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over 40,000

(x = space)

x

x

over 40,000

x

who is left after

are

the broken-hearted

inside broken-bodied

those left who

never believe

in anything

anymore

x

those who have no buildings left

houses or offices

or warehouses

and so sleep inside

if supplied

canvas or nylon

maybe with a floor

maybe not

or in a wide and tall shelter

that might have been

something else

in days

that we do not believe in anymore

x

earth for ground

which for many

isn’t new at all

x

my city’s count

of people gone

razored rubbled stones too big

for anyone or a small group

to lift

even though a noise is heard

or sign or life is seen

or was it imagined

x

we must wait

for healthy people

big machines

waiting on either side

clichés belied

a fresh hell

too late

too little

though

we will get to each other

whatever

living status

notwithstanding

x

there is a border

do we care

tribes

as we knew tribes

who lived in places

x

without places

where

is home

x

it’s nowhere

there is nothing

not even peace

of a flat nothingness

there is so much

cracked rock

torn sheets of metal

splintered glass

and

split ground

x

metal, plastic, cloth

pieces to remove

maybe to inventory

but first

to look and hear

and touch and taste

and smell

for signs of life

x

if there are signs of recognition

(sounds official)

any part that was alive

a writhing shape

or something

monstrously creative

for flesh

and bone

and everything that

moved

in health

not designed

in making

x

it’s visceral

and horrible

to contemplate

x

and here they are

he

she

they

and us

then lifted up

and carried

to wherever

whatever

might be left of us

to carry

and to set down

by the victims

walking

driving

bearing

with newcomers

myriad

with everything inside

that should be inside

shelters

and bodies for shelters

x

time for work

and for embraces

and feeding pets

that also

have been found

x

we must count

though all

for help

if horribly

piecemeal

whole

in-part

surprises

when we find

each other

as we find

each other

x

miracles

or awful

(without awe)

revelation

x

two nations

and all families

in shock

material and flesh

therein

all rived apart

enormous pieces

and so small

like mortal

or like venal

sin

x

we are tired

we are so tired

marrow-tired

yet we lift

like eyes to hills

with all the senses

sensing

and our muscles

weeping

like our faces

and our souls

x

hoping

fearing

to find anything

for what we’ve found

and know

so far

x

the definition

of a living hell

new definitions

ghastly or ghostly

(grim humor

or humors

medieval inquest drawn out)

for the victims

and the victims

x

nature and people

where is evil

maybe nowhere

maybe do not care

but as we can

and for the good

with what we have

get over there

x

c l couch

x

x

photo by xander ashwell on unsplash

x

Shadowlands

(x = space)

x

x

Shadowlands

x

Plato

C. S. Lewis

My hand by

The computer light

Shadows with shadows,

I suppose

With something firmer

On the other side

That could be relied on

For an eternity

Something waiting

Something inspiring

An ideal

A world of ideals

That’s what we learned

In school

So what have we here?

Which world shimmers

For the other

Though we presume

The other world’s better?

What do we sense here?

What do we make?

What lasts?

We have our treasures

And we try to keep them

We use guards

We have alarms

Things might fade anyway

Or break

And we keep making

Stockpiling art

With care

In both kinds of caves

Like those who aren’t so well-

Obsessed with money

Or better

With a hope for all

The way we might stockpile food

And why not

Against the day

Except for exigent hunger

(there should be enough

for both)

x

Yet if they’re right

We’ll have it all again

Art and food

Anything of profit

By virtue,

Perfect there

And permanent

And with ourselves, perhaps,

Polished and redeemed

As on this side

We sometimes polish

Precious metal with

Satisfaction after

That self-effacing

Might be and become

A shimmering

Evangelism:

Grand art, you see,

And easy,

Arduous science

For both

x

C L Couch

x

x

the verse alludes to Plato’s allegory of the cave

x

the title is a term that is a metaphor for mortal life

x

Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

x

‘Scape

‘Scape

 

A knoll of pine trees

Tops too tall to see

A circle implied

Because there is a seat

At zero point

 

And snow falls:

Flakes congealed into comic blobs

That fall in quiet plops

On branches and,

When straighter, onto

The granite surface

 

The needly floor,

Covering a sleepy earthen

Solemn way to

Narnia or Middle Earth

 

No lamppost,

Elf, or orc, either, only a winter

Day on planetary sides

Where worlds meet

 

A place made up

And does exist

For I am here

 

C L Couch

 

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