Monday, May 4, 2009

Memories of Rain

It’s been raining in the Blue Ridge. We haven’t been able to sit on the porch for a few days. Today the results of all that are plain, with the leaves so thick the cabin is once again surrounded by the forest.

On Saturday we took some visitors to the airport, and the drive through the Ocoee Gorge was slow and nerve racking with the fog on the road, and the water coming off the cliffs. On the way back the rain was intermittent, but the fog was still thick on the river. The kayakers who were coming in for the day were just gray shapes, there, then gone.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you. I guess, just to tell you that there are times that are brought to mind when the rain moves around me. Hiking in the woods as a boy, fishing the high mountains in a mist, almost unable to see the fly on the water in front of me, and special times with friends when I was a teenager in the city.

I wrote about one of those times a few years ago.


The teachers called it the smoking lounge.
We knew it as the back of the gym,
open to the sky, gray brick to lean on.
You had to be pretty hard up to stand
in the rain for a Marlboro.
But we did.

Bad boys and girls and a few fools
that wanted to be, gathered in a ritual
of long draws, suck it up your nose,
run the gauntlet moments.
Acting like we didn’t care.
But we did.

It was the place where bad grades,
detention letters, and lost loves
could all be flipped away.
A burning butt containing hate and fear
crushed under a heel.
And we did.

All pretenders, frightened
that we would be the ones
to hold up the world.
Stories of your uncle, his brother and others
in a jungle bleeding so we could stand here
and cup our cigarettes from the rain,
just like they were doing, knowing
that next year we’d be there too.
Dying like they were.

And we did.

© Robert W. Kimsey
2005 Kentucky State Poetry Society

1 comment:

  1. Robert, this is one of my favorite poems you've written. I enjoy your blog. I've begun a new personal site,
    As I See It. come and visit.