All posts by James Brush

James Brush lives in Austin, TX where he teaches English, writes, blogs and attempts to get outside as much as possible.

Sonnet for July

With my feet firmly planted in the sand,
the seagulls might mistake me for a tree.
I’ve no idea why that would matter and
anyway, it’s good to be here by the sea.
It won’t be long before the sun goes down,
and one-by-one the stars fill up the sky.
Soon they’ll switch on the bright lights in the town
and then, we’ll see old Cygnus rising high.
When the fireworks begin to sing and pop,
smoky spiders will weave our summer night.
With each held breath, I’ll wish it never stops
until the dark of space is filled with light.
Do I hear mermaids singing each to each?
No. It is your voice calling from the beach.

PAD 2014 #15: Love Poems

King of the Beasts

In a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral,
a man called himself the king of these beasts.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
The whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.

A man called himself the king of these beasts
who made his house their lair and didn’t mind
the whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.

Who made his house their lair and didn’t mind?
He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him.

He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him
in a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral.

Magpie Tales #215 | PAD 2014 #15: Love Poem

Imagining Rain

Can you imagine the glory
of the crow, a black spell,
a rippled myth? What goddess
broke the simple spiral shell
and carved its powers
on her belly? Children, do
you see green towers in
your tales of water, sun, and
trees? At what temperature
does dancing turn to liquid?
Can you sing a song of rain
and pay the price to bring the
sleeping goddess from her bed?
Do you smell ozone, brother?
The old timers say it comes
just before the pallid rain.

NaPoWriMo #14: 20 Questions | We Wordle #14

The Root of All Suffering

Desire emerges from the spider’s abdomen. Bright
rust-colored wings advertise desire’s ability

to deliver a powerful sting, described by experts
as blinding, fierce, and shockingly electric, it is

second only to the bullet ant. Desire is most active
in the daytime summer months. Desire flies low

along the ground. Desire’s long legs have hooked
claws for grappling with its victims. Desire feeds

on the flowers of milkweeds, soapberry and mesquite
trees. Very few animals can eat desire. One of the few

that can is the roadrunner. Many experts recommend
desire simply be left alone, but kids go for charismatic

emotions, and the beautiful, powerful and deadly
desire fits the bill nicely. When desire is encountered

do not make sudden rapid movements, but softly quietly
leave the area until it is gone. Head to the low country.

NaPoWriMo #12: Replacement | We Write Poems #208: Mythology

An interesting experiment from NaPoWriMo Day 12. The idea was to research something tangible, find some sentences and replace the tangible noun with something intangible. I researched tarantula hawks and replaced them with desire. I rewrote some of the sentences for transitions, brevity, and clarity. My sources were: Wikipedia, Mother Nature Network, About.com Pest Control, Insect Identification.org, and Durango Nature Studies.

In addition to the replacement prompt, I wanted something that felt somewhat mythic or that suggested mythic origins for the We Write Poem prompt on mythology.

“Fleeting” at Verbatim Poetry

My poem “Fleeting” is up at Verbatim Poetry. It’s a found poem made from a paragraph in the March 2014 issue of National Geographic. It caught my attention because it echoes several of the images and ideas found in my 2010 poem “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea” originally published in Poets for Living Waters (Aug 2010) and recently read by Nic Sebastian at The Poetry Storehouse.

Natural History

Maybe it was the medieval
music, the darkness, or your young
age, but when we stood in front
of the Magna Carta in the museum
in Houston, you clung to my neck.
I don’t like the Magna Carta,
the Magna Carta is scary
,
you whispered. I suspect it scared
King John too. Like you, he
probably would have been much
happier in the paleontology exhibit
with T. Rexes and Pteranodons, their
fossil teeth and mighty wings frozen,
stilled and silent. Somehow less
frightening than the freedoms
that old treaty began, freedoms
I know you’ll someday demand.

Sheltered Between the Rays

Unwrap each mote of dust
suspended in the sunlight

borrowed from a Saturday
spent dissecting almonds,

snakes, and birds. Our books
tell us almost nothing

of this goddess sheltered
in the ripples of the day

but open your palm to the
light. Feel her brush your skin.

Now sing us all the jagged songs
you suddenly can sing.

Magpie Tales #214 | We Wordle #13 | PAD 2014 #9: Shelter