahead

Human nature adapting

One can hope

Yes, I know, everything could go

The other way

The devil be in charge, at last

Though that be madness, too

Over non-corporeality

We might have even learned through games

That the body is important

(learned sadly by the wrecking of it)

That matter is

A crucial count of atoms

That heavenward means substance

Hell has none of

Not even an electron

No covalence there


Both abstract and solid mean something

Something wonderful

We’ll have our fears

To face

Maybe at last we’ll face them

Some challenges might be greater

Maybe you wouldn’t

(I don’t know)

But I’d like to see, to hear, to touch

To taste, to smell

To sense the future

Maybe it will be part of the tour

An astral orientation

For what truly happens next


C L Couch



Photo by Jorik Kleen on Unsplash

Rågeleje, Denmark


The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives


My best for years

Wasn’t nearly enough

I’m slouching toward Jerusalem

The holy city where the ages crash

Enough of sailing to Byzantium

That fell so long ago


With what is left

The modern age done years back

What does one call the next age

But the next age, as we have done?

No more girls in water

Sparking epiphanies (ironically through


No more women beating men

To vote to have

The rudiments of politics

And understanding

I think they should rule—the

Women, not the politics


New happens with each day

There’s always change

Those who say there’s not

Who want all angles to be retrograde

Know nothing of the physics,

The inevitability of slopes that go

The other way

And energy with them


Africa is where the church is growing

And south of South America

Parts of India and Asia, even though

(please, not because)

It’s beaten down

Atheism rises, and why not?

Though I think agnosticism steers

The ship of state

Searching for a port

It knows is there


I think formlessness might be

The way,

Since doctrine has been brutal

In its application

And a ruthless form of righteousness

Where is love,

The orphan asked

He sung

And she responded

It is all around you,

Though mortality can end it all

It appears, my dear


Therefore go for what is real

Hold on, though not so tightly

The goodness cannot breathe


C L Couch



(title from the movie directed by William Wyler

Yeats is also relied on at the beginning

a musical toward the ending)


Photo by Fazel on Unsplash

Mazandaran Province, Unnamed Road, Iran


A Game

A Game


There is a game

To play now and then

It’s called the future

Something blank is all that’s needed

Not even paper

An open book

Or tabletop will do

But keep it empty

Then place a thought inside

And then another

You will lose your way, and that’s all right

You’ve won by then!

Maybe play again

Or realize



C L Couch



Photo by Wolfgang Rottmann on Unsplash


Peace for All Time

Peace for All Time

(a three-part cycle)



Machine Language


Each moment’s a decision

To exhale,

To circulate some blood

To let the body stir for a while longer

To let the synapse burn

Brightly with mind-fire,

Transactions between what’s happening

And memory

Much of this is done for us

But there’s a partnership, I think

Between all parts

The automatic will take over for

The temporary

When immediacy of thought and movement

Are tired out

Call it sleep

Call it the second cup of tea

Taken on the porch

When for a time there’s nothing else to do

And this has been invoked

Because needed,

The ending of which we’ll debate


Peace an invention,

A transaction

Between all partners

Serving on the inside





I won’t take it back

Not yet

I need to know the outcome,

Did I get anything I wanted


If penance is a prayer,

I’ll do my part

If it’s in bad feeling,

I’m already there

And counting


A return to normalcy

And what is that

It takes me out of this

Otherwise, I want

The special moments back


But it’s the future, now




Say them with me, maybe

All the prayers,

Then let’s move on



The Answer Is in Someone Else as Well


Inner peace

That’s cool

It’s not enough

If I’m in my chrysalis

And have no sight of yours

Or time


Where is my peace

If not in you?

This is cheating an invocation,

For it’s not a talk to God

But to you

The one nearby

And not inside

We need transaction, too

And more


You need to carry me

And I a part of you

A magic story in which twins

Keep a gem lit by the light force

Of the other

And there’s responsibility


In our story,

We will partner differently

That is, for real

Not to prevaricate conditions

But to say push on

Make peace because

We know each other now

To arbitrate


And there’s no other way

To build the day

That each must have

Into a present contract

As the future


C L Couch



Photo by Jarrod Reed on Unsplash


And Now a Word

And Now a Word


And now for something spiritual

I wrote about the rain

And something about poets’ politics

But what about ethereal


The gossamer wings that haunt

My nether vision because I want

To see them now

I want to meet my guardian

And any other sponsors

I want to have Jesus or any of his

Colleagues to visit me

I can make some coffee

And serve toast


I want the cross to mean something to me

Or any other totem

Should I have it wrong

Not an item blank against the wall

I bought on sale somewhere


I want it to be over

I want it to begin

If only it were only about me

Because what I want is solid


No more of a story without ending

One chapter more, one chapter more

Bring on Armageddon but

Only if it’s civil

We know it’s only been a metaphor

All along


I’ll call up a gentle apocalypse, thank you

Deliver it on time

Draw up ranks on either side

There are those who will never believe

Too bad



I’ll conjure up new places

And activities for the faithful

What, there’s more to do in heaven?

I don’t think so


And so apostacy is earned

For simply being stupid

For calling on God

When God’s not ready

When official victory

With concomitant defeats

Must be held off now

Until a better ruler says so

She’ll have the better prophet with her

Who will know what’s what

And how to say it, really


C L Couch



Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash


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