Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: goddess poems

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.

Imagining Rain

Can you imagine the glory
of the crow, a black spell,
a rippled myth? What goddess
broke the simple spiral shell
and carved its powers
on her belly? Children, do
you see green towers in
your tales of water, sun, and
trees? At what temperature
does dancing turn to liquid?
Can you sing a song of rain
and pay the price to bring the
sleeping goddess from her bed?
Do you smell ozone, brother?
The old timers say it comes
just before the pallid rain.

NaPoWriMo #14: 20 Questions | We Wordle #14

Sheltered Between the Rays

Unwrap each mote of dust
suspended in the sunlight

borrowed from a Saturday
spent dissecting almonds,

snakes, and birds. Our books
tell us almost nothing

of this goddess sheltered
in the ripples of the day

but open your palm to the
light. Feel her brush your skin.

Now sing us all the jagged songs
you suddenly can sing.

Magpie Tales #214 | We Wordle #13 | PAD 2014 #9: Shelter

Ghazal for Seven Goddesses

Pilgrims lost their way and wept, hearts broken
at the plundered tomb of their slain goddess.

Forests withered; deserts grew. Clouds stood still
for summons from a silent rain goddess.

Did you tremble before rocket engines
that ended your long lunar reign, goddess?

The old arthritic masters paint you vain,
so I near missed you dressed so plain, goddess.

Myths tell of deities for all things of
sky and sea. Come fly, oh airplane goddess.

Gasoline, butane, ethylene, your names
burn bright, oh my fiery propane goddess.

I’ll sing the verse, the chorus, chant. I’ll keep
the lonely beat for your refrain, goddess.

Another goddess poem that kind of references this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one. I wonder if the other two goddesses will get their own poems some day.

I first posted the couplets on Twitter. I’ve been doing that with some of my old ghazals too and seeing how (or if) they work as tweets.

Ghazal for a Nearly Forgotten Rain Goddess

Wilderness is a circus ride; I jump
silver turnstiles and dodge my fare tonight.

Somewhere on the withered plains, coyotes
howl and cry as they leave their lairs tonight.

Lonely weather satellites trek all through
the salted skies like robot prayers tonight.

You claim constellations for forgotten
nations on dusty roads we share tonight.

Your voice, mellifluous, you whisper and
name the hurricane wind-stirred air tonight.

Come thunder and southern lightning storms you
rejoice, “Let rainfall be our heir tonight.”

I’ve had my students experimenting with ghazal writing. It’s been interesting, and some of them have really gotten into it. A few had trouble grasping the radif (that repeating word at the end of each couplet) and wrote some decent poems sans radif. Trying to help them figure out how to get a radif in there, I turned to Johnny Cash and suggested they try his example from “I’ve Been Everywhere”:

I’ve been everywhere, man.
I’ve crossed the deserts bare, man.
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I’ve had my share, man.
I’ve been everywhere, man.

Not a ghazal really, but a ghazalish chorus at least. And so I got a few ghazals that use homie and dawg as the radif. Several of them worked quite well and would even make decent raps, which is why I think the kids who are serious about rapping really latched onto this.

Oh, and mellifluous was the word of the day. Bonus points are added to any assignment in which students use their SAT words of the day.

What the Dog Saw One Night on the Beach

The turtles came at night
and hid their eggs; the dog,
unwanted stray, came down to eat.

When angels hatched
he barked and stared, head
cocked and ears erect.

The first of the angels
lifted her goddess eyes
to this desolate wind-scoured
world of stony hearts
setting moon, roaring sea.

The dog considered the angel
a moment (which would count
as seven moments in human time)

then he trotted back to town
and lay outside the souvenir stand
where the owner usually left
a bowl of scraps each morning.

For Magpie Tales #112

Announcement: My book, Birds Nobody Loves, is on sale (15% off the paperback) throughout April in celebration of National Poetry Month. You can order it from Amazon or my e-store. I don’t know when (or if) the price will take effect at other retailers.

For Gasoline

Her name was Gasoline;
she was my goddess.

I chased her down highways
and through years.

Driven mad by her
perfume and shimmer,

her invitation to ride,
whispers of adventure.

She ran me a twisted road
to strange cities until

somewhere in the traffic,
the heat of endless delay,

I stopped
and forgot the road.

But she’s still out there and
though her name is cursed,

she still smells like freedom
and wild younger days.

Old Selene Telling Lies

My old feet are pinprick cold these days.

I sleep in socks and dream of stars
and wear slippers all day long.

I ruined these beat old stompers
when security had me marched
down from the moon.

(Hand me that Epsom salt, would you, hon?)

It was a long road down,
and I wore lousy shoes.
The way was cold, strewn with debris,
the Earth just bluing then.

I stumbled over gravity, kicked back
the comet curtain and saw you,
so beautiful by the pale light
of my old waning moon.

I lost track of the steps I took, then.
Eventually, I quit counting all the miles.

In the end, though, they forgot all about me,
but then that’s just how it goes
for us used-up old goddesses, isn’t it?

(Oh, baby, these dogs’re barking.)

This is for Big Tent Poetry’s latest prompt, which suggests we write about feet. That’s where this started but then it walked off (har-har, oh I slay me) in a surprising direction when I found myself writing the line about walking down from the moon.

There are just a few gnarled oak chapbooks left. It’s a collection of my favorite micro-poems from 2010 previously tweeted, ‘dented or otherwise shared. Let me know if you want one. They’re free and I’ll ship them anywhere.

Read more feet poems here.

A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea

After years in the desert, when he reached the empty sea,
he knelt in the sand and prayed to the rusted ships
bobbing lifeless on the shimmering black waves.
Syringes and glass glistened in the sand like ruined stars.

He knelt in the sand and prayed to the rusted ships.
In the grimy brownlight of evening, he collected treasures:
syringes and glass glistened in the sand like ruined stars.
From these bones of the past, he made her a necklace.

In the grimy brownlight of evening, he collected treasures;
he found bits of plastic and driftwood poisoned with tar.
From these bones of the past, he made her a necklace.
Imagining her beautiful again, he sang like the birds of legend.

He found bits of plastic and driftwood poisoned with tar
bobbing lifeless on the shimmering black waves.
Imagining her beautiful again, he sang like the birds of legend
after years in the desert, when he reached the empty sea.

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.

Just for grins, I de-pantoumified (de-pantsed?) it . It’s easier for me to follow this way since I can get lost in all that repetition, but it loses that legend-y vibe, I think.:

After years in the desert
when he reached the empty sea,
he knelt in the sand
and prayed to the rusted ships
bobbing lifeless on the shimmering
black waves. Syringes and glass
glistened in the sand
like ruined stars. In the grimy
brownlight of evening, he collected
treasures. He found bits of plastic
and driftwood poisoned with tar.
From these bones of the past,
he made her a necklace.
Imagining her beautiful again,
he sang like the birds of legend.

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