Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: found poems

Dear ladies of the Mothers’ clubs

see your son

see your son
a gun in his hand

belt of shells
around his waist

disarm that boy
teach him—

find diversion
without annihilation


Erasure poem from a letter written by M.B. Davis of Waco to the Texas Congress of Mothers in 1910 regarding the widespread killing of grackles by children who were encouraged to hone their marksmanship skills

Source—“A History of Austin’s Love-Hate Relationship with the Grackle” by Andrew Weber on

Reflections of Trees

When the fog began to clear off, I noticed that the reflection of a tree in the smooth water of an overflowed bank, six hundred yards away, was stronger and blacker than the ghostly tree itself.

faint spectral trees
dimly glimpsed
through the shredding fog


found haibun from Life on the Mississippi (1883) by Mark Twain, Chapter 51: “Reminiscences”


the remnants of wreaths
and bouquets
preserved after a century
and a half. A single leaf
of laurel, a rose bud
faded to rusty orange: slain
as if springtime itself
had been offered
as a sacrifice.


found poem from Goodheart, Adam. “Lincoln.” National Geographic April (2015): 50. Print.

generally speaking

a dark black sky
means open water
and this is known
as an open-water sky

high lights in the sky
mean ice
and this is known
as ice-blink

Found Poem from The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctica 1910-1913 by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (Kindle Edition, p44)

The Wreck of a Century

titanic erasure

The Wreck of a Century

this graveyard of metal
its attraction so strong

so cold so deep
one coward radioed

the future, drifted
to our modern world

everything so wondrous
came crashing down

Erasure poem created from “Unseen Titanic.” National Geographic. Apr 2012, pp 87-88

“Fleeting” at Verbatim Poetry

My poem “Fleeting” is up at Verbatim Poetry. It’s a found poem made from a paragraph in the March 2014 issue of National Geographic. It caught my attention because it echoes several of the images and ideas found in my 2010 poem “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea” originally published in Poets for Living Waters (Aug 2010) and recently read by NS at The Poetry Storehouse.

Driftwood at Right Hand Pointing

My erasure poem “Driftwood” (from a page in Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher”) is up at Right Hand Pointing. It’s an honor to have my poem included in this fine issue celebrating found poetry. It was originally posted here along with a photo of the page I worked from including my marks and highlights. Thanks, Dale & Howie for publishing this one!





For days unmentioned
I dreamt the speaking guitar.

Darkness poured forth
the physical radiation
of solemn hours,

the wild air, the last waltz,
the compass of words,

the utter simplicity
of attention.

–Erasure poem made from Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”


This is inspired by Dave Bonta’s erasure project based on Pepys’ Diary. He’s been at it for a while coming up with some interesting stuff, and so I figured I’d give it a go after rereading his post about his working method. I grabbed a Poe collection that was nearby, flipped to a page from “Usher,” made a copy and started working. I used a highlighter to find the words, typed the poem, played with line breaks, cut some things out and then crossed out everything that wasn’t used.

Later I tried this with one of my creative writing classes, and they really enjoyed it. It was the kind of thing that inspired a lot of gripes, complaints, and this is too hards, but by the end of the period most of them were surprised to have enjoyed it and more importantly surprised by what they found lurking in the pages of their books.

For my part, I enjoyed working within the rules and how it pulled me a bit away from my own head, words and thoughts. This might get addictive. Stay tuned.

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