Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

spring wildflowers
the pennies I found
outside the jail

Photo Gallery Experiment

This is just me playing with the WordPress Galleries and Carousel features. Old pictures already in the media library. Click on one for the carousel effect.

generally speaking

a dark black sky
means open water
and this is known
as an open-water sky

high lights in the sky
mean ice
and this is known
as ice-blink


Found Poem from The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctica 1910-1913 by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (Kindle Edition, p44)

Poems in Other Places

I’m happy to share the following links to some of my poems recently appearing in other places…

“The Wanderer” and “Arctic Front” at One Sentence Poems

“Three Scenes from the Road” at The Lake

“All the Way” at Synchronized Chaos

Five poems (“Visions of a Healthy Planet,” “The Rope Swing,” “Flags of Convenience,” “Angels” and “Origin Story”) now available for creative remix at The Poetry Storehouse. These include readings by me and a lovely reading of “Origin Story” by Storehouse founder & editor Nic Sebastian.

Thank you to the editors of these wonderful venues for featuring my work.

The Man Who Spoke the Law

Old folks will tell you there was a time when there was no poetry. Not around here anyway. Maybe back east or some place where time was more available, but breaking this land took all a man had and didn’t leave anything for him at the end. Certainly, no time for pretty words.

Some will even tell you that there was laws against it, but I don’t hold with that story. Still, I had this idea for a poem, back in ’08 or so and I didn’t want to run afoul the sheriff so I figured I needed to have a looksee to find out if there was any laws about poetry one way or the other.

I won’t tell you all my adventures because there were too many and most of them weren’t really worth the telling, but I saw a fair bit of Dallas and Houston and even El Paso on one occasion I’d just as soon forget.

It was in Austin, down in the fluorescent-lit subcommittee caverns beneath the capitol building, where I found my answers. I’d been walking around admiring all that pink granite and the grounds with all the fat squirrels and pigeons and lobbyists and all when I met an old guy mopping the floors after all the senators had left. He’s the one who told me these poems I’m about to share.

He said he found them. Now, I don’t usually go in for poems people say they found, but these two I’m about to relate are the closest I ever come to finding any kind of answer. I guess you could say they were found twice.

He told me, the Texas State Legislature said, “Let There Be Poetry.”

He told me it was all written down in a big old leather-bound book like the ones you might of seen witches reading their spells from in the movies. It was called Texas Administrative Code,

and if you turned those musty old pages over to

Title 19, Part II, Subchapter C §110.31. English Language Arts and Reading, English I (One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2009-2010. (b)  Knowledge and skills. (3) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/

you’d find it.

He closed his eyes and started reciting in a low whisper. He said it was

Poetry.

Students understand,
make inferences

draw conclusions
about the structure

& elements of poetry,
provide evidence from text

to support their understanding.
students are expected to analyze

the effects
of diction

and imagery

(
controlling images,
figurative language,
understatement,
overstatement,
irony,
paradox
)

in poetry.

He stopped saying his poem, and I stood there taking it all in for a long time. I could hear footsteps echoing through those marble corridors like the sound of generations of people coming up from their final resting places just to hear what this janitor was saying, but those footsteps were just regular folks going about their evening, leaving work, unaware that there was some poetry right there in the middle of all that law.

I told him it sounded like that about covered reading poems, but what about writing them. He nodded and told me all those powerful senators and legislators thought of that too and so he shared another one he found, but it was under some different subsections and letters and what have you.

This one was shorter, kind of like one of those Japanese poems that never got a title and  tells you a lot without using very many words so you have a lot of things to think about and maybe don’t know exactly what the writer meant.

write a poem
using a variety of
poetic techniques

and a variety
of poetic forms

He let it sink in  a moment or two and smiled and kind of leaned on his mop a little and told me he might of left some parts out, some commas and conjunctions and parentheticals and whatnot.

I don’t know. And I don’t know if those were any good or not either, but it sounded something like what I might be looking for.

The next morning, I headed back toward home and didn’t stop until I got there.

