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war

And All Forgotten Wars

(x = space)

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And All Forgotten Wars

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I hold my head

Look at the mottled

Skin on my legs

And wonder

In addition to

Genetics,

How my father did it

How did he live?

What was happening

On the inside?

He was alone

For so long,

One way or the other

I think he wanted

Peace

From the war

But wouldn’t say so

And eventually

The lack of peace

Took him

Pushed him

Where he did not want

To go

Inside a dark place

That would accept

No light

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C L Couch

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The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Walke (DD-723) underway at sea in Far Eastern waters, 23 November 1953.

by W.L. Fowler, U.S. Navy, from USS Yorktown (CVA-10) – U.S. Navy photo NH 99810, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1622057

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Memorial Day in the USA

(x = space)

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Memorial Day in the USA

(2021)

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It is a holiday in the USA

I suppose the sales are good

And there will be

Shiny fireworks

Reminding us the day means,

Well, something

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There are days like this

Around the world,

As there should be:

Remembrances of those

Who fought and

Died in war

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The wisdom of strategy

And final choices

Is not on the program;

Like the Light Brigade,

There are those

Who served

Because they served

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Remember them,

Because their loss

Is the foundation

For unfought

Wars over silent

Battlefields

That were and are

And will be,

Someday

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C L Couch

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Golden Stars

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

World War II Memorial, Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC, USA

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It Might Be Magic

(x = space)

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It Might Be Magic

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Do you eschew

Institutions?

I do, anymore

The machines

Made out of people

Don’t blame the

Bureaucrats:

They operate

What others made

A breaking efficiency

In copper and in

Oil replaced by

Split atoms, unleaded

Gasoline and now

Other fuels

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The early price

Was trees

And iron from the earth

Water unafraid

Unplastic skies

That might storm

But otherwise

Were trusted

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Press agents lie

Because they forward

An agenda

They were told

Beyond the news

To promulgate

Or else

Lose their jobs

The heroes and the villains

All are mixed

Or so it seems

Because they’re not

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We are blended

Creatures now,

It’s true

Nothing of persisting,

Edenic status

Has existed for a while

And in our

Reconstituting state

Generations are confused

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Hamas has launched

Three thousand rockets

Into Israel

That fights with

More sophistication

Missiles from planes

And from the ground

More of us

Are good at war, these days

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I read the city paper

In the morning

To find out who has

Shot or otherwise killed

Whom

Or who preaches

On Hyde-Park boxes

That it should rain hate

Should we have our way

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There is an answer,

So many traditions

Espouse

It’s a good thing

And nothing new,

Ancient of ages

But statues will have to

Have their clay feet

Scraped out

Then with something better

Slid into place

And shaped

While the rest of us

The citizens, the voters

Hold the upper parts

The structures of society

In place

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See,

Nihilism is not the answer

Nor to fire agencies

Especially with fire

We can keep

The inefficiencies

Of efficiency,

The inexactness

That comforts us

Knowing the machine

Is never all

But flesh and blood

And synapse

And our loves

Matter more

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Next chapter,

All yours

It might be magic

But it’s not:

It’s mortal hands

Moved by mortal hearts

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C L Couch

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In the Line of Fire

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Hay, Australia

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Peace Polar

(x = space)

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Peace Polar

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At any moment now

It is time for the Eid,

One the absence of a moon

Is sighted—you know what I mean,

The new moon

Signing the end of Ramadan

And the start of Eid Al-Fitr

A celebration

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Israeli forces and Hamas

Have been exchanging

Rockets, missiles

Rocks and curses, too

Many have died

And, you know, there is a

Pandemic on

So the celebration must

Be marked by two plagues,

War and the disease

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Holidays and wartime

Go together

In the world

As “I’ll be home for Christmas”

Will tell you

I don’t know the technicalities

Diplomacies

Or lack thereof;

I don’t know if there’s a war

Declared—

It’s happening, anyway

Pray for our western Asian siblings

And send good thoughts

Their way,

And that will not nearly

Be enough

Though they should happen,

Anyway

But something else

Something more

Must transpire

Write about it, tell the stories

Act for peace

Keep planting the poles

Live peaceably

Not with weakness

But with strength

Peace, like love, takes

Muscles of all kinds

And actions

Action-heroes, even

Remembering

The brain, the will

Have muscles, too

The strongest, in fact

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Run the race for peace

And be kind for races, too

These are

The greater challenges

Beside these,

War is easy

(the picking-up is hard)

So, yes, pray for peace

Then act for peace

In the gentlest, strongest way

That you know how

Concretize the steps you take

The talk, the meals, loving

Your neighbors

So that what works

Might be taken again

In hope

Even (especially) when it’s hard

There will be fruition,

Promise

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C L Couch

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Shigar Valley, Skardu, Pakistan

Photo by Ijaz Rafi on Unsplash

[nearly new moon]

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Proportional Response

(x = space)

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Proportional Response

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It’s an eye for eye

Without, we hope,

Everyone going blind

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But then the blind we have,

Over-sensate in four ways,

Might have to lead

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The only ones who know

How to have sight

Without the eyes

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C L Couch

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https://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-u-carries-airstrike-against-233431848.html

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By Airman 1st Class Chad Warren – US Air Force Public Affairs [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7377988

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

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Book War

(x = space)

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Book War

(preventive)

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It happens

When a group

Has a code

That is set down

For day-to-day

And legacy

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It took place with

The Quran

The evening of

The morning

When there was

Certitude that

There would be

A new

Generation

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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

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Not to mention

All the agnostica

Falling ‘round

The faithful

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How many books

In the book?

Sixty-six or seventy-two with

All that should be in

Sixty-six or seventy-two

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My version’s better

My translation

My paraphrase

No, mine

No, mine

No, OURS

Said with authority

No one outside commends

So we will need an army

Defending ink,

Scriptoria,

And brittle generations

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A Bible war

Could be fun for trivia

On pub night

But not to justify

The raping of

Constantinople,

Christians thieving Christians

Or the books

That fuel internal fires

Burning up Jerusalem

For faith

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Now, it seems

The Jewish book

For faith

Kept growing

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While some groups

For their faith

Don’t keep a book at all

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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

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We should not fight about it

But leave room

As at the table

After dinner

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Or the second half

Of sermons,

Engagement that most folk

Forget or remember

In leaving off

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coda

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If we write

And publish,

Pass around,

We should talk about it

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Since pages are not

Altars

(altars are not altars)

And there’s always trouble

With our idols when

In idolatry

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C L Couch

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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.

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Tactics

(x = space)

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Tactics

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It’s not as if we haven’t

Heard of war before

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It’s all around us, if we look

Around as a world

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There are civil wars in Yemen

And in Syria;

We have sent weapons to these

For the profit

And the power

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They fight each other in Lebanon,

In South Sudan

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Soldiers and often terrorists

In their own uniforms

Barely removed from uniformity

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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

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It’s not a peaceful world

But know peace:

We’ve heard of it,

We learn it,

And we teach it

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We negotiate

As if we deal with children

And sometimes with children

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There is an age

We have an age

When will the prophecy

Be Monday

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C L Couch

(from the USA)

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Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash

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Later

(x = space)

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Later

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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

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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

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C L Couch

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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]

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By PunkToad from oakland, us – Cardinal Cuckoo ClockUploaded by clusternote, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27515171

Cardinal Cuckoo Clock, 126 1st Ave. Minneapolis MN

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Elsewhere

Elsewhere

 

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

 

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