Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: pad 2014 (page 1 of 2)

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.

Trigger

Today is a battered guitar crafted
from the light of a new wolf moon
and renewable Canadian cedar.
The strings are made of the glow
of city lights, the rumble of thunder,
the bitterness of coffee, the itch
of poison ivy, the smell of gasoline,
and, well, the sixth string is broken
but it sounded like the dirt under
your porch, Billy, at your house on
birdless Audubon. But with only five
strings, it’s more a banjo, jangling
too fast to understand, summoning
cold front clouds and grokking rain
with some minor diminished seventh
chord of gloom, that J-sharp-flat note
JB spent too many late night hours
trying to discover between the notes
of the western scale and the pages of
his misprinted Bible. And so we will walk
all through the night, a thousand miles
and never leave Austin, the barbed
hours picking and strumming that old
acoustic guitar in the neon pawn shop
window, the one you swear maybe
once belonged to some old testament
angel or maybe even Willie Nelson.

NaPoWriMo #29: 20 Little Poetry Projects | PAD 2014 #29: Magical/Realism

This is based on a NaPoWriMo prompt to incorporate 20 random and strange things from a list into one poem. I think I got all of them in, but I cut one or two for readability. Anyway, here’s the recipe.

I tried this with my students today. It went over quite well with several of my kids coming up with some astonishingly good stuff, most of them having fun, and more than a few wanting to read to the class.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Willie.

It Is Enough

Firewheel (aka Indian Blanket)

It Is Enough

It is enough to walk among the firewheels
even if for a few minutes. It is enough
to breath the springtime air and let time stop.

It is enough to walk up the hill to the stop
sign. It is enough to feel the sun that firewheels
across the sky. Is it enough to say enough?

It is enough to savor cool water, enough
to lean against the wind imagining it will stop.
It is enough for bees to navigate the firewheels.

The firewheels are enough to make time stop.

PAD 2014 #25: Last Straw | NaPoWriMo #25: Anaphora

The Ramble

It was a sunnycool autumn day when I wandered
the Ramble in October of 2010. I wound up in
the 80s, planned to hit the Guggenheim, which I’d
wanted to visit ever since I took that art history
class my senior year when I sat between Emily
and sad Maria. But everything in the museum was
dead, just a bunch of paintings and tourists and
a couple of potheads giggling at these famous
pieces by Kandinsky and Pollock and Picasso
and other celebrity artists. But I wanted a hot dog
and to get back to that perfect day where I could
shoot birds with my Nikon, and the leaves all
changing colors in a way they never do in Austin.
I said it was a cool day and I suppose it was, but
I’m not from New York, so what do I know? Maybe
it was hot. And so out onto 5th and back across the
park to the Upper West Side. I hoofed it to Columbus,
loving the city, loving the day, the weather, the birds,
loving you, travelworking in some cubefarm in Midtown
on this beautiful day. I skipped the Natural History
Museum since you’d want to do that and someday
I bet we will, and we’ll bring our son who was with you
that day too even if we didn’t know it. Didn’t know it
at the time, it wasn’t just the two of us anymore.

PAD 2014 #23: Location | NaPoWriMo #21: “New York School

My attempt at a “New York School” poem using many of the “ingredients” listed here. I decided to set it in in my last trip to NYC back in 2010, tagging along with my wife on one of her work trips.

Lazarus Jewelbox

Inside a shell, there was a sea
holding all the world’s blue waters.
But it was also half full of drought.

All she’d ever known was drought,
but ear to the shell, she heard the sea,
the circling cadence of the waters.

Caroline released the waters
and left a shell now full of drought
and threw it deep into the sea.

Sea waters stall the birth of drought.

PAD 2014: #22: Optimism/Pessimism | NaPoWriMo #19: Seashells

After yesterday’s attempt at a sestina, I decided to try the related tritina, which seems to offer a bit less rope with which to hang oneself.

The Basics of Pressing Flowers

The burned land around the lake is dead
while up above the sky glows red.
Is this the song you longed to sing?
Because now it doesn’t mean a thing.
In this wasteland rid of wildflowers,
my watch ticks away the painful hours.

I walked these ruins for many hours,
imagining the ancient dead.
Around the tombs, funerary flowers
plastic yellow, orange and red.
You once asked if I knew anything.
I said perhaps we should just sing.

Remember all the kids out cruising?
Driving fast through midnight hours
stupid believing we knew everything
we just jammed to the Grateful Dead.
Now I search the books you read,
and find, pressed, your favorite flowers.

I asked an expert the meaning of flowers.
She smiled and asked what I was using.
She said, You tremble and your eyes are red.
Never mind
, I said, it was this love of ours,
and these flowers have long gone dead
so now their meaning isn’t anything.

She said, Don’t you think love’s a thing
that we can write in old pressed flowers?
In these pages they’re not dead,
and if you listen, you’ll hear them sing
that lovely forgotten song of hours
spent watching as the sky turned red.

And so I stop and think of you, Mildred,
and I search for a trace of anything
that might speed up these lonely hours
and help me find the proper flowers
to answer you in pages pressing
as if you weren’t these ten years dead.

As I read a guide to pressing flowers,
it was an odd thing to hear young birds sing
through the afternoon hours of the buried dead.

PAD 2014 #21: Back to the Basics

My first attempt at a sestina. I wanted to play with words that rhyme so I started the first stanza with AABBCC, knowing that the rhyme scheme would change from stanza to stanza, sometimes falling apart all together. I like the way some of it sounds, and I might try it again sometime.

The Summer Forecast

I live in a land of short trees,
tinder and kindling growing

wild on the blackland prairie.
The open blasting sky awaits

bottle rocket cigarette butt sparks.
Folks with an uneasy eye on

brown grass and the roadside
fireworks stands say we just

need one good hurricane.
The rocky soil is a doormat for

the chihuahua desert slinking
eastward. Its dragon’s breath wind

stokes the fires when they come.

PAD 2014 #18: Weather

Sonnet for July

With my feet firmly planted in the sand,
the seagulls might mistake me for a tree.
I’ve no idea why that would matter and
anyway, it’s good to be here by the sea.
It won’t be long before the sun goes down,
and one-by-one the stars fill up the sky.
Soon they’ll switch on the bright lights in the town
and then, we’ll see old Cygnus rising high.
When the fireworks begin to sing and pop,
smoky spiders will weave our summer night.
With each held breath, I’ll wish it never stops
until the dark of space is filled with light.
Do I hear mermaids singing each to each?
No. It is your voice calling from the beach.

PAD 2014 #15: Love Poems

King of the Beasts

In a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral,
a man called himself the king of these beasts.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
The whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.

A man called himself the king of these beasts
who made his house their lair and didn’t mind
the whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.

Who made his house their lair and didn’t mind?
He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him.

He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him
in a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral.

Magpie Tales #215 | PAD 2014 #15: Love Poem

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

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