Goes Away

Where one leak seemed fixed, another springs up.  Well, isn’t that the way it goes?  Stained wood, stained mattress.  Damp kitchen, scary room.

Stove going.  I was in the dirty attic.  Three-legged chairs, canceled checks, dauber nests by the hundred.  I go up there because the attic is my place to intercept the rain that finds its way through the farmhouse’s old, fallible roof.  Like me, the rain keeps returning, keeps coming back to this remote piece of cattle country in the middle of the state.  

A mist rises from the pasture, hangs there like a cloud.  Above, the sky is clear.  There is, thank God, no wind.  It is still.  I can hear nothing but the nothing that is, the nothing that once will be everything.  If you would be so kind as to scatter my ashes here.  If you would allow me to play the part of the sandstone, to let the water through.

The mice are back.  Two traps, old cheese, picked clean.  Leave the droppings where they lay.  Wise rodents.  Re-bait, try again...

A short missive from Farm, from late last year...

A Farmhouse Almanac

Today was mowing.  Hours of mowing the grass surrounding this old farmhouse.  After timely rain all summer the ground has dried out as September lurches on, dateline Traderight, Missouri.

I arrived here late this morning, some dew still in the grass, the moisture bad for mowing.  But that was fine because first priority was to get the well’s jet pump working better.  When I left here two weeks ago the water was running but the pump would not reach its cut-out pressure; it would not kick off.  A pump can’t run like that.  If it does, it’ll burn itself out...  

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Frozen Laptop, Frozen Pizza: Assessing the Early Days of the Coronavirus Lockdown

The weather forecasts are wonk.  Something to do with a sharp decrease in the number of airplanes in the air.  It wasn’t forecast to rain today.  But it has rained, and not just a few drops.  My wife and I console each other with talk of silver linings.  The air quality is improving, just ask the stars.  

Here in St. Louis, as March slogs on, the rain has been a cloying companion during days of isolation.  I can’t recall going on a walk when I didn’t have to watch out for puddles and dreck as the dog Hugo and I walked in our desultory fashion, neither one of us leading the way.  This month hasn’t been atypical in its raininess but I suspect the total rainfall is at the upper end of its historical range.

If only weather were the wackiest aspect of March 2020.... 

The essay continues...

The Quiet Politics of Love

Moments preceding the Randall-Paz wedding, 6.1.2019


Shoehorn, suspenders, aftershave
Wedding in a warehouse
Down Ashland in hermano's Honda
Bumping past taquerías,
Body shops and hair salons
None of which
Dad fails to point out.


The candles yet unlit
While the hail outside
Sounds like the clink
Of clean glasses
At the levee bar. Early
To a wedding, it's
Never been done before.


A pair of headphones
In the street
In the rain

But in the bridal suite
DJ Flowerz is blooming
Like green ivy
Foothold on the height
Of an unknown building.


Of our parents
Walk her down the aisle.
They do,
Making it official.


She's walking away.
He's dancing after her. No,
Wait—she's still dancing. Soft,
Sly steps. That's
Her move.


The macarena: fadded
Brought back
Hey, it's underrated
Hey, macarena


Take a cab, take a Lyft, take the bus.
You've taken the world
And arranged the perfect salsa.

The late-nite
Snack table
Is now open. Congratulations.
Thank you for everything.

I'm-a let
The slickness
Of the dance floor
Show me which way

Rain, Again

1.  Love.          Tangled in the rain,          a soaking rain,          the king’s rain,          working its way down               from           the sky’s rafters,          taking care not to make mud,          not to be part of the first frost. 2.  Rain.          Doesn’t want to parent plants;          Doesn’t want to be sealed away in leaf or stem,               its plant the earth               its roots the ocean’s deepest trenches—                    scars left behind when crusty plates … Continue reading Rain, Again

Rain Sequence


A cloud, glowing purple
with mischief
puts a hand on my shoulder
and nibbles at my ear.
Its menthol breeze
hastens me to cover.
When the rain comes
—pitter patter—
I ask only that
it leave its hailstones
at the door.


The storm went off.
The storm has no lights.
He’ll come back on,
by tomorrow.
The lights went off.
The lights went down.
Rain and thunder,
by tomorrow.


Aha, I caught you—!
     —Caught me at what?
It stopped raining—
     —Yes, but it’s still wet.