Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

The Radiological Work Permit Day Labor Line

And each day the workers waited
for the renewal of their daily permits.

And when the clouded sky lightened,
they watched insects flicker and glow.

And old folks spat on the ground,
mumbling toothless legends of times

when all bugs werenโ€™t lightning bugs,
when leaves burst forth from trees in spring,
when you could drink the rain and rivers,
when the sky was dark and there were stars.

And the memorists were shoved back,
kicked and beaten for their lies.

And everyone agreed with what we know:
since the beginning, all bugs have glowed.


A response to Read Write Poem’s NaPoWriMo prompt #2: The Old Acronym Switcheroo. I went with RWP as Radiological Work Permit.

I’ll be sticking with my usual no blogging on weekends routine, though I will still be doing NaPoWriMo, but the poems will be micro-poems posted at a gnarled oak, to which I do sometimes post on weekends.


  1. I read this a couple times and liked it more each reading. It is sort of a good old days poem but has a contemporary feel. The idea of renewal of what is true stood out for me.

  2. ouch. unfortunately not far off

  3. Ahh! Joseph,
    This is what is really happening. You did a wonderful piece of work here.
    I love the pics of your cat and dog! I have 4 dogs, a cat and a bird myself.

    • Thanks, Pamela. It sounds like you’ve got quite a collection of pets. What kinds of critters are they?

      And it’s James, btw ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sorry about that! I’m bad. Shamrock is a mutt but we have had for 8 years since we have been in Mexico. Warren is Sussex Spaniel,Flubert is French and Maltese, Angie is a peekapoo. Back is part Persian and who knows. Choochu is a parrot. And that about sums it up. Whew! They are my family and I love them dearly.

        • Sounds like a great family. I wish we could have a bird–I had parakeets when I was a kid–but with the cat and fast dogs, I’m not sure the bird would be happy here. Or alive for long.

  4. Fantastic imagery in this one, James! And I like the “old-timey” message of it.

  5. P.S. I don’t see any way to leave comments at a gnarled oak, so I’ll have to comment here. April first’s entry is absolutely priceless!!! Have a good weekend!

    • Thanks for the gnarled oak comment. Tumblr doesn’t allow comments. I’m probably going to move it to WordPress after NaPoWriMo. Or sooner if I fade out ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. James, wonderful! Do all bugs glow? Of course they do.
    I read this over and over.

  7. Great imagery. Great last line!!!

  8. this reminds me of a stephen king movie but I can’t remember which one.

    I love the word “memorists.”


    • Thanks, angie. I haven’t seen many of his movies–read more of his books. If you think of which one, let me know.

      • hey, I actually found it by looking up ron perlman. I remember him in the starring role. memorable, I suppose!
        (geez — stephen king has a lot of stories.)

        your poem reminded me of “desperation.” it’s pretty good, if you’re into that old kingish paranoia, everyone-but-me-is-a-flesh-eating-creature sorta thing.

        a linky —

        • Thanks for getting back to me on that. I have the book–my wife’s been telling me how good it is for years. It is on my list!

  9. Way cool, I really like this one! I agree with Elizabeth’s comment, the old coming back to reflect the new…

  10. This could have worked for my fear poem today. Fabulous tale.

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