Revisiting past things…

It’s funny to me: revisiting these old things really dredges up the memories. I can’t remember why, but I had a vivid memory of lying in bed while my right foot’s big toe’s toenail throbbed beneath the bedclothes. Was it raining? I don’t recall, but I do remember it being cold and the weight of blankets heavy on my feet….

I like the tortoise shells and the land of spice and dreams made reel. I can do without the rest of it, I think, and the “dainty” there is a bit superfluous…

Memory II

Tortoise shells were raining from my forehead today.

I almost caught it: nose bleeding, head thrumming.

The bedclothes were all twisted up

my toes’ thick nails were pounding beneath the skin;

there was a mess of daisies and lilies and snapdragons.

“What?” I said to you. “What!”

but there was no reply:

Rising, deciding to dance:

placing those pink buffalo slippers upon my dainty feet.

It was there you made your mistake:

underestimating my resolve.

“This ring: take-it, take-it.

“I beg you: take it

“for I wish to blow away in the wind.

“My black umbrella catches

“and I float away from you forever

“among lands of spice and dreams-made-reel.”

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


[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…