Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Chasing Westward

Chasing Westward

The vultures are heading west, their slow flying
shadow grace just an illusion of the blank sky.

Clock them. They’re racing away fast as thought.
Faster than often-repeated certainties and fears.

They escape with gizzards full, hurtling toward the sun,
shuttling some soul’s nourishing remains westward.

Out there, I hope, they’ll catch the day that never ends,
the place, I believe, night will never fall.

After sunset, I hear the rumbling highway, cars
chasing westward, chasing dreams, the fading light.

I wrote the poem the other day in response to some footage I shot a few months back. I was going to try letting the poem grow out of the video to see how that worked (there’s a great discussion on this over at the Moving Poems Forum), but as it turns out the footage I based the poem on is nowhere in this video.

Here’s how this video came about. Yesterday, I was sitting in traffic when my phone rang. After the call, I set the phone on the dash. While I was sitting there looking at it, I thought maybe I could turn the videocamera on and let it just film sky while I was driving. I did and whenever I came to a light, I’d just stop the recording and reset it in a different place, either on the dash or against the window. It never occurred to me until yesterday just how useful it is to have a perfectly flat camera.

By the time, I got home I had the footage and I thought this poem would work well with it.

The birds at the beginning are not vultures. They are grackles, and that was just a lucky shot. I’d love to have more than a few seconds of that, but they just happened to fly over at that moment. I didn’t even realize I had gotten them since I was watching the road. I left them in because I think it’s a cool shot and decided not to change the poem.

The grackles there work on another level for me too since this one feels like both a Highway Sky and a Birds Nobody Loves poem.

This videopoem is posted both at YouTube and Vimeo. Feel free to share it if you like it.


  1. Holy crap. LOVE this.

  2. Holy Fudd! This is amazing. I’d love to post this on the Cats with Thumbs blog, James.

  3. As above. The one serves the other beautifully, James. Good, good!

  4. James, this is so good! I love the poem, video and
    your process notes. This part gave me chills,

    “Out there, I hope, they’ll catch the day that never ends,
    the place, I believe, night will never fall.”

    You certainly have a way with words.

  5. Wow… what a beautiful piece. I am moved by the whole experience- poem, video and reading your bio. I, too, love birds (especially cardinals) and I live in Texas (southeast area). I’m a proud Aggie (graduated of 1989). I hope you can find it in your heart to look past that and visit my blogs. I will definitely look forward to reading more of yours.

    • I’m glad to find another Texas blogger. My wife is from east Texas (golden triangle area) so I’m pretty familiar with your neck of the (piney) woods. I’ve got nothing against Aggies either, and I’ll definitely be visiting your site.

  6. This is beautiful and dreamy. Great work.

  7. Your poem reminds me of so many things and experiences. Love the sound of it and the beauty is creates and the thoughts it provokes. Yes, “chasing dreams, fading light.”


  8. very atmospheric video and I love the poem

  9. I enjoyed this, and the video with the poem was amazing!

  10. Thanks, everyone, for watching the video and for your kind comments.

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