Archive for Misfits


Posted in Rant with tags , , on February 5, 2010 by raindog51

The first day of February finds me sitting in the Pharmacy waiting for my meds to be ready.  Every month I have to go down to the Long Beach CHC to pickup my meds. They used to be free, but now I have to pay for them (I make more than the $1100 a month cutoff point…but I could still qualify for food stamps, if I wanted to). So every month, I head over and get in line. Usually it takes about an hour. I take a crossword puzzle to pass the time. I’d like to chat with my compadres but my Spanish isn’t any good.

So there I am, waiting for my number to come up, when this young guy comes stumbling through the door, heading towards the counter…but he never makes it and ends up collapsing on the floor. Mi gente (my people) and I look down at him lying on the floor, then up at each other, then back down at him. There is a general tsking and murmuring of “pobrecito” amongst the women. One older black woman gets up with a look of annoyance, as if she’s thinking, “Oh lordy, just what I need, a stupid white boy screwing up my morning;” and wanders out into the hall, presumably looking for help.

After a few moments I get up and go to the window… Continue reading


Melancholy in B-flat

Posted in Americana with tags , , on December 1, 2009 by raindog51

Try as I might, I just can’t make the jump from casual blogger to daily blogger.  Maybe it’s too time consuming (I am a one-finger typist after all)…answering emails takes me several hours and by the time I’m caught up, I’m also burned out!

Since the last entry, I have been to another reading, this time at the Sacramento Poetry Center with Bill Gainer.  Our hostess, the ever elusive Eskimo Pie Girl of Sacramento Poetry, Arts & Music (that’s right, SPAM), emceed the night with panache.  It was a reasonable sized crowd and I managed to sell four books (thus paying for the gas and part of the car rental)…not bad.

Saw my dad too, but couldn’t make it back up for Thanksgiving, so it was a little bittersweet.  But this was balanced out by my being able to visit with some friends that I hadn’t seen in quite a spell.  That’s what makes these trips worthwhile, otherwise I’d just drive up the day of the reading and drive back the next day…bim, bam, boom! Instead I went to Grass Valley, Shingle Springs (to see Michael Paul and his wife Claudia Licht), drove around the Sierras for a few hours, went to Sacto and then, on the trip home, stopped in Bakersfield to visit Nick Belardes before getting into the rush hour traffic in L.A.

It’s always the full plate with me.

Continue reading

When I close My Eyes, It’s Always Raining

Posted in Americana with tags , , on October 18, 2009 by raindog51

John Macker said this sounds like the line from a poem.  In a sense this is truer than one could imagine, except that it is not a poem that I might write, because I am the poem of which this is but a line from.

Let me elaborate…As I was driving up to Santa Cruz yesterday for the reading at the Mill Gallery, I began thinking about that line.  It’s something I’ve mention to a few people over the years, most recently to my friend Sanchez, who was playing the Girl With the Flaxen Hair (Eric Satie) on his guitar while we sat outside watching the rain come down last Wed. It was such a perfect moment! Beautiful. And somehow after he was done, I said; “You know, when I close my eyes, it’s always raining…”

So, I’m driving up the coast and it’s an impossibly beautiful day. Blue skies. Unlimited visibility. Delicate hues of green and beige. The works. And as I’m taking this all in, that line kind of emerges from the shadows and slowly makes itself known… And I’m just observing it, like you would watch some wild thing, something feral that you want to see but you don’t want it to notice you noticing it, because you don’t want it to bound off just yet.  So, I’m thinking about that line and the imagery of it and I start to have little snippets of memory, but the snippets are not memories of moments that have transpired in my life; the snippets are of memories that I’m pulling out of the air…

And the most disconcerting thing about this is that I’m thinking, huh, this is interesting; like it’s an everyday occurrence. But, of course, it’s not.  It’s something new and slightly alarming.  Who’s memories are these that I am so deftly intercepting? Is it like one of those things where you say to a friend, hey remember that time we were in the jungle and you…oh wait, no that was a NatGeo special. Or is it one of those red flags that warns you that your mind is slipping into someplace dark and scary?

And over dinner tonight, Joe (Pachinko) says to me, you know what’s weird, man? It’s when you have a memory that isn’t really a memory and you think, shit, how could I forget that…until you realize, shit! That isn’t even one of MY memories…and I look at Joe like he’s just told me that he’s been having an affair with my mother, a look that is a mixture of awe and horror and god-knows what else.

This makes me think that maybe it’s not so uncommon, this process of  remembering orphaned memories. Maybe this happens a lot but nobody talks about it. But back to the theme…

In my mind, there is a woman, not surprising, and maybe it’s from one of those calvin klein commercials where the story has nothing to do with the product.

I don’t know, but it’s visceral, this image. Almost as if I can sense the rain before I see it.  In fact, come to think of it, I don’t think I actually see the rain so much as feel it.  But I know it’s raining, and I know that it’s a neutral rain, not a sad rain or a happy rain; it’s just raining.  I think there might even be music, but it’s just barely discernible.

So, it’s raining and there’s music…something moody and subtle, dark but not bleak. And the rain is slow and steady like it’s going to be staying in town for a few days or a week. It’s determined, but not crazy stalker impulsive. So, it’s kind of a gloomy wet afternoon with maybe a tenor sax and a piano making love to an upright bass…and somewhere in all this  there are flashes of honey colored skin, unblemished and porn star perfect doing friendly things to my cheek and fore arm. And there’s a room, muted tones, maybe darkened by a shade but I can still feel the rain coming down.  The music is coming from behind my left shoulder…I think about turning around, but don’t know what I’ll see.

So, if you see me out somewhere and my eyes are closed, this is where I’ll be.


Posted in Americana with tags , , on July 26, 2009 by raindog51

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove, Continue reading