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Rain:

Rain. I walk part way
to where I don't want to go,
then take a bus home.


Out of the rain -
a museum - staring at me, is it...
Yes, Rembrandt, hello.

The L.A. Museum has several of Rembrandt's self-portraits.


Green silk L.A. sky;
through the rainbow's foot creeps
a police helicopter.

That's what I saw, folks. It seemed to define L.A. for me. It's dream land (the end of the rainbow) with a strong police presence. It really has no winter, just a rainy season -- and is most beautiful and clean-aired shortly after rain.


Rain on the roof
this fall night...gray dawn --
I must have slept.


Snagged on the wiper,
back and forth scrapes
a dead leaf.


Fall evening.
Rain patter, swish of wipers,
poor smiling billboard people.

Their smiles frozen, designed to be livened by the shared cravings of spectators for the giant painted cigarettes, candies and sodas on the billboard illuminated by the toothy smiles of their pictured possessors. So there they are, ghostly things looming up out of the rain, visages of beings who have no idea what has become of their smiles, like my words, abandoned to page or computer screen, having to make their own way; even these words, frozen in contemplative meander, caught briefly (like deer in the headlights) in the sharp eye of an impatient browser, looking for something...what? Sexy? Passionate? Funny? Pretty? Yes, it's nearly always a cold rainy night for art.


Trying to write of you.
In the wet window,
A man with a pen.


No rain. Cars clawed by
wind-blown sand shiver
in watery eyes.


Empty lawn chairs
out in the rain. The house too
is empty. And the street.


Rain. A car being towed away.
Somewhere the owner
doesn't know yet.


In April rain,
new maple leaves hang, half folded,
like bats.


Icy rain outside.
Warmest thanks to whoever
invented inside.


What season is this
that raindrops do not cool,
but burn?

Raindrops on the roof,
still a gentle sound, but now
they'd sting your eyes.

A reference to acid rain in the above two poems.


Rain outside?
Or wind rattling
the live oak?

Florida live oaks have small, hard leaves that, at some seasons, rattle against one another.


Thunder! "...and just move
the couch over here..." says Hera
to Zeus.

As kids we were told that the red sunset was the angels cooking their supper. So it occurred to me that thunder might be the gods rearranging their furniture. Isn't Zeus "the Thunderer"? (Of course, Zeus wouldn't want us to know that Hera was the boss.)


Rain-wet parking lot gleams.
Cars ride the surface
like water bugs.

When cars are on wet asphalt at night, it seems odd that they remain on the surface, since the street seems liquid.


Outside my window,
rain in the alley, sounds
like a waterfall.


Last night, ice cream,
this morning gray drizzle:
plop...plop..plopplop...

If ice cream affects your guts as it does mine, you'll know that the plops in the last line are not only the sound of morning drizzle.


Under a pine --
my tongue catches a rain drop --
taste of wind.


So clean after rain.
Trees, bushes, blades of grass
shower me with jewels.


Listen to the rain...
good - now let the rain
listen to you.


Stillness after rain -
CAW of sudden crow
bursts from my brain.


Lightning, heavy rain.
"STAY OFF THE ROADS" says the
car radio.

The point being (but you caught it, I'm sure) that if I'm hearing this on the car radio, the warning comes too late for me.


I'm tired of crying.
It's been raining all day -
that will have to serve.


All week, rain -
up easy, roots and all,
the drunken weeds.


Greyhound moves into
grey folds of rain. Vacation
unfolds, veil by veil.


Rain, headlights,
shiny puddles, somewhere
the lane markers.


Rain clears the sky --
who put all these new mountains
behind the rim of hills?

I'd gotten so used to the smog in the San Fernando Valley that it astonished me, one clear winter morning, to see distant snow-capped mountains beyond the brown and green hills that, until then, had seemed to be the rim of the horizon.


Cold rain. At last
the car heater kicks in...
Ahh!


Light disintegrates
on the windshield, revealing
a fine mist.

Sometimes you don't realize your windshield is misting up until a bright light strikes it.


Rain...cold! But not
my mind. BRRR! Even my mind
is not my mind.

