Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

two vultures
fly toward the sunrise
almost spring

Here & There: Recent Publications & Other Things

A quick run-down of some recent publication announcements and other nice things. I’m happy to have had the following work published and recognized over the past month or so:

“Resolution” at Praxis Magazine

“The Singer” at One Sentence Poems

What Stranger Miracles (White Knuckle Press, 2016) reviewed and nominated for a 2017 Elgin Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association

My thanks to the editors at Praxis, One Sentence Poems, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association for their interest in my work.

And, of course in case you missed it (and because I’m still over-the-moon about this), there’s Chasing Headlights, the EP from Cwtch (vocals: Marie Craven/music: Paul Foster). The lyrics are remixed from poems in my book Highway Sky (“God Bless Johnny Cash,” “For Gasoline,” “At Night,” and “Night at the Interstate Diner”):

 

When the Parade Comes

The live oaks grow angry. They bend toward the ground, scoop up children and hold them above the performances of ambiguous kings. Kids sitting in the branches trade Pokémon cards and look like ornaments for some future parade. They reach down to help up the ones left on the ground. Someone helps a turtle across a busy street. Every act of kindness looks like an act of defiance.

2.1.17

flash of black / bird's wings or daydream / whispered truth

1.30.17

streaks of sunlight/like dragonflies in the reeds/spring in midwinter

The Tune Without the Words

Peculiar wind whistles through the streets: cold from the north, warm and humid from the south. It changes by the minute. I check Twitter to see what I should wear but decency is so out of fashion, and all the pale models wear wings torn from dragonflies and shoes of rhino hide. I study scorpions and avarice and plant hope deep in the ground where scrub jays cache their food. I have learned seventeen synonyms for fiasco.

The Awesomeness of Grackles

It’s been a while since I’ve written much about grackles or birds for that matter. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve really done much blogging and in the intervening time, I’ve managed to forget to share some grackle-y goodness that came along earlier in the year.

First up, Eight Reasons Grackles Are Awesome, a Texas Monthly article from 2015. I’m proud to say that number eight “They’ve Inspired a poetry collection” is my book Birds Nobody Loves.

Next, a series of features on our local NPR affiliate KUT: A History of Austin’s Love-Hate Relationship with the Grackle which examines just that topic, and a two-part series of KUT’s ATXplained series that includes me reading from Birds Nobody Loves as reporter Mose Buchele delves into local grackle-lore: Part I: Why Do Grackles Flock to Grocery Store Parking Lots at Dusk and Part II: That Time UT Austin Waged a War on Grackles.

Around here, for many, grackles are a nuisance bird, but they’ve also become a bit of an unofficial mascot but without the PR that our bats get. Still, grackles are beautiful, fascinating birds and many of us couldn’t imagine Austin without them.

Chasing Headlights EP by Cwtch

 

Chasing Headlights is the latest EP from Cwtch (vocals: Marie Craven/music: Paul Foster). The lyrics are remixed from poems in my collection Highway Sky. Needless to say, it’s a bit surreal to have one’s work reinterpreted like this. Surreal and wonderful.

My academic background is in film production and screenwriting so the idea of having my words interpreted and reimagined and ultimately produced into a different medium by other artists doesn’t seem at all unnatural to me. I know that it may be uncomfortable for many poets working with a model that strangely exalts poetry, but this kind of thing seems so right to me. It’s why I released the Highway Sky poems (and everything on this blog for that matter) under a creative commons license.

But then there’s music (which I do confess to exalting a wee bit), and listening to how my poems were remixed into Cwtch’s sound in Marie’s voice and with Paul’s music just blew me away. This work is haunting and beautiful, and I am truly honored and humbled and filled with gratitude to Marie and Paul for finding something in my writing worth building upon, for taking the time to do it, and for putting it out there.

You can listen to Chasing Headlights on Soundcloud or download for free (or pay as you wish) from Bandcamp. I hope you’ll check it out.

And here is the video Marie made last summer for “I Drove to the River”:

Resolution

there’s a snowfield in my dreams
where tracks weave off toward winter
bare trees

I imagine leaves
buried in distant snow
I wish I had them

I’d use them like someone
else’s words

arrange them so I’d know
what I was thinking

a fire searching through books
for water

 

///

in response to Dave Bonta’s “Ministry of Truth”

Gasolina/For Gasoline

Here are two takes on my poem “For Gasoline” from my collection Highway Sky and made available for creative remix at the (now defunct) Poetry Storehouse.

In the first, Eduardo Yagüe translated the poem into Spanish and then made the video from the translation. The second is an English-language version (using the audio I’d provided to the Poetry Storehouse) that includes the text of Eduardo’s translation and was made by Javi Zurrón.

It’s a wonderful thing to see how other artists reinterpret one’s work in new and surprising ways. Thank you Eduardo for making this happen!

 

 

Update: 12.9.16: These videos are featured at Moving Poems today. Thank you, Dave.

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