Friday, May 30, 2008

Dry as a Bone

Mona, channeling Irrelephant, summons the poetic troops with the Friday word of the week: rain.

my dad and I are drinking beer
watching the storm clouds tumbling like clowns
over the sangre de cristos

between us and the mountain peaks
shimmers a thin blue quilt of rain
falling halfway down the sky and disappearing
in wisps as fragile as ghosts
above the bone white valley floor

it's called virga, he tells me
when the rain does that
evaporating on the way down
it never reaches the field

I say, too hot for rain these days
dry as dust, he agrees

the last few swallows of beer are warm
the glass already dry to the touch
the hot wind blows in our faces
the distant thunder rolls


Eric Shonkwiler said...

Very nice. I get the heat and the shimmer of it. Virga is a great word. Nice picture, too.

Irrelephant said...

THAT I'd love to see in person, having now seen it in my mind, thank you sir. *s* One of the benefits about living in the middle of hundreds of acres of flat fields is getting to watch the rain come in. Huge grey walls marching steadily across the cotton plants as though it were a solid thing that was about to hit. Makes me think of Clifford Simak's "All Flesh is Grass."

Keep up the damn fine work, CC.

meno said...

I learned a new word today. Thanks.

I'm a virgo, is that in any way related? Maybe i am really a verga because i'm female.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Awesome word. Maybe I'll steal it for Irr's show on Sunday night...

Great poem as well. I love your dad.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Just saw your comment at Jo's. You rotten...

Virga, virgo. I like to think it's related. Untouched by the earth (or vice versa, earth untouched by rain).

Noel said...

Heh. And considering how I just ranted on William Carlos Williams, it's great that I got to read some narrative poetry. This is the poetry I love to read. Very Phillip Levine/BH Fairchild.

I enjoy work that does more than entertain, work that informs or educates is something I've always been a big supporter of--again, very BH Fairchild.

Mona Buonanotte said...

We're all coming to your house for a beer.... The poem gave me chills. And made me thirsty. Excellent job there, CC!

Jo said...

Great poem...I love the lazy depth to it...makes my mouth feel gritty in a good way :)

Clowncar said...

Heat and shimmer is what it's all about here in the high desert, Eric. Virga isn't s rare occurrence, like ball lightning or sprites - it happens all the time.

Irr, I love those huge midwestern skies too (I grew up in Iowa). So much drama. Love to watch thunderstorms and the occasional tornado making its way across the sky. "All Flesh Is Grass" is a great title. Haven't read it, but it's now on the short list.

Glad to give the word up to you, minnow. I don't think of virgo and virga as related, but see Eric's theory on the comments - he is less literal minded than I.

Didja use it Nance? And you made my Dad's day with your comment (I made sure he read it). Hey, how's my Dickel doing? Is O still caressing it tenderly, longing to hold it by the neck and slurp it all up? Or has he already?

Good theory, E. At that concert Waits had glitter he'd drop over himself as he sang, a megaphone, a hanging garage hook light, a fridge on stage.... Wonderful.

Noel, I don't write alotta poetry, but I suppose I use a similar technique for fiction. Haven't read Levine or Fairchild, but I really like how Andrea Barrett weaves information and narrative in her novels. Anyway, thanks for wandering by. Glad you liked the poem.

Mona, you can stop by for a ice cold frosty mug anytime you want. It's what keeps us going here in the desert.

Thanks Jo. I like the phrase "lazy depth" and am flattered you applied it to me.