Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Category: Poems (page 1 of 24)

Poems written by me.

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.


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.

“I Drove to the River” Video


This is the video for the Cwtch song “I Drove to the River” made by vocalist Marie Craven. The lyrics are based on my poem “God Bless Johnny Cash” from Highway Sky. You can also download “I Drove to the River” here, and I highly recommend Cwtch’s album Silver while you’re at it.

What Stranger Miracles


I’m excited to announce the publication of my prose poem chapbook What Stranger Miracles by White Knuckle Press, “publisher of online chapbooks of prose poems.” My sincerest thanks to editors Dale Wisely and Howie Good for agreeing to publish it, and to Dale for his care and attention to the design, which is just wonderful.

You can read What Stranger Miracles free online. I hope you’ll check it out. And be sure to look around at all the other work published by White Knuckle Press.

I Drove to the River


I was stunned speechless last night when I heard this lovely track made by Marie Craven and Paul Dementio working together as Cwtch. Stunned because the lyrics come from my poem “God Bless Johnny Cash” (from Highway Sky) and I am thrilled by what amazing music they have made with it and can’t wait to hear what comes next. This is what can come of Creative Commons and the sharing culture. Thank you Marie, Paul, and Cwtch. Now, have a listen.


Ode to a Cheap Blue Guitar

Give you twenty bucks
for that old Ko-RE-an thang,
the pawn shop man drawled.

Horrified, I walked out. Tried to
hold tight to you, beautiful
blue first love stratclone guitar.

But the Ford’s tires were flat,
the bills were due, and you
never sang in my hands.

We just never connected
like I would with others, later,
with lower actions whose necks

felt better in my fumbling
hands. But beauty stutters
the lips, and you were ocean

midnight neon airport lights,
the color of the sounds I wanted.
But those thintread tires needed

changing. We said goodbye.
Sometimes I still try to find you.
We’ll reconnect on eBay, maybe

Craigslist. I poke my head
in some south Austin pawn shop
hoping you’re still around twenty

years later, that headstock nick
from the ceiling fan a story
only you and I will ever know.



This Is Not a Literary Journal: Ode to a Thing

I guess if you’re going to try to write to your own prompt, you might as well write one of the examples.

Twelve Paper Vessels

Twelve paper vessels, lavish in design
floated down the flooded street

the other night. Each one bore the false
teeth of a good lie as they floated past

in the storm’s runoff, singly and in
groups, committees of gnarled words

settling into sentences. What time was it?
When did you leave? Do you remember

that day? These are the things I’d ask
if tongue and teeth and pen were still in sync.



PAD 15: Use 4 of 8 from a Word List | This Is Not a Literary Journal: Visit Peake’s Prompt Generator

Both gave me lists of words. I used some.

There once was a young man from Georgetown

there once was a young man from Georgetown
who went through his life with a frown
so he brought home a bear
and let it live there
but old Smokey soon burned the place down



Got hung up on the limerick thing, I suppose.

Limericks for the Remaining 2016 Presidential Candidates

did you hear about Senator Sanders
giving speeches condemning the bankers?
he waves both his arms—
he sure has his charms
even as to the hipsters he panders


along came the Donald named Trump
whose campaign was a fire at the dump
with so little conscience
he incited raw violence
while doing improv out on the stump


The R’s final hope standing was Cruz
campaigning like he thought he was Zeus
outlasting all foes
puffed up his ego
and soon it’ll be us that he screws


Secretary Senator First Lady Clinton
with big money and power was smitten
when threatened with jail
she released her emails
and as always claimed nothing was hidden


take a look at old Governor Kasich
working hard not to appear too caustic
mods seem to dig him
though with chances so slim
he’s scarce worth the time for this lim’rick

This is Not a Literary Journal: Limericks

Until today, I had never tried limericks. This was fun.

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