Monday, October 10, 2011

Have Another Pall Mall, Girlfriend

Double Rainbow, San Salvador, El Salvador
—Photo by Janet L. Pantoja

—Janet L. Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

“Rain, rain, go away . . .”
Really? Come, let’s
Reason about precipitation.
Realistically, like the world is not flat,
Rain and clouds do not shut out
Radiating sunbeams.
Rejoice, the sun shines still!

Still, the sun shines continuously in
Spite of our limited viewpoint.
Showers evoke complaints and
Simmering resentment of rain’s
Supposed intrusion; no need of
Suppressed joy though. The
Sun still shines when it rains . . .

Sunlight bounces off water droplets
Refreshing earth’s thirsty palate.
Subtle symphonies play on rooftops . . .
Rainbows appear unexpectedly—
Shifting cloud-sculptures adorn the sky.
Rich rain scenes play on earth as the sun beams
Simultaneously while we bask in the rain-shine.


—Patricia Hickerson

patter of warm rain
a soothing massage gentles the sidewalk
then a rumble
a lightning fork

clearing its throat a cloud crouches above
dark and brave;
at the edge of the road blue sulphur waves
rippling souls rise upward

rain heavy with thought
splash in the dark—
towering thunder sends a bolt
(no lapse, no soul here)
murders the tree just beyond,
the neighbor screams in fright
branches hang helpless
mangled and crippled; dead soul!

tropical weather:
its life is a crapshoot
detach or die


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

we raced across the beach
dodging bullets of rain
fearful of forked lightning
under the boardwalk
pulled out Pall Malls
hidden in our gear
rafters of boardwalk
smoke drifting up
the planks the cracks
rock me in the rain
under the rain
around the rain
girlfriend and I
just minutes ago
guys chasing us across the sand
guys carrying us into the waves
waves gurgling
glub glub the sea world
we were laughing, they were grabbing

my black lurex swim suit
Auntie had given me
glistened in the sun
as though she wanted me to be
the siren of Rockaway Beach
Auntie, it’s raining now
can’t be a siren in the rain
hair dripping
makeup shot to hell
surrounded in beer cans
sprouting from the sand
we look like baby ghouls
in the midst of a bender
guys, get away!
they try to get to us
under the boardwalk
get away!
have another Pall Mall, girlfriend 


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

My trumpet-playing friend,
scientific, can explain it in terms
of low barometric pressure,
La Niña wavecycles of warm
and stormgates open, convection
currents and Lord knows what…

I’ll take my explanations Biblical
for once: the rain is the prize
ewe lamb, black, who wandered
off in the night, and the shepherd
searched and searched all
the reaches of the bittersmooth
dark black night without a lantern
or torch. Just then, rejoice O shepherd
in silence; the black lamb’s found!
Lamb comes home

and turns wolf-toothed, self-rending
into small black shreds and pieces
over her own beloved sheepfold,
and these fragments litter
the dawning ground. Then coalesce,
and lo, the brave prize ewe once more!

The shape, the shape
of the blessed black lamb on
the face of the black dirt, still
grazing the grass as before,
this time from the rooted underground.


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

"It storms too much
out here
for my taste,
causes too many accidents,
too many deaths,
but avoidable,
not like earthquakes
in your part of California."

And then my brother
Ted died
with such words
on his cornflower crayon-
colored, lifeless lips.

His wife
told me all this—
that he passed on happy,
departed on good thoughts, health,
and attitude

up until that microsecond,

"I hope to be
so lucky,"
she added,
as she saw me off
at the airport in Wichita.

And it did not
or flash lightning
until we crossed the river
out of Arizona

The landing
was relatively


—Caschwa, Sacramento

The sky was dark shades of gray
Not those puffy white clouds
That resemble common dreamy

More like looking into a
Freshly oiled blackened skillet
Hot and ready to cook

And there upon my forehead
Splattered one drop of rain
Isolated but universal
Rock of Ages

It opened 7 seas of doubt
About what was to follow
Drizzles, biblical floods, power

I tuned in the TV weather reports
And after all the fanfare and assurances
Saw a cast of actors posing as

Back outside, it was a downpour,
That one drop now lost in the crowd.
The menagerie had opened all its


For a calico cat who plays with dripping sink taps and slopping in her water dishes
nothing appears more exciting to Hurley than watching water pour from the sky
especially when it hits hard on the plastic patio sun roof
She gets all bushy-tailed and jumps around, begging to go out
while her other adopted siblings just curl up to sleep through a storm
as if she wants to get her fur all drenching cold
And then she just comes right back in to enjoy shaking herself dry like a dog
Of course she wouldn't consider it a dreaded "bath"
—as a kitten she treated my giving her a bath as my first most unforgivable offense
because she got her paws wet and then jumped in a box full of clumping litter,
a cleaning for which she growled, hissed and tried to attack me all the way through

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Today's LittleNip: 

By contrast with the emptiness of space, the living world is crammed with detail at every level. . . For example, a drop of water contains rather more than a thousand billion billion water molecules.

—Francis Crick, British Biophysicist



Hurley, who loves the rain
—Photo by Michelle Kunert