Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: texas

Since Lonesome Dove

Between prairie fires, buffalo
and wind few trees could live
here. The ones that did take root
and survive grew tall over the grass.
We stopped the fires, and the buffalo
are gone. Now fences provide
shelter for saplings to grow.
But when I drive up 183 toward
Abilene sometimes an oak catches
my eye, a tree, hundreds of years
old. Settlers would have known
this tree, Comanches too, I’m sure.
And ever since I read Lonesome
Dove
, I can’t help but wonder
what horse rustlers may have been
hanged from its branches, their legs
twitching in the space above
the wildflowers blooming.

PAD 2014 #4: Since… | We Write Poems #207

Deeper into Texas

(formerly titled “It’s Like a Whole Other Country”)

On a high plains concrete ribbon
(there is nothing) north of Amarillo,
telephone poles stand like crucifixes
after the condemned have blown away.

It’s like a whole other country

On the plains of San Jacinto, a story is told
in blood, in oil, where Houston routed Santa Ana;
hundred years go by, blood is dry, and
oil gushes forth from Spindletop.

Recoiling back to sacred ground

A monumental obelisk marks the battle field,
but the great refineries offering smoke, fire,
filth to heaven hide it from I-10. These are
the real monuments here: the refineries,

The highways

Rolling on to San Antone and overpriced margaritas,
overdone river walk and Hard Rock Café, once
Mexico’s northern town, now we visit the birthplace
of our finest ghosts. Remember that old Alamo?

Legends larger than life

Shrine to Texas heroes, and the arrest
of Ozzy Osbourne.  The church still stands,
tomb of Crockett, Travis, Bowie, beseiged
now by hotels, offices, power lines.

Sparking into lucid dreams

They say there’s another Alamo near Del Rio,
built for a John Wayne movie set.  More real than
the real one, the screams of ghosts and musket fire
still echo, reverberating loudest at the fake Alamo.

Drowned out by open windows

Stopping in at Luckenbach, we drink a round of beers
No one really lives here, but they all come out on Sundays
singing songs by Willie, Waylon and the boys.
Throw back a couple beers with passing strangers.

Let the journey be a story

Under these stars, above old dinosaur bones and
Indian camps, traveling interstate lifelines like
blood through arteries, we find freedom on the
highways, concrete and legend, forever

Binding this place to myth

This is for Read Write Poem. This week’s prompt was to find poetry in relaxation or slogans. I spent some time thinking about slogans and finally decided to learn the tourism department’s slogan for Texas, which became the title of the poem.

That Ain’t No Open Records Request

Today being Texas Independence Day, it seems fitting to take a look back at a bit of Texas history.

I saw this statue last week when I was on Congress. I hadn’t seen it before, but it commemorates one of my favorite episodes in Texas history: The Texas Archive War. It’s one of those things that makes you proud to be an Austinite.

In 1839, the Republic of Texas’ capitol was moved from the festering swamplands of Houston to Austin, a move that former president Sam Houston did not like. When Houston became president again in 1841, he ordered the capitol moved back to Houston and sent some men to retrieve the nation’s archives from the dirty commie hippies in Austin.

When his goons arrived and began loading up the archives, which were stored in the General Land Office, Austinites were asleep, but Angelina Eberly heard noise, ran outside and fired a canon to alert the locals. Even though she blew a hole in the General Land Office building, Houston’s men escaped with the archives.

A posse of angry Austinites took the canon and chased Houston’s men to Round Rock where they surrendered without a fight (Houston had ordered that no one get hurt), thus ending the Texas Archive War.

The statue honors Angelina Eberly without whose heroism and prowess with a canon, the capitol might still be in Houston and Texas’ conservative politicians would never have been able to enjoy their biennial Austin bashing.

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