Bad Rain

                             Not until well past
                             eleven was I to say
                             something out loud
                             worth writing down
                             to have read back
                             if more convenient
                             and less distracted.
                             Not about bad rain,
                             about which I was already
                             writing down a poem,
                             nothing much expected,
                             but it was worth the shot
                             but that’s not what I said
                             out loud to have it heard.
                             Love depends as much on forgetting
                             as on memory. If you have to think
                             to know how true that is, chances are
                             it hasn’t been love enough to make it
                             past the first sight stage out of its bed.
                             How difficult can it be? How complicated
                             must it be to have it get so quickly tangled
                             as computer cords left alone for too long
                             until it would take more time to explain
                             how to do it than for me to do it myself?
                             I find I’ve been losing interest.
                             I thought at first that was only
                             my imagination tempting me
                             off with the usual distractions,
                             but the symptoms are classic
                             and the outcome too inevitable.
                             I started a how-to guide about
                             regaining interest for such times.
                             Bad rain.
                             Some of my readers come to every word I take time to write
                             down looking for their own image in the mirror I hold up to
                             my own face. I like what Maggie recently had to say on that:
                             if you see something written down untrue about you, it wasn’t
                             written down about you
. Sometimes I can be the same as you.
                             I wish I were more unique, but don’t count on that saving either
                             of us from the inevitable bad rain. Meanwhile, you’d do better
                             assuming yourself better than my best, so this ain’t about you.
                             Bad rain. I was working
                             hard on a poem about some bad
                             rain. This wasn’t that any more
                             than it is about you. I happened
                             to get distracted by the first
                             word worth saying out loud
                             so as to remember to write it
                             down, to have it for reading back.
                             I have been sewing a special baby quilt
                             for Iggy’s first, incorporating a pattern
                             borrowed from one of his mother’s favorite
                             quenine variants, dimmest jewel in her legacy,
                             and I’ve been at it so intensely that it’s been
                             showing up in my dreams already complete.
                             Mock truth,
                             and I will be plagued
                             with lies from those I trust most
                             until I find it impossible
                             to even believe my own
                             lies told to myself.
                             We can’t expect clean rain from
                             skies we’ve so badly polluted.
                             Bad, bad rain.
                             We’ve launched our spring cleaning campaign
                             and may not finish until next year’s spring.
                             Did this farm’s former owners own a mop
                             or a rag or a wire brush or any sense of order?
                             Doesn’t matter. It’s ours now and it’s spring.
                             I’m ready to do my part. Watch out, Goodwill.
                             Denise was reading through the early drafts
                             of the poem I was writing about bad rain,
                             as she always does, and she shrugged it off
                             as an interesting piece of fiction, her opinion
                             being that no rain can be bad, that it is only
                             the one rained upon who judges it to be so
                             and the unwillingness to accept all rain’s good
                             and the bad uses to which good rain is put,
                             and I told her to write her own poem about it,
                             and I was nice about it because she was kind
                             unlike most who disagree, but really, Denise,
                             this rain is used dishwater poured down the sink
                             and this rain is nasty water smudged by an oil spill
                             and this rain is spit and piss and poisoned nails.
                             Any good it might have once had is long gone.
                             One may as well pretend there are no bad words.
                             And when I finish my poem on it, she’ll be the first
                             to run inside from it and pray for some good sun.
                             But then I stopped and said something
                             altogether different. Something worth its
                             writing down. Then I didn’t write it down.
                             Rain rain rain rain rain. Bad.


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