RD Armstrong (Raindog)
This month Raindog is back—reading at this series for the third time. He’s back with poets who’ve appeared in the latest issue of LUMMOX.
Strongly influenced by Bukowski and the Beats, Raindog’s poetry has raw power and masculinity, but also tenderness and humanity. Stately capital letters at the beginning of each line contrast sharply with sudden line breaks and boisterously short lines. He tells us what really happened, how he really felt in direct and vigorous language. This is poetry by someone who’s been around, who knows life, someone who’s been battered but who has survived and come out the stronger for it. There is bitterness, there is irony in this work, but there is also sincerity and nakedness and he even has the courage to be sentimental on occasion, contrary to what creative writing teachers and academicians tell us is cool. Like Bukowski, he tells us what it’s like to struggle, to be a poet, to be an outsider, to be unglamorous. And we relate to his words, because his truths are ours, too.

It's Just Rain

For Carlos

Strange weather for a January
Here in the sunshine state

the sky a sullen gray
clear as a bell and
not a breath of wind
a thin layer of smoke
hovers just above the horizon
the sea a sheet of glass
not eve a ripple

To the south Catalina
a dark blue silhouette
while every hillock and mountain
to the north and east
visible and distinct
from San Gregornio
a hundred miles out
to the Santa Monica's
just up the coast
all clearly defined.

Nobody knows
Carlos is going home
this afternoon

As the storm clouds
bunch up and the
cynics and hipsters
talk tough
their homophobia
just barely concealed
beneath the hiss of contempt

Carlos goes

night falls and with it
that strange beverage
comes too

Is it a clumsy metaphor?
The sky cannot be crying
the days are not diminished
No, it's just rain

There will be time enough
for those who care
to draw comparisons
to remember and
to mourn

But for now
hard or soft
cool or cold

it's just rain


2013 R.D. Armstrong (Raindog)
R.D. Armstrong (Raindog) and Poets From His Lummox Journal, Including Rick Smith, Lalo Kikiriki, Raundi K. and Moore Kondo were the Featured Poets who read their poetry at the May 2013 Second Sunday Series