It never rains in Southern California: Ten for Today

September 12, 2016

The deserted parking lot on a Monday night at 7:50 p.m., one lone woman standing in an empty store, peering out the window into the low-lit night, it looks like the opening scene of a horror movie. Time freezes as the camera zeroes in on the woman’s catatonic face, drugged with the silent motionless night. The light peering from the cracked-open door leading to the store back room casts menace into the scene.

Will the spell be broken?

The painted prancing orange Corgi silhouette on the dog training parlor next door leaps to no one, nowhere. Odd. No clear launching or landing points for the dog–seems implausible. I’m not sure I’d take my dog there with that emblematic greeting: teach your dog to leap from nowhere to nowhere. Eerie and unsafe.

Seems pointless.

Like paying someone to write lame stories—pumping her creativity, not the store coffers. What should I do? Take to the boulevard with one of those huge arrows to twirl, dancing customers into the store or causing accidents by the distraction?

Who would mind the store?

Perhaps the old man picking through the trash in front of the store could keep an eye on the place while I wrestle up business. Ah, but he’s destroyed the horror movie ambiance with his fruitless search. But no, not picking through the trash (that’s reserved for the 50-something bedraggled woman in the wheelchair right around 9 p.m.), he’s throwing out trash and heading in!

“Did you see it?!!”

“What? See what?! (Yes! Some action heading my way).

“The rain. It’s raining. I even had to use my wipers to swipe it away once.”


Tomorrow it will rain


Tomorrow it will rain and clean us.

Tomorrow the winds will blow, the

Seagulls cry and the oceans below

Swallow us deliciously deep inside.

Tomorrow it will rain sorrow’s smile

Amniotic wide soothing wild comfort,

As prickly mist-spray freckles faces

That gather and drip in blind rivulets.

The forest hounds heard it first again.

Tomorrow’s earth welled in tears will

Return us breathing wet gilled gasps

Coughing air empty as the promise 

Of flight in flapping wingless arms to

A raging sun’s scourge to proud men.  

But tomorrow’s rain will drown sins of

Stories told and re-told, lies in truth,

Til we too believe the cause-effect, a

Cumuli soothsayer’s scientific stream,

Meteorologist, fortune-teller and god,

Tomorrow it will rain and clean us all.

Road Trip

Travel jumpstarts wonder. 

Leaving the usual haunts along the same paths to and from work, market or eateries, draws out the dormant words, smoldered sparks awaiting flint. 

Nothing but changing scenery piques alertness, imagery and observation so profoundly. 

I eat nature.  

Travel bits piece large land masses speeding roadside to tiny impressions, ideas and memory fragments, creating a large mosaic of tile-words. 

As I write, I fly over the Pacific on my way to Seattle to meet a connecting flight to Spokane, where she awaits.

More likely she waits for my call: “I’m here.” 

She and I will drive the distance Google reports as 19 and a 1/2 hours, but I know better. 

Last June, we drove her to Spokane for school. 

She left school–and Spokane–in December to come home and heal.

Last week, she finally returned to the life she began to make there before the unfortunate detour, the accident.

Her head.

She, who took me to a radical feminist art show last April, who sometimes wears a “cunt” pin, who sports Klimt’s The Kiss line drawing of two women tattooed above her ankle, and who smirkingly cranks up Taylor Swift’s “We are never getting back together” on the car radio, will be my car companion across three states homeward.

Road trip.

Just like last year, the rain astonishes us, its violent insistence.

And again, the greenness of green, the way rain pelts the tinny Honda framed windows reminds me of crackling gum chewers, and the nod to engineers knowing that windshield wipers need three or four speeds, these three I recall in a whirlwind road-swallowing marathon beside a semi-conscious travel mate.

She peered into satan’s screen for 23 of the 24 hours. 

But she never could figure out how to find the nearest vegan restaurant to the five freeway in downtown, perhaps too daft from sleeplessness or not acquainted with practical phone features as much as the camera, social media apps and texting.

I grow older in bounding leaps, too old for freezing, middle-of-the-night rest stops along two-lane, farm-house roadways without gas stations for 94 miles and cramped, compact car cabins designed for legless sleepers.

It could have been the blue moon.

I drove and drove, sidling mountain edges; through snowy pines and meadows, rain-soaked forests and cloud-burst flashes drenching miles of almond trees squared off in rows blurring into golden heather fields dotted with black Jerseys ruminating time and space in their masticant jowly bovine stares prescient with the soon-approaching L.A. traffic psychosis.

And home.

Only my biceps carry the road residuals: the mindless painful wheel gripping in the desperate fight against gravity’s theory. 

In the Dim Day Afternoon

 We are an enclave of two, me in my wool sweater bunched big over my shoulders and you in that mottled  calico talc fur slung silkily about you like steam covered hot linen hung to dry in the crisp morning. 

While the rain whispers rumors of quiet mountain tops billowing powder mists, we settle the dark day in motel rhymes and figures, you curled stilly into yourself, me in half open heavy lids of thick thoughts.

Dripping gray afternoons go like this sometimes, lamp light and halogen halos smoldering light in echoes across the gritty wall as if the moon had been kept eons in a closet but then finally sprung.

The haunting mesh of daylight dim and nighttime kindle lit fuses daymares and nightdreams–you flinching in confused sleep, me somnambulantly signing a screen–prompting trees to twitch lies.

Outside the torrents settle into a storm’s afterthought, the sieve of fury dying out in mere frowns and hisses like the dancing crickets scraping leg music behind your closed lids audible to half mast mine.

Willow and me, no one else telepaths the wind’s significance, the rain’s history, nor the weather’s detritus quite like we two in certain dusty climes and time of day, when the nodding light slants true.

Exactly Ten Raindrops Fell Today


Delaying the inevitable chore,

distasteful, disagreeably utile,

cracking open a creative divide,

writing mercenary words to eat.

Powerful procrastination widens

my eyes smoldering laser-see

the clouds churning charged,

ready to release and pour rain.

The storyline unfolds just then:

He had a girlfriend at the time.

Saigon had fallen two years prior.

So, his coming trailed calamity.

She walked the color of caress,

peaked fem-enigmatic effusion,

lithe boned and delicate fleshly.

Her name, a chilly winter song,

juxtaposing a bronzed-fire will,

she led him to the sun wingless.

And I watched behind a column

I constructed far too narrowly

to hide the heavy haunting me,

the girth of stony mind sleights.

I, velveted brown-eyed insecure, 

peered around an Ionic pillar thin,

to gaze on a gazer, distant-drawn

drinking her gauzy gray-blue sea.

His eyes pierced her silken skin

hollowed her safe harbor’s vapor.

And there he knelt, nose in the air

sensing the suck of the sea’s loss

ebbing tides of futile passage…

and so it begins, drops descending,

disrupting imagery as I trace them,

all ten of them mustered in distress

great blustery burst of all but naught.

Like sitting by the window waiting

for inspiration and steely wit to spin

commercial cogs of nil to the world.