After a hot, dry week

What is that smell called?–I asked–
rain on dirty asphalt–
the steam rising with a scent
pronounced and like no other

We ran to the shops, pelted
with raindrops the size of buckshot.
“Petrichor,” he said
and I shook my head–

No, that is the rain on the dirt.
This is the smell of soldiers going to war
and their mothers’ heartbreak

“Why,” he asked, “do you have to do that?”
What? I eyed the shop shelves–and my list.
“Make me feel this ache?”

He paused, a pound of bacon
in his hand
in my peripheral

I didn’t start the war–I said
picking up a can of coffee, and
putting it into our cart

 

coffee gray.jpg



it is ten a.m.
and the house is gray
the rooms are gray and the ceiling
is gray, and
when I look outside
the sky is gray
it does not look bright
or gay–today

in my head
it is dark like my coffee
but I am tranquil

Passion and politics

Raindrops are lost to clods of dirt
stirred by your footfall
you–so much taller than I
I thought they were your tears
falling over my head

I wish you had been sober
when you said you wanted me
I wish you had been kinder
when you got sober

You voted badly–I know it
you hammered me with your politics
you didn’t know shit
about foreign policy

You still could have stayed–
you could untie my knots
and did not tell me, while
I was trying to get at your heart

You said you hated the Beatles
but I still would have stayed
when you smashed my vintage ABBA record–
I walked out and you panicked

I miss you staring into my eyes
til I had to look down
I miss staring at your lap
til you blushed

It is raining again
the clods of dirt
stirred up by your footfall
I still listen for

graduation speech




there was something they never told us
the way things feel in the night when it rains
and every kind of emotion drawn out
by school and girl scouts and travelogues-
don’t be afraid, you will get through it
but no one promises you won’t be scarred
each mark you are proud of today, tomorrow
you will sue the city for, bound and determined
to be something other than them, someone else
that does not fail to be all that you can be
the cliché of the moment, and in forty years,that
all-encompassing deliberation of 12 angry men
to decide your guilt knowing
you probably are not innocent, not
really, but no one will ever ever know about
that time in the fitting room so as far as the
neighbors are concerned, you could be Eleanor
Roosevelt, after all, you did pay for that
annual firemans calendar and you didn’t come by
that burn mark on your thigh playing pinochle

she doesn’t know who she is
all the clouds look like rain
every man walks by
in a white t-shirt and faded jeans
and no one ever asks her
who she is – no one ever wants to know
where she came from
all her weather she brings with her
all the storms she leaves behind

rain requires poets answer
typically I reply
often silent until
I have something to say
then you can’t shut me up
about who it is
that can’t stop crying
from the sky

Twisted candy

I saw us
as chocolate and cherry
but over time
we are
Lemonheads and black licorice
sour and bitter
just enough sweet
to keep you on my mind

and every time it rains
we melt a little more
hold on baby
it is going to get
slippery
each dream
a place to get traction
if we do not let go

Puddles

Can you hear me?
My voice is quieter
after the storm
the windows shut tight
to keep the rain out

When the blue gets in
in spite of my weather-proof house
I pull up the memory of a day
when the rain felt good

We splashed and danced
and thumbed our noses
at the soaking wet
knowing we could take it

wearing our
falling-in-love-again macs

Raining for days

Are we fools
The rain falls and we avoid it
afraid to shine in the middle
of puddles afraid to be struck
soaking clean in April
still trying to get it up
that umbrella
we are better off without

Are we off our heads
when we walk in opposite directions
despite the signs in front of us
mile after mile
not to mention the one
on which I smacked my head
and all those words
you knitted together through the winter

Are we finished
the rain falls over us
where I tied you to the park bench
a gift so that just once
you could see inside my head
while I dance in the rain
tell me, when I untie your wrists
and your ankles, will you run

or will you be dancing with me
when the morning comes