Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Transcript of a Recording Found in a Briefcase Abandoned on the Plains (c. 1977)

It’s hot here.
I don’t mind.

Was it in Memphis?

No. You know. Where it happened.
Not Memphis. No.

Where? If you don’t mind.


You thought it would be somewhere else,
but things can happen anywhere.

You left there and came here?
Pretty much.

Is it true you won the lottery?
Just a scratch-off.

But you did win.
It was cursed.

Don’t laugh at me.

Sorry. Cursed how?
I see people as they really are. Their true faces.

What do you see when you look at me?


Is that really what you want?
You’ll understand what… happened…
better than you might really want to.

Tell me.
Can I tell you a secret first?

This was inspired by the latest image prompt at Read Write Poem (prompt #81). To see the photo (“XX” by nwolc), which is really cool, follow the link to the prompt or go straight to its Flickr page.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful….

    And please…tell me a secret!

  2. I like the quietness of this. And ‘Tucumcari’–great sounds.

    • Ever since I drove through there once, I’ve loved the word. Love it in Little Feat’s “Willin'” as well.

  3. Wow. This is fantastic. How could anyone resist reading a poem with that title?

  4. Alright, OK, this is just fantastic. I love the line “Don’t laugh at me” and all that it holds, including creating the sense of the interviewer laughing in the interviewer’s silence. What else? Oh, I love this bit: “You thought it would be somewhere else, /
    but things can happen anywhere.” And the entire structure is wonderful. It’s funny, it’s cryptic, it’s quirky. I’m so down with this poem.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I really liked this image you found for the prompt. It’s nice to hear that you see humor in this because I thought of it that way too. Thanks for reading.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for visiting and for your kind comments.

  6. Dropping by… I like this a lot! That photo was tough to key off of, but not only did you come up with a great notion, you create as much atmosphere in what you don’t say as with what you do. And that is no mean feat. Hats off to you. 🙂

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