I talk you talk we'll talk



Hearting R.B.G.

(x = space)


Hearting R.B.G.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Has died

And we should be sad

Not clawing over each other

Rending into politics

For her replacement

On the bench

She died

At the end of the last year

It being Rosh Hashanah



The thing that lurks

In the swamps of Washington, D.C.

Has not praised her

As much as it

Can only praise itself

Older, white, male, fat, ugly

She was slender and knew


To live her age

And beyond her age


A person for the ages

And for agelessness


I hope for the court in heaven

She is excused

Having served already

An eternity on Earth for

All pre-heaven people,

Though God and she could

Talk about

All the thorny cases

Here on Earth

Two old, wise, strong, gentle souls

Who understand

Each day’s re-creation of

Love, justice

Love for justice


C L Couch



Photo by Casey Clingan on Unsplash

Purvis, United States

This is a shot that I took from my front yard of the Great American Eclipse of 2017.


A Now That Must Also Look Ahead

A Now That Must Also Look Ahead


It’s Tuesday

It’s a nuthin’ day

A sick day

Among sick days

The novelty’s worn off

Some learning’s needed

With the cooking

And the cleaning

The boxing

(of both kinds)

All the games that

Walls and cyber-walls allow

Thank goodness, we can

Look outside and go there


There’s real talking, too

In many ways

A face to face

That’s a comfort

And we learn from this

A different kind

Of schooling, maybe

There are books

Paper and pencil, too

Or let them be totems for

Pens or the electron kind,

What it all might represent

The faces

All the forms


We can through this, now

Until the angel passes

Our own kind of rite

The Jewish own so well


Singing for pass-over

Blood upon the lintel

Chair for the prophet, should

The prophet come to call

Food, some of it with bitter herbs

But everything we need

For the journey

Into such desert and

At last

A homeland


The Passover is family

Each tradition has its form

And if we have none,

What better time than pandemic’s

For making something new?

For the world needs cleaning

Not a purging

But a dusting off

Soap and water

Disinfectant for the worst

While we wait


And wait

With everything that passes over


Having something of the new


Maybe inexorably, ineffably

Once shared,

New ritual

Based on care for what we’ve learned

Of who we’ve been

And who we are

Again and for the first time


As for death and mourning,

Each tradition knows that well

And those without

However we might feel

I don’t know how to count

While others do

Remember, in the future,

It was this kind of plague

I might not be here

Or another witness

Closer and more qualified

You’ll have to have a story

Back to learning, again

Sad lessons

And tragic

And a void

We learn this other kind of life

Lived through emptiness

It is time for a wake, the Irish say

(who also know bread

and bitter herbs for sin and hope,

Irish Jews more so)

Though this party if too big

Too many coffins to line up

Along the bar

What the dead drink

Will do nothing for a tab

Only take coins in readiness for

Ferry pilots

Announced by banshees


These groups I know a little of

You have your own

And stories

Set them down and tell them

Try not to worry about variants

They happen

There is a narrative here

Part of the story of the Earth

If we tell it well,

The Earth might weep

For us


C L Couch



Photo by David T on Unsplash

Serifos, Greece


Holey Week 3





Hold anger around

Visit with the silverbacks

To promise mourning

K is for Kalliope

K is for Kalliope


Transliterated from old Greek,

Eldest and leader of the Muse

Sisters, Muse of song and

Public articulation—in other

Words, speech-delivery


She had a son, an artful maker,

Too—he was killed; and his

Mother took his remains to

Enshrine them on Lesbos, an

Ancient isle, which we might

Visit today


Were she to sing in our

Parlance and with our take

On life’s matters:


I inspire your song and speech

And go unrecognized


Most no longer believe that

Mortal skills come from a sacred



I might sing again, though first

Would be the labor in mourning

For all I have lost


My boy, who was murdered

For envy or rage (I care not

Which) and whose grave

Molders in an island pit bereft

Of laurel leaves


Orpheus, as well my son,

Whose sanctioned journey into

Hell yet lost him his wife in

Petty business of Hades and

The underworld’s rule (I

Respect them not)—his life was

Left to sorrow like mine


And your interest? Why would

Gods matter to you?  All

Divinity is mitigated in belief,

Mostly unexpressed, that you

Shall save yourselves—




You will need us, still

Burnt Cabins, Pennsylvania

Burnt Cabins,



We’ve suffered

A local tragedy

That might never

Be explained

Even if a reason’s



We have a super



First “super


Is the Pennsylvania

Turnpike, and

A retired trooper

Of the state

Police tried a

Robbery at one

Of the stations



Between small

Towns in the

Allegheny Mountains,

Two workers

Are taken, held

By his gun,

Until the truck

Arrives to gather

Monies from the

Turnpike tolls


The theft occurs

And fails, the

Captives shot

And killed; the


Suspect is killed,



Serving troopers

Prepared and

assigned, had

Arrived to restore

An aberrant,

Criminal scene

Back to ordinary


Nothing ordinary

Anymore here:

With tears, the

Deaths are told


Each word

Sounding like

The heavy note

Of a mourning



Sadness ringed

Round sadness,

As voices split

To tell


It will be a

Story of


And the sorrow

Brought to many

Kinds of

Families, and

It might pass

From focused



But here was a

Neighbor tragedy

On persons who

Will not

Appear in their

Expected places

At work or at



And others living

Who will never

Be the same


A chance for

Money maybe

Too easy a

Reason for all

That befell

Close by—I

Tend to believe


Something else

About surrendering

Life happened


Psalm 17, a difficult song about mourning

Psalm 17
a difficult song about mourning

Lord, how do we mourn
in a free land? How do
we allow atrocity and

still have the freedom
to choose? We do not
cry in empty space: but

our crying would be worse
in a revenge-wrought iron
land, where security

would be the only aim
and no one would have
open air to breathe

or drop tears for the
dead and for the living.
We must choose to

choose. Not to allow
evil or to destroy
democracy. Mourning

and breathing while we
arm, yes, and await
evil’s annihilate implosion.

For now we choose, in
a free place, to bear
the weight of death—in

nations wounded and in
the raw-split parts
of the human heart.

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