Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: pantoums

A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea (Video Remix)

This is a video remix of my poem “A Necklace for the Goddess of the Empty Sea” made by Nic Sebastian. The poem can be found at The Poetry Storehouse, Nic’s site that collects “great contemporary poems for creative remix” including a few of my own.

This is the first video made from one of my poems, and I was quite thrilled to see it. How fascinating and wonderful a thing to release one’s work and then have it come back like this. Truly, it made my day.

For those who may be interested, the poem was first “officially” published in August 2010 at Poets for Living Waters (along with two others) and was written in response to a prompt at the now-defunct Big Tent Poetry. Here are the process notes I wrote at the time:

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.

Thanks again to Nic Sebastian for creating The Poetry Storehouse and for taking the time and care to create this beautiful video.

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

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.

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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