Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: napowrimo 2012 (page 1 of 4)

NaPoWriMo Redux

For the third year in a row, I attempted the NaPoWriMo poem-a-day thing. I managed 34 poems, one each day, 22 of which were small stones and the rest longer form poems. I always have mixed feelings about this as it tends to upset my usual inclination to do some revision before posting. Not that there wasn’t revision, just very little. Still, I think I have some things to work with.

In the past, I’ve managed to write a few April poems that I wind up liking, but this year I’m not so sure. I’m just happy that I was able to write every day, something of a small accomplishment in and of itself. For a while now, the past year really, I’ve been trying to find a way back into daily writing and now that sleep and restful nights are becoming more common, I’m finding the time to get back in touch with that part of myself.

As I said a few years ago after napowrimo, the time spent not writing is just as important as the time spent writing and that hasn’t changed, but carving out a little time to write has brought a bit more balance and even clarity to my days. I am the sort of writer who writes regardless of whether or not inspiration strikes, but if I don’t write every day, I won’t be ready when it does.

I’m still trying to make sense of writing and my relationship to it. I suppose I always will, but I do know that sitting and writing something—anything—every day is critically important whether what I write is good or a rambling post like this one.


Kudos to some of my fellow poem-a-day writers: Deb, Angie and Joseph whose poems I read and greatly enjoyed even if I didn’t comment as much as I should have.

I’m eagerly looking forward to the arrival of my copies of two new books: Ancient Lights by Dick Jones and The Most Beautiful Thing by Fiona Robyn.

Toward Home

I drag my tired, sweating body high up Enchanted Rock, gaze out through the wind at what surely thrilled even the Comanche in their wildest cowboy fighting days. From this rock in the sky, I can see the ancient highway binding the horizons. I remember oceans on each end, all the stories written in the asphalt and the sky between. Civilization so long gone, only the old man in the ranger’s hat remembers anything but vultures, yet home lies just over that hill, down that endless road.

And with a prose poem, that’s the end of another year of napowrimo. I managed to write poetry every day: 22 small stones and 12 long poems including 2 ghazals, 1 pantoum and 2 prose poems. I’ll write something more reflective of the experience in the next few days, but for now I’m happy I managed to do this.

Now for a shameless plug: the paperback edition of my book is still on sale at Amazon through the end of the month, which is only a few more hours.


Mexican hat
and fields of thistle
a still sky


baby bird
struggles for the sky
wheels crunch bone

Sometimes I wish I couldn’t capture these “fully engaged moments” as Fiona puts it. Or that I could disengage. Or that I could have done something. Or that the driver was more engaged, though I doubt he even knew the bird was there.


sitting in the tub
my son

grasps at water

tiny wrinkled fingers


he stands in his crib
smiling and waving at me
where have ten months gone?


live oak branches
nighttime beetles hover
among shadowed leaves

Most Beautiful Thing

US 290 East

Most Beautiful Thing

highway, the highway, oh beautiful thing
flowing under a circling sky
our son asleep, eastbound
wildflower spring, old prairie towns

flowing under a circling sky
blackland prairie, gnarled oaks
wildflower spring, old prairie towns
cedar along barbed wire fence rows

blackland prairie, gnarled oaks
long rolling hills, windblown grass
cedar along barbed wire fence rows
speeding trucks, dusty roads

long rolling hills, windblown grass
our son asleep, eastbound
speeding trucks, dusty roads
highway, the highway, oh beautiful road

This is inspired by Fiona Robyn’s new novel The Most Beautiful Thing. Since I’m doing napowrimo, I figured I’d use it as a prompt for today since this is the day Fiona is blogsplashing the book by offering the Kindle version for free. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve read her novel Thaw, which I enjoyed very much.

Creepy School Cafeteria Nutrition Posters

Cauliflower’s been working out, ripped clothes and muscled arms urge everyone to dance. The blueberry girls and grape chicks with their leafy hair giggle and smile nearby. In walks Whole Grain Hipster, sporting a suit of bread and cereal like a seventies cartoon pimp, swaggering down the lunch line, healthy, cat, healthy, he nods over at the clique cliché of all the artsy individualistic girls: the lonely beet, eyes closed playing Dylan on her sad guitar, the bubbly pixie art grape, splashing paint so dreamy. Off in the corner by the water fountain, a cluster of grapes with black-eyed peas for eyes, fruit from the vineyard by the reactor, laugh through their carefully carved mouths while a lone mushroom makes his getaway on a hot rutabaga balloon made from some unfortunate member of misunderstood beet girl’s family, turned upside down, greens shredded and stalks used for lines. It’s a tough world for veggies and the fungus always wins but it’s healthy, man, so healthy.

I administered our state social studies test to a group of sophomores and juniors in the cafeteria today and so I had a lot of time to study the posters in there. File this one under ekphrasis.


silent nestbox
one chickadee didn’t fledge
I bury him in his nest

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