This was first published in qarrtsiluni (Words of Power issue, Oct 2009). Thank you to editors Dave Bonta and Beth Adams .

Poems in Other Places

I’m pleased to share the following links to some of my poems in other places:

“The Gear Turner’s Work” at Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, a new journal grown from an older one, with the most user-friendly submissions process I’ve ever seen.

Four poems: “Lazarus Jewelbox,” “To Call the Goddess,” “I’ll Race the Fiercest Gulls,” and “Ghazal for a Nearly a Forgotten Rain Goddess” in the February issue of Synchronized Chaos.

Thank you to Christine Klocek-Lim and Cristina Deptula the editors of the respective journals for publishing these poems.

like Bashō
I walked the length of Japan
said Fitbit’s email

Two Videopoems and Two Poems Published

I’ve been remiss in updating this here blog, so, here’s some cool stuff…

Below (videopoem)

This is a video Marie Craven made for my poem “Below” found at The Poetry Storehouse. Needless to say, I was blown away by this and am very grateful for the time and effort she put into remixing my poem.

This is the second of my poems to be remixed into video lately (the first was a remix by Nic Sebastian of “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea”) and the experience is fascinating. I don’t always feel like I know where my poems come from and sometimes I’m surprised to see what I’m thinking. It’s interesting, then, to find out what another artist sees in my work.

I’m filled enough with gratitude when someone takes the time to read what I’ve written, but it’s a humbling thing to know that someone has taken the time with it not just to read it but to try to know it and then bring it to life in a whole new way. So, thank you Marie for “Below” and also to Nic for “Empty Sea” and for creating the soon-to-be-phased-out Poetry Storehouse. These are truly gifts that left me speechless.

Marie wrote up some process notes about the video on her blog, along with notes for two other videos she’s recently done. Three of Marie’s videos have appeared at Gnarled Oak, and you can see even more on her Vimeo page. Or explore her website, pixieguts.com, where you can check out her musical work too.

///

flower (videohaiku)

A few weeks ago, Dave Bonta put out a call for haiku based on a video clip with which he intended to experiment in an effort to develop a new approach to videohaiku. He wound up using lines that I supplied and we worked on editing and revising them to come up with the above video.

Dave wrote extensive process notes at Moving Poems, and I don’t have much to add other than that the collaboration was fun and produced an interesting result. Here’s Dave:

This collaboratively produced videopoem with text by James Brush represents a new approach to videohaiku for me: one in which the first part of the haiku is represented by film footage, which freezes and transitions to text roughly where a mid-poem kireji or cutting word would occur in a Japanese haiku.

[…]

James had started with a rather high-concept idea and pared it down in the course of three drafts. I suggested two further edits. What finally emerged was this:


how your hands burn
for the sun

with the ellipsis standing in for the footage of the baby in a meadow waving a daisy around. (One could even make it fit into a line: babe with a flower, say, or toddler in the yard.)

As I mentioned above, it’s a kick to have one’s words envideoed, and I’m grateful to Dave for taking the time to play with a few of mine. I’ll have to try this technique for myself sometime.

///

Two Poems Published

As mentioned yesterday, my poem “Sorrow” is in Right Hand Pointing Issue 82: an absence at the center. This is the second time I’ve had a poem appear at RHP and it is quite an honor to be there.

And finally, my poem “Trigger” was included in the anthology/prompt book/workbook Poem Your Heart Out (Words Dance Publishing anthology, Dec 2014). “Trigger” was the winner for April 29 in the Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge back in April. The book contains the 30 winning poems for the month. My Poems “Sticky Note” (April 3) and  “The Summer Forecast” (Apr 18) were finalists on their respective days.

Ok. Enough about me… go read Gnarled Oak.

“Sorrow” at Right Hand Pointing

I’ve been neglecting the blog since the new year began and so I’m only just now getting around to sharing here that my poem “Sorrow” is in Right Hand Pointing Issue 82: an absence at the center. This is the second time I’ve had a poem appear at RHP and it is quite an honor to be there.

tree shadows
late sunset painted
on brick homes
Venus peeks out from
a cirrus curtain

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