Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Category: poems (page 1 of 21)

Poems written by me.

A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea (Video Remix)

This is a video remix of my poem “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea” made by Nic Sebastian. The poem can be found at The Poetry Storehouse, Nic’s site that collects “great contemporary poems for creative remix” including a few of my own.

This is the first video made from one of my poems, and I was quite thrilled to see it. How fascinating and wonderful a thing to release one’s work and then have it come back like this. Truly, it made my day.

For those who may be interested, the poem was first “officially” published in August 2010 at Poets for Living Waters (along with two others) and was written in response to a prompt at the now-defunct Big Tent Poetry. Here are the process notes I wrote at the time:

This is for Big Tent Poetry’s weekly prompt. The form is called pantoum, and this is my first crack at one. I liked the repetitive spiraling nature of the form, which seemed an interesting fit for another of my post-apocalypse myths and legends poems (for want of a better term), though, I suspect pantoums are best kept short. The idea was to write in form about something that makes us angry so there’s some BP oil spill in this as well as a little bit of influence spilling over from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. Using form to tame emotion is a good idea, I think. I’ve tried to write about the BP spill, but its hard to maintain control. Form helps. So does 3rd person narrative and walking so far down the chain of effects that I’m in a different world by the time I begin to write.

Thanks again to Nic Sebastian for creating The Poetry Storehouse and for taking the time and care to create this beautiful video.

Protected: Sorrow

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Most Earthlings

School bathroom,
fluorescent light, linoleum.

Two cold-blooded singers
face off in the corner, circling,

testing–lunge and feint.
I wash my hands.

Watch the black-clad
rivals unable to back down

or go around until someone
brings a broom and dustpan,

sweeps up these two, away
to feed chickens in the yard,

their twelve legs locked
in pointless combat.

For Prompt #1 at This Is Not a Literary Journal: Write about the first animal you see today. I didn’t include my dogs, opting instead for wild animals. Those turned out to be crickets and the beetles that appear to stalk them, both of which have infested our school, and are now being swept up and taken to feed the chickens.

Ascent

1.
She went deeper and the boat receded. She worked her chains. The world was locks and water, but she knew the key and smiled as she sank.

2.
The waves came and went leaving constant patterns in the surf. A message: Help me. The beach litter was a map of the seafloor.

3.
He swam for hours into the darkening sea, found her lying in the coral. You came, she said. He exhaled for the last time.

4.
The sea was air, the coral home. Their love the fish, the legs they grew as they evolved back to land to invent boats, chains and locks.

///

I posted this to my Twitter feed about a year ago and found it in my files. So, a rerun.

The Night of October 23

Hint of vanilla in the wine
glass stains on the table

two circles orbit each other
tidally locked. Paper wings

tremble. A mole of moths
flutters against my heart.

Red Wolf Poems: Wordle #26 | Magpie Tales #236

Ordinary Night

It was ordinary:
the hill, the town,
the sky, a wisp
of cloud against
the stars. Ordinary
as methane rain
on Titan or the dry
encroaching ice
on the windswept
Martian poles.
Common as each
flower in this field
around my feet,
each one a star
to mirror constellations
above my blood-filled
head. The window
lights in town
click off, a chorus
of everyday amens,
whispered in the holy
darkness of the night.

Magpie Tales #234

Runaway

Listen: She dreamt the sky
and settled a few strange feet
above this shattered axeland.
She floated there for ages
and pilgrims came and rubbed
their names with clumsy fingers
in the dirt. Their names vanished
like the rolling highway scenery
outside your half-down window,
like your tears drying in the wind
as you fled from town to town.

Magpie Tales #219 | Sunday Whirl #160

To Call the Goddess

The old man lost faith in rain,
stopped praying, whispered soft,
I’ve had enough. I give.

How many poems can you give,
brother, to call the goddess of the rain?
A shadow in a sheep’s clothes, soft

wings flutter, a sound so soft
you stop the car, pull over and give
a listen to the whistle of a train.

To hear the rain fall soft again? I’ll give.

Quickly #30: Respond | PAD 2014 #30: Calling it a day

Miz Quickly’s prompt was to respond to a poem you like. I wanted to end the month with another tritina, a form I stumbled upon a few weeks ago, and so I decided to use three words (rain, soft, give) from Dave Bonta’s “Springy,” which is part of his 3verses series.

And that makes 31 poems for National Poetry Writing Month. I didn’t plan to do it. I just wrote one or two and then kept going. And then it was the 15th, and now here we are. Thank you to Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides Daily, NaPoWriMo, Magpie Tales, Miz Quickly, and the soon to be defunct We Write Poems (why do so many prompt sites/poetry communities close up after NaPoWriMo? Is it just too much?) for the prompts and inspiration. And be sure to check out Red Wolf Poems, a sequel to We Write Poems that starts tomorrow.

Thank you also to all of you who have stopped by to read and comment on my poems. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.

Trigger

Today is a battered guitar crafted
from the light of a new wolf moon
and renewable Canadian cedar.
The strings are made of the glow
of city lights, the rumble of thunder,
the bitterness of coffee, the itch
of poison ivy, the smell of gasoline,
and, well, the sixth string is broken
but it sounded like the dirt under
your porch, Billy, at your house on
birdless Audubon. But with only five
strings, it’s more a banjo, jangling
too fast to understand, summoning
cold front clouds and grokking rain
with some minor diminished seventh
chord of gloom, that J-sharp-flat note
JB spent too many late night hours
trying to discover between the notes
of the western scale and the pages of
his misprinted Bible. And so we will walk
all through the night, a thousand miles
and never leave Austin, the barbed
hours picking and strumming that old
acoustic guitar in the neon pawn shop
window, the one you swear maybe
once belonged to some old testament
angel or maybe even Willie Nelson.

NaPoWriMo #29: 20 Little Poetry Projects | PAD 2014 #29: Magical/Realism

This is based on a NaPoWriMo prompt to incorporate 20 random and strange things from a list into one poem. I think I got all of them in, but I cut one or two for readability. Anyway, here’s the recipe.

I tried this with my students today. It went over quite well with several of my kids coming up with some astonishingly good stuff, most of them having fun, and more than a few wanting to read to the class.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Willie.

Rust in the Radio Sky

Do you see rust in the radio sky?
The laughing truth of the galaxies’ weight
can be borne in the chambers of one heart,
or an insect like that blue dragonfly,
the buzzing one circling your empty plate.
Perhaps the time zones aren’t so far apart.

Do you feel the dust in the shifting wind?
How many crooked roads can you make straight,
organized like some magician’s flowchart?
Did you answer no and no and none, friend?

Here is where we start.

NaPoWriMo #26: Curtal Sonnet | We Write Poems: Wordle #16

This is an attempt at a curtal sonnet. Sometimes, the form and the rhyme drive and take you nowhere.

BIrds Nobody Loves coverReminder: My poetry collection Birds Nobody Loves is on sale through the end of April for National Poetry Month. The Kindle edition is $0.99 and the paperback is $5.18.

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