I'll talk you'll talk we'll talk



Proportional Response

(x = space)



Proportional Response


It’s an eye for eye

Without, we hope,

Everyone going blind


But then the blind we have,

Over-sensate in four ways,

Might have to lead


The only ones who know

How to have sight

Without the eyes


C L Couch




By Airman 1st Class Chad Warren – US Air Force Public Affairs [1], Public Domain,

A flight of F-15C Eagles from the flies during a solar eclipse in Okinawa July 22, 2009.


Book War

(x = space)



Book War



It happens

When a group

Has a code

That is set down

For day-to-day

And legacy


It took place with

The Quran

The evening of

The morning

When there was

Certitude that

There would be

A new



The Christian Bible

Set off conflict

With each change,

Each schism

Set to fighting

Over what to do

For faith

And what the book

Of faith should say


Not to mention

All the agnostica

Falling ‘round

The faithful


How many books

In the book?

Sixty-six or seventy-two with

All that should be in

Sixty-six or seventy-two


My version’s better

My translation

My paraphrase

No, mine

No, mine


Said with authority

No one outside commends

So we will need an army

Defending ink,


And brittle generations


A Bible war

Could be fun for trivia

On pub night

But not to justify

The raping of


Christians thieving Christians

Or the books

That fuel internal fires

Burning up Jerusalem

For faith


Now, it seems

The Jewish book

For faith

Kept growing


While some groups

For their faith

Don’t keep a book at all


To say the least,

There’s fondness for a text

But to justify—well,

We’ve heard good things about

A declaration

And a constitution

And a touchstone


We should not fight about it

But leave room

As at the table

After dinner


Or the second half

Of sermons,

Engagement that most folk

Forget or remember

In leaving off




If we write

And publish,

Pass around,

We should talk about it


Since pages are not


(altars are not altars)

And there’s always trouble

With our idols when

In idolatry


C L Couch



Photo by Drew Murphy on Unsplash

Johannesburg, South Africa

I was on a work shoot in a suburban church in Johannesburg. I took a walk around and noticed this soft light spilling onto the pews. Immediately I knew I should get a Bible and place it there. To me this image speaks of the gentle peace that can be found in the midst of a crazy world.



(x = space)





It’s not as if we haven’t

Heard of war before


It’s all around us, if we look

Around as a world


There are civil wars in Yemen

And in Syria;

We have sent weapons to these

For the profit

And the power


They fight each other in Lebanon,

In South Sudan


Soldiers and often terrorists

In their own uniforms

Barely removed from uniformity


And there the war

Of oppression,

Fought inside nations such

As those in Asia

And in the USA—

Call it something better,

If you wish,

If you must


It’s not a peaceful world

But know peace:

We’ve heard of it,

We learn it,

And we teach it


We negotiate

As if we deal with children

And sometimes with children


There is an age

We have an age

When will the prophecy

Be Monday


C L Couch

(from the USA)



Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash



(x = space)





I’m not sure what to say

It’s been a day

I slept in bouts and woke up

Very tired

I got some coffee for the

Caffeine and the ritual

I started writing, trying to find

A way through the events that matter

Seasons and ideas

What might move us

One by one and as a people

Of the planet, who for now have

Such a nascent idea of

Who of Earth we are

Thousands of years in groups,

The rise and fall

Sometimes extinction

Through disaster,

Sometimes disaster through conquest

Then the conquered fall

Harry Lime says

The Borgias had war

And sponsored the Renaissance

While the Swiss had peace

And only produced the cuckoo clock

Great striving

Requiring great tyranny

Do you believe that?

I don’t,

And Harry was taken in a sewer

Underneath Vienna, by the way

Peace is a practical

Possibility—of course, it is

Think how much does not

Have to be destroyed

Except for fear

In tyranny

In peace, there is plenty

There is art as well

I think Harry also forgot about how

Art is patronized and how

Patronage does not need

A dictator’s purse

Coffered by the people, anyway


Can we imagine having

Everything we need?

Do we think it would be over,

The human drive?

I think we would explore

What is beyond crushing need

In a universe,

A universe,

With which we haven’t started

Beyond machines

Impartial theories

Take away the bullies

And concomitant destruction,

There is finally a chance

For everything


C L Couch



The Third Man, a film directed by Carol Reed, written by Graham Greene

Greene wrote the novella of the same name as preparation for the screenplay. Anton Karas wrote and performed the score, which featured only the zither. The title music “The Third Man Theme” topped the international music charts in 1950, bringing the previously unknown performer international fame. The Third Man is considered one of the greatest films of all time, celebrated for its acting, musical score and atmospheric cinematography.

Halliwell, Leslie and John Walker, ed. (1994). Halliwell’s Film Guide. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-273241-2. p 1192 [cited at Wikipedia]


By PunkToad from oakland, us – Cardinal Cuckoo ClockUploaded by clusternote, CC BY 2.0,

Cardinal Cuckoo Clock, 126 1st Ave. Minneapolis MN





Is there war elsewhere

Maybe where you are

But maybe guns were held up

And the loading of them

Fingers withheld from buttons

Launching missiles

Or the switches from grenades

It’s a question that pandemics

Might quiet war, some


There will be violence

People shoot each other

Stab and hit with whatever

Nations have agendas against

Nations, this nation

Among them


But might the fear of illness

Death from infection

Become an agenda, too

And might our attention be mislaid

From war, if only for a while

So that we might attend to this

Instead, something the world

Should attend to


And could it be that noises change

From the usual reasons to

Others: ailments, hospital workers,

Ambulances for the sick,

Mourning from disease instead

Of how we do each other


When it’s done

When that might be

We might all take a breath

And then another

And maybe take a salient moment

Then another

To rethink, if only some

The business of war and the

Destruction only we can make

There might be peace in treatment

Let some make it last


C L Couch



Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash


Red Badge

Red Badge

(Battleground, 1949)


Watching a war movie

One of the better in

The genre


Everyone is frightened

Winter doesn’t help

Low clouds by day, and

There’s confusion

Even though

There’s order, too


How could I survive?