Don't ask me what this means. I out-Zen'd myself. OK, one way to see it is that "my mind" can mean, almost, "myself", but one can distance oneself from that bustle of mental image pictures and computations, sink into a silence where one is not it, where it is an alien contraption. In this poem, the more obvious meaning is that this is an icy rain, and one is out in it, but tries to retreat into one's mind (mind over matter), and feels as if the cold has infiltrated that as well. But also, feels a certain detachment from the self that is shivering.


After rain,
leaves spill droplets: Oops!
They say -- Oops...Oops...

I've heard many falling droplets say "Oops!" But your droplets may speak a different dialect.


Hot!
Even the rain is just
more humidity.


Two days of rain --
feeling better now,
sky?

Toys with the truism, "You just need a good cry."


Yard newly paved
with wet oak leaves,
some on the rug.


Warm rain. Yet
the sound, the darkened sidewalk
are cool.


Morning -- rain?
Or am I inside the heart
of a small bird?


Hard rain scolds:
our pear tree shouldn't have kept
its leaves so long.


Rain. I stay inside
where the rain can't touch me, but
neither can the sky.


After fog,
clouds far enough away
to be seen.

Fog itself is a cloud, but surrounds us, so seems shapeless.


A Lost Autumn

I write of fall rain --
rain outside makes me listen,
rain that isn't you.

I write this fall of you --
in the wet window
a man with a pencil.

The light left on
in the room where I wrote
unanswered letters.

Autumn rain drips,
walls creak, a man writes, a fly
buzzes somewhere.


Rain-streaked window --
all the pines become
weeping willows.


I try to hear each drop
in the rain's fugue --
dizzying.


Wet highway --
a drive-in movie's flicker;
I've cried in movies.

I thought this one immortal when I wrote it, but already half my readers won't remember what a drive-in movie theater was. For them, this note: Most communities used to have movie theaters into which you'd drive your car and watch the movie, sound provided by a device you pulled into the car at the driver's window. From the highway, you could see the flicker of the movie screen, distant giant heads emoting, but without sound, and, in this case, blurred by a rainy night. The speaker, on the one hand, has his own things to cry about, on the other, senses that if movies that have had the power to move him so, can seem mere distant flickers in the rain, his own troubles too may be tamed by some sort of distance.


The rhythmic nodding
of trees in the rain -- old Jews
davening.

"Davening" is a sort of rhythmic swaying, forward and back, a bobbing of the upper body into a half bow and back up repeatedly, while reciting or chanting prayers, particularly among observant Jews.


All day overcast,
but few drops. The cat blinks,
dozes: Rain -- big deal.


Caught in the rain,
writing. This café
to keep my ink dry.

Inexpensive restaurants, diners, coffee houses, etc. are very convenient for poets, especially in rainy Seattle, where this one was written.


September, gray clouds
sweep L.A.'s sky clean
with brooms of rain.


Red mud, brown puddle,
pebbles, weeds, a grass tuft,
cement, stranded worms.

Just a list, a sort of catalog of what might be noticed by one whose eyes are on the ground, looking out for puddles and half-drowned worms to avoid.


L.A. After rain,
shiny as when new-made and
about to vanish.

It seems to me the crest of newness would be a vanishing point. Ideas, love, marriages, societies remain new as long as they are continually created, created, created. As soon as we stop creating them, they vanish, replaced by banal masqueraders. I suspect the same is true of objects and universes.


Drizzle all day
from a skyless
cloud.

Word play, here, though not too distractive: Reversing the more usual "cloudless sky." When the gray is low enough and solid enough, it seems there is no sky.


Heavy rain,
distant hiss of tires
grinding up rain drops.

Even when the rain seems to drown out the motor noise, you can still hear the tires on the wet asphalt.


Biting down on lettuce--
outside a sudden spatter
of rain.

Somehow the crispness and the flavor of fresh lettuce seemed a good accompaniment for the sudden spattering noise outside.


Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Rain

Wind

Night

Morning

Dusk

Walking

Places

Children

Lovers

Loss and Loneliness and aloneness

Characters

Old Age

Music

A Poet's Life

Cats

Dogs

Beasts

Birds

Insects

Plants

Trees

Telephones and TVs

Things

Mankind