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More poems by Charles BukowskiCharles Bukowski | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Charles BukowskiBooks by Charles Bukowski

We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain

Charles Bukowski

call it the greenhouse effect or whatever

but it just doesn't rain like it used to.

I particularly remember the rains of the

depression era.

there wasn't any money but there was

plenty of rain.

it wouldn't rain for just a night or

a day,

it would RAIN for 7 days and 7

nights

and in Los Angeles the storm drains

weren't built to carry off taht much

water

and the rain came down THICK and

MEAN and

STEADY

and you HEARD it banging against

the roofs and into the ground

waterfalls of it came down

from roofs

and there was HAIL

big ROCKS OF ICE

bombing

exploding smashing into things

and the rain

just wouldn't

STOP

and all the roofs leaked-

dishpans,

cooking pots

were placed all about;

they dripped loudly

and had to be emptied

again and

again.

the rain came up over the street curbings,

across the lawns, climbed up the steps and

entered the houses.

there were mops and bathroom towels,

and the rain often came up through the

toilets:bubbling, brown, crazy,whirling,

and all the old cars stood in the streets,

cars that had problems starting on a

sunny day,

and the jobless men stood

looking out the windows

at the old machines dying

like living things out there.

the jobless men,

failures in a failing time

were imprisoned in their houses with their

wives and children

and their

pets.

the pets refused to go out

and left their waste in

strange places.

the jobless men went mad

confined with

their once beautiful wives.

there were terrible arguments

as notices of foreclosure

fell into the mailbox.

rain and hail, cans of beans,

bread without butter;fried

eggs, boiled eggs, poached

eggs; peanut butter

sandwiches, and an invisible

chicken in every pot.

my father, never a good man

at best, beat my mother

when it rained

as I threw myself

between them,

the legs, the knees, the

screams

until they

seperated.

"I'll kill you," I screamed

at him. "You hit her again

and I'll kill you!"

"Get that son-of-a-bitching

kid out of here!"

"no, Henry, you stay with

your mother!"

all the households were under

seige but I believe that ours

held more terror than the

average.

and at night

as we attempted to sleep

the rains still came down

and it was in bed

in the dark

watching the moon against

the scarred window

so bravely

holding out

most of the rain,

I thought of Noah and the

Ark

and I thought, it has come

again.

we all thought

that.

and then, at once, it would

stop.

and it always seemed to

stop

around 5 or 6 a.m.,

peaceful then,

but not an exact silence

because things continued to

drip

and there was no smog then

and by 8 a.m.

there was a

blazing yellow sunlight,

Van Gogh yellow-

crazy, blinding!

and then

the roof drains

relieved of the rush of

water

began to expand in the warmth:

PANG!PANG!PANG!

and everybody got up and looked outside

and there were all the lawns

still soaked

greener than green will ever

be

and there were birds

on the lawn

CHIRPING like mad,

they hadn't eaten decently

for 7 days and 7 nights

and they were weary of

berries

and

they waited as the worms

rose to the top,

half drowned worms.

the birds plucked them

up

and gobbled them

down;there were

blackbirds and sparrows.

the blackbirds tried to

drive the sparrows off

but the sparrows,

maddened with hunger,

smaller and quicker,

got their

due.

the men stood on their porches

smoking cigarettes,

now knowing

they'd have to go out

there

to look for that job

that probably wasn't

there, to start that car

that probably wouldn't

start.

and the once beautiful

wives

stood in their bathrooms

combing their hair,

applying makeup,

trying to put their world back

together again,

trying to forget that

awful sadness that

gripped them,

wondering what they could

fix for

breakfast.

and on the radio

we were told that

school was now

open.

and

soon

there I was

on the way to school,

massive puddles in the

street,

the sun like a new

world,

my parents back in that

house,

I arrived at my classroom

on time.

Mrs. Sorenson greeted us

with, "we won't have our

usual recess, the grounds

are too wet."

"AW!" most of the boys

went.

"but we are going to do

something special at

recess," she went on,

"and it will be

fun!"

well, we all wondered

what that would

be

and the two hour wait

seemed a long time

as Mrs.Sorenson

went about

teaching her

lessons.

I looked at the little

girls, they looked so

pretty and clean and

alert,

they sat still and

straight

and their hair was

beautiful

in the California

sunshine.

the the recess bells rang

and we all waited for the

fun.

then Mrs. Sorenson told us:

"now, what we are going to

do is we are going to tell

each other what we did

during the rainstorm!

we'll begin in the front row

and go right around!

now, Michael, you're first!. . ."

well, we all began to tell

our stories, Michael began

and it went on and on,

and soon we realized that

we were all lying, not

exactly lying but mostly

lying and some of the boys

began to snicker and some

of the girls began to give

them dirty looks and

Mrs.Sorenson said,

"all right! I demand a

modicum of silence

here!

I am interested in what

you did

during the rainstorm

even if you

aren't!"

so we had to tell our

stories and they were

stories.

one girl said that

when the rainbow first

came

she saw God's face

at the end of it.

only she didn't say which end.

one boy said he stuck

his fishing pole

out the window

and caught a little

fish

and fed it to his

cat.

almost everybody told

a lie.

the truth was just

too awful and

embarassing to tell.

then the bell rang

and recess was

over.

"thank you," said Mrs.

Sorenson, "that was very

nice.

and tomorrow the grounds

will be dry

and we will put them

to use

again."

most of the boys

cheered

and the little girls

sat very straight and

still,

looking so pretty and

clean and

alert,

their hair beautiful in a sunshine that

the world might never see

again.

and

Added: 14 Aug 2001 | Last Read: 22 Apr 2018 6:12 PM | Viewed: 17322 times

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