A project of sorts

So, I’ve had this idea for a while. An idea and a problem. I have all of this old writing that looms as something like a millstone around my neck. It’s a stumbling block. I want to put it to some purpose.

I thought revisiting some of my old writing would be… interesting. And, in order to help make it come alive for you, I’ve decided to record myself reading it, in addition to posting the text. Even if no one does read/listen, at the very least I’ll by etching some virtual lines into the eternal grammophone.

I’m starting with this series of poems I wrote in the winter of 2000 (I think. I’ve been worrying over these for such a long time, it’s tough to remember). It was pretty dark and wet. Things I was pretty obsessed with at the time, as I seem to recall thinking that my brain was working about as well as something smothered in damp mulch. Funny how things grow out of that…

The imagery of the man drowning in the rain comes from a science fiction story by Ray Bradbury (I believe) that always stuck with me. It’s a story about astronauts who are stuck outside on Venus, a world where it never stops raining. I recollect that they all end up drowning in the rain. I was living in Portland at the time, can you tell?

Here goes: (Well, the little player didn’t work, but you can download the MP3 file.)

Memory I

the winter is glooming now

dripwater is sliding down the windowpanes

the frost on my mind is hoared with weather,

slicing clocks and stale breakfasts,

muddied plans and senseless perseverence

there was a time

when the rain would have driven me mad

pounding, pounding as it does, on the eaves

[like the old story by the old dead man where it rains and rains and

rains

[and no one ever gets to see the sun

[and the rain always dripping, sliding slipping into face

[between eyebrows, down ears, past neck

[and trickling into partially opened mouth]

but not now: I’ve girded myself about with walls,

bitter fortifications and disembodied trenches.

it is raining

and when I open my eyes, in the dark,

to the sound of music or clamorings or rustlings in the night

I often think I am still asleep

that my nightbrain is conjuring dream-murmurs to strangle me

but then I feel the burning still in my eyes

and I know that I have never been asleep:

still waiting to ride that wyrdness into dream.

the darkness raining

a nightmare haunted my chair demurely

weeping softly in the night

and I was swarmed by a thousand

thousand hungry toothsome ducks, all wanting my bread

though I had none…

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