Rain / Dream is a nine-poem Red Shuttleworth limited edition chapbook issued by Bunchgrass Press.
hide yourself not in the Rock keep on the move
keep on the move
Note: Although every effort was made to properly reproduce Red Shuttleworth's crayon-on-paper Rain 17 on the cover of Rain / Dream, the result is disappointing. Below is a better facsimile of the drawing.
Rain / Dream: 17
A moon so gaudy it hides
behind clouds off the Pacific:
Trajan's nightmare of Rome
turning burnt-leaf Christian.
An old man crashes through
a midnight farmhouse,
living room furniture to beat
a Wolfhound pup to an electric-
orange plastic ball... compensatory
sport as a sagebrush basin
picks up wind for a dust storm.
It is the sound of Caligula
unpacking to rule while others
pray some general can hook
a chain to the moon...
drag it down-mountain,
drown it in a deep sea.
Rain / Dream: 14 Against the grain of wood, gold, or stone, a gritty wind sweeps off the Cascades, across foothills, down to bunchgrass. You're an imaginary creature to Mr. Coyote, hardly noticed by crow or spring gopher. You take rest on a shelf of volcanic rock. You peel a handful of aluminum foil... sliced cow on soggy raisin bread. You drowse... a version of no-self.
Rain / Dream: 12
Dark week-old smeared porcupine:
the road slow-climbs north for a mile
past basalt... or is it theatre Styrofoam?
The players emerge in scene shop fabric
wolf skins... too scrawny, not enough
muscle to provoke fear. You drive
past a Future Farmers of America
bake sale table, past a parade
of shaved-head kids in floral
hospital gowns, past a herd
of marine-blue, red-eyed rabbits.
You feel that you are bronzed...
have a halo, that you are luminous,
that you have left your sagebrush desert
for lush-green mountains, for forest lakes,
for sand-yellow cabins in pure sunlight...
where endless sleep is the only possibility.
Rain / Dream: 11
The dead walk through silver dream rain,
nonchalant and smooth... as if on a conveyor.
You are on your way to a dinner party
at a Chinese restaurant. You see a flat screen
TV in a store window, dead-grey, no reflection.
The dead smile plaster-white at one another.
You run into a gawky kid you knew in school,
a fifth outfielder in those days, dead a decade:
electrocuted in an ice storm. The gawky kid
smiles even though it is clear he has no memory.
You are on your way to a dinner party,
no invitation, walking nonchalant... real smooth.
Rain / Dream: 10
Rusted-out pistols and old vacuum
cleaner parts piled in a pick-up bed,
neon flash-blink of the Urgent Motel,
overlooked personal situations
that curve back and carve a blood-
gully in your whitewashed niche.
This is you on line at the Safeway
in front of a film noir blonde
making selfies. This is you buying
a plane ticket to Damascus or Kiev...
anywhere you can write poems
about electrical cord hangings.
Rain / Dream: 9 What we no longer apprehend....
Certain lost echoes approach,
but fade... like friends
Hokusai prints, no-web
1940's Wilson catcher mitts,
burlesque girls' raunchy gags
as enormous pink bubbles popped.
There is the scholarly exhibition
you put on for the Wolfhound puppy,
reading aloud, with oral annotation,
from bleak old Heraclitus:
crayon sketches to vary
Our technical advances....
Fall-apart folding chairs,
apple-eating eyeglass clerks,
friends dead for twenty
Rain / Dream: 2
The stopwatch catches your breath...
slows you down to a sluggish walk.
The Wolfhound mutters
(This is companionship?),
thinks of herself as teen
A polyp-yellow house,
tumbleweeds against one side:
the television's Epitaph Channel
asks, What does it all mean?
Rain / Dream: 1
like a black vacant night-pasture:
your mood swings... postcards
to others charlie-horse
in usually absent black rain...
this blood-dead hawk.