With my heart, I couldn’t

If it is congenital

(which is the current

guess), I guess I never


Have gone


I’d miss the songs

The whistling in the dark

The weather that

Never seems to serve

Privation be it food

Or something potable

(who doesn’t need

a drink when drafted

at eighteen?),

Ammunition or the distance

That a letter brings,

A photograph


I’m speaking of the past

(the movie’s reach)

Now there are screens

And firm tries at

Armor, stronger missiles

That can guide

Themselves, it seems


Still, it’s a hellish business

No one should make

Money from it, then

Or now—It should be

A charity, the kind

That Lincoln said

We should have toward

All, funded through our

Tax dollars, as they

Say, at work this time

As a 501c3


Bring everyone back

In that fine order,

When it’s done. so

We all might start

Over, over here


It’s Sunday, and

I’m thinking about bullets

The kind that tear

Into flesh and

Malice in randomness

Through windows,


Let alone the shells,

As has been shown

While what

Is heard

Is a civilian scream

From the dark



Outside the street

Is burning, around

The pyres a dog

Alone, dodging


War tears into streets

There will never

Be another neighborhood

For good


This was my Sunday

Morning, sorry

I was not in church

But here—there was

A church scene in the

Movie, a chaplain

With a foot-wrapped

Message (first message

that of having given

boots away to another

soldier in that charity,



That the Nazis wanted

War (they did want,

as remnants today)

So we, everyone

Who could—Pole,

Italian, Asian, Irish,

Latin, Black, Harvard,


Some saving to do

Pastors, always

Talking about saving


I wish I could feel

Better but don’t

I’m tired, and I should

Have been at church

I should be

A better neighbor,

Standing up for what

Is right more often

Not merely

Trust a system


Here there were

Ranks and also branches

Stuffed in foxholes

With soldiers sharing

Cigarettes and stories

Chewing on

K rations unthankfully

(and why?)

Wanting chocolate and

The Stars and Stripes

To tell them beyond

The shoulders of

The next one


That war was

Over, peace declared,

And all go home

Maybe to another

Generation lost

But home it is


C L Couch



Photo by Kony Xyzx on Unsplash


The Battle of Antarctica

The Battle of Antarctica


The battle of Lepanto

Where Cervantes lost a hand

The battle of Gallipoli, where

The artillery barrage had

Done no good

And so many Anzac soldiers

Died (like those in gray

with gingham inside led

Into Pickett’s charge)

The battle of Antarctica

It hasn’t happened yet

Except in novels, where it’s

Tragic that the last clean place on

Earth must have bomb-holes

And blood and other human

Wreckage wrought

Afterward, to stand as

Life-deserted monuments

For life had fled

We tore it out of bodies

As with the earth and sea


It’s what I think about


While branches press on windows

Not invading but in greeting of

The day and even me

With a way of generous beauty that I

Do not understand


Conflict is small pain that grows,

Sometimes to tire me

In books

Though writers did not invent it

And readers have to learn

About it, again and again

‘Til nature stops, crestfallen

Due to our mistakes in self-destruction

Or, miracle of our making,

Stunned that we could get it


Welcome “peace prevail” on poles (recycled)


Every foxhole for repentance

And inside craters dug out with

Our bombs, before


With grace dispensed


By human peace


C L Couch



No machine-readable author provided. Pablo-flores assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5,

A Peace Pole in the neighbourhood of Empalme Graneros, Rosario, Argentina. The pole has four sides, with the message “May peace prevail on Earth” written in four languages; this pole shows the message in Guaraní and (barely) in Spanish. The other two languages are Toba and Italian. I, Pablo D. Flores, took this picture myself, in September 2005.


Scrap Book

Scrap Book

(6 June)


Cotton, leather, metal, glass

Plastic would come after

The things of Earth are drawn out and used up

As if the jealous ground would never notice


But this is the way of war

It doesn’t care about the ground

That will receive us

Before, during, and after


Creation cracks

Under the weight of it

And the blackened sky

Over boiling water

Earth will receive it all

And close it up

And maybe set to heal


We are done

The Earth is done

Afterward, there will be

Some kind of peace

Grandfathers come home

Grandmothers come home

To be black-and-white remembered


C L Couch



Unknown or not provided – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

The beachhead is secure, but the price was high. A Coast Guard Combat Photographer came upon this monument to a dead American soldier somewhere on the shell-blasted shore of Normandy.


Whence Come Wars

Whence Come Wars


Blood and mucus

Tissue and bone

And fear catching the breath

For infection


War in the desert

Is a war in hell

The Baptist lessons

Roosting home

There are flames

There is perdition

War at the poles would not

Be much better


The uniform, the armor

From the homeland are good

The weapons kill

Split the ground and everything


No judgment but

An order to obey


Sometimes we might ask

Though that is for a sibling soldier

Here the abstract is simplicity

The living is complex

We want to live

We might want them to live as well


But the agenda

For the moment

Has to be a killing item


C L Couch



Image by Angie Johnston from Pixabay


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