Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: pad 2016

Twelve Paper Vessels

Twelve paper vessels, lavish in design
floated down the flooded street

the other night. Each one bore the false
teeth of a good lie as they floated past

in the storm’s runoff, singly and in
groups, committees of gnarled words

settling into sentences. What time was it?
When did you leave? Do you remember

that day? These are the things I’d ask
if tongue and teeth and pen were still in sync.



PAD 15: Use 4 of 8 from a Word List | This Is Not a Literary Journal: Visit Peake’s Prompt Generator

Both gave me lists of words. I used some.

sometimes coyotes

sometimes there are coyotes
all around the house

they bed down in the front yard
in the trees and behind my memories

asleep with one eye open, stars
twirl the pole counted and known

they’ll rise and howl at owls, the moon
or anyone else impersonating

strangers who come up to the yard
they stalk a defensive perimeter

while we sleep while we dream
they open the fridge and eat

the last of the girl scout cookies
a little whipped cream for their coffee

come morning they’ve gone, a few
paw prints in the dewy grass


Not a Literary Journal: Ode to an Animal | PAD 11: Defensive Poem


the fossil sky is a thick blanket
fog rolled in from the bay
the trees have disappeared
muffled birdsong drifts in waves
the sea is so close
other continents just a stone’s
throw away skip away
I’m invisible until that stone
thunks into the tide and sinks
down to the seafloor down


PAD 9: Hideout Poem

After the Show

we spent twenty bucks and two
hours to see a movie that showed
only things

we already knew about
urban blight dark corners
love magic and the way

popcorn smells after it’s
been stepped on by
two hundred shuffling feet

black birds land
on a chainlink fence rattling
so faint it could be your failing

the ambulances were so far away
they couldn’t come in time

blue morning
ghost of a moon smile
three vultures



PAD #3: Three (blank)

Panhandler Blues

like Guthrie his
guitar screams

this machine
kills fascists

this guitar
is an animal’s bite

imperfect neck gripped
tight to sparse

applause for a
street busker

trying to change
the world

each measure
a fool’s gamble

might as well
ask the planets

change orbits
for a few coins?

a loose needle
some matches
a few bucks

in the guitar case
open like a mouth
in mid-phrase


PAD #1: Fool | This Is Not a Literary Journal: Word Salad

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