Rain is a 15-minute monologue/poem performed at the end of Dance Marathon. 


RAIN

 

The rain falls on old men with beards in a place I don’t recognize. 

 The rain falls like memories on a thing shapeless and wandering that never existed in the first place.

 

I love to watch women in the rain.

Mostly men don’t seem to care

but women who forgot

their umbrella

are spectacularly beautiful

 

Especially if they have somewhere to be

and think they aren’t going to be presentable

if they are wet.

They lower their heads

as the water trickles through their hair and nestles against their scalp.

A perfect (useless) hand comes up to protect the delicate powder

that has long since disappeared from their glistening face,

the other hand grips a bag

that contains all the secrets of their existence.

 

The rains pummel the ground and whip through fences,

tattering leaves and bending branches.

                          Thunder crashes through the sky in warning,

          slick bodies run by the door laughing.

 

Things can still be made right.

 

And then, just like that, it’s gone.

Tiny droplets fall from the awning

and the owner jokes that he should charge admission.

But of course, “it’s just a joke!”

That’s okay we have been absolved.

I love the rain.

 

Tomorrow we will dash to catch the subway having left some important thing or another at home on the counter amidst the unread pointless magazines. The dirty dishes and old newspapers sit like a pebble in our already crowded psyche. The eight a.m. subway ride will be an onslaught of mild inhumanity. The screaming brakes, the shoving through fast closing doors, but mostly it’s the standing so close. The pressing tightly into smells both unpleasant and … very pleasant. This unexpected arousal has no place in my day. It is so early to be putting up walls.

 

These tiny concessions add up, you know.

 

Last night I dreamed of Victoria Santa-Cruz.

Feel-Your-Weight-Girl!

Her rhythm game was playing against the falling water on the fire escape.

Weight has always eluded me.

Mostly I am like a skipping stone on the surface

of a lake, I flit from one thing to the next until finally,

I sink.

Unnoticed.

The fatigue opens the door to a deeper place and I glance inside

and hope that someday soon after this or that, I will have the time to go down and visit this exotic land of questions without answers and swollen memories poured from bottles like centuries old wine served at a feast for the best of friends and ideas without end.

 

The rains fall on junkies in doorways and businessmen in suits, their bold black outlines smudge and I imagine them as Coco would draw them.

 

The rain falls like roses and blesses us with mercy.

The end was swift but not painless.

She was 32 with two young children,

went to the doctor with a headache,

drove home with a bottle of Tylenol

Lost her sight the next day and

two days later she couldn’t hear.

It wasn’t a headache for Tylenol.

The panic was lost behind the pain.

 

“Mommy, can you hear me?” billowing into the empty wind. Little hands, fingers reaching up to wipe the tears from mommy’s frightened face, and she holding onto their tiny bodies, letting her fingers twirl through their perfect soft curls as her fear spiraled off into the night. The cancer was cruel, tugging at her like a lost dog on a choke collar. Then—at 6 pm on Thursday—the body slackened and the head rolled to the side.

The twins awoke with a start,

leaped onto the body,

clutched at her breast,

and cried like wolves.

Tiny tears soaking through the threadbare nightgown she had been wearing since they were born only three years before. Mommy was gone and the babies were left like birds with no feathers fallen onto the wet grass.

 

Pale blue beginnings of a sky

hover over the still sleeping buildings and

the cars on the rain-slicked street

make the sound of bread bags being opened.

Raining kids sleeping hot coffee embers of another life

hidden alleys and works in progress,

 

the alleys of Montreal are the veins of the city and ghosts and memories are its invisible tumbleweed.

 

For someone who grew up on a farm milking goats,

I know shockingly little about the way of things in nature.

Whenever Elijah is over, he’ll ask, like,

“Do you know how they harvest pine nuts?”       or

“Do you know why Greece is so rocky?”             or

“Did you know that figs are the way they are because bugs have lived in them?’

                                                                            No, I didn’t know.

 

The nicest thing about New York in the rain was always sleep, slumber.

I love that word.

It has weight while simultaneously managing to be irreverent  – not able to care too much or do anything because you’re in a slumber. Slumbering? Doesn’t work as well as a verb – it’s a rounded container of your efforts—alchemy turning trying into tossing up and throwing away.

 

It feels like it is about to rain, the air is cool blowing in off the fire escape and I can hear Millie downstairs hustling kids across the street and greeting the moms, “morning lady,” she says with a smile and a large dose of sass. She is attractive and I can imagine her in shorts walking on a boardwalk in the summer, although I have never seen her in anything other than her dark blue NYC crossing guard uniform. She is overweight and I imagine the extreme weather that comes to New York is a lot for her to bear.

 

The questions spill out of your little Clara Bow mouth like diamonds

and your whole face is a soft rabbit skin purse

that my grandmother gave me when I was nine,

it is my first vacation and your eyes are twinkling stars on that camping trip

and roasting marshmallows and what it was like to have a family

before it all,

fell apart.

 

I separate my life into what I think is interesting and what I think is boring and sometimes I think I’m wrong and that I’m missing the beautiful moments.

 

Lily has her MRI today, Dennis started a website for her.

I think I know why they make you sit in an empty hotel room before primal scream therapy, because there is just nothing but you.

Wood.  Cement. You. Empty ashtray. You. Lukewarm coffee. You.

 

When she cries it’s like looking through rain on the windshield wipers I am eight years old again and she and I are the same, we meld together like a frog slipping beneath the surface of a pond. Her little being just needs to be against me and I just need to be against her. Sometimes she is faking it though and can stop on a dime if you mention chocolate cake or riding her new pink bike with the strawberry on the basket. Yesterday we took our summer clothes out of bags. She held up a halter-top, ‘what is this?’ She asked. I explained that a halter was sort of like a bathing suit top. She promptly tied it around her head like an Indian. Indian equals princess.  Indian equals cool.

 

I am reading a book right now that Sonya gave me called

The Female Brain.

It’s written by a woman.

of course it’s written by a woman, what man is going to write a book called

The Female Brain?

 

Her premise is that neuroscientists never use female monkeys

to run their tests because the hormones screw up the data too much.

Isn’t that kind of important to consider?

She goes on to compare the female brain to a boat,

navigating its way through a sea of hormones, a sea of hormones.

We’re like a bunch of sailors trying not to fall overboard.

Adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, child bearing, child rearing, peri-menopause – menopause, and then … well, and then you’re dead. So when I’m upset and you tell me not to put too much stock in it, as in, “you’re just hormonal, it’ll pass.”

I’d like you to tell me when that’s going to be because I’m getting pretty fucking tired of apologizing to you for my ‘wild, unpredictable’ behavior. How about you just accept that THIS IS ME and then it’s your problem.

 

She comes running into my darkened bedroom soaked to the core

“Mommy! Mommy! It is raining like cr-r-r-azy out there!”

I can indeed hear massive drops pelting the skylight in the hall.

She gives a big loud laugh and starts yanking off her sopping wet dress – she drops it to the floor and looks at me for about a second.

She runs out of the room.

“Daddy!”

I am no fun right now and she doesn’t even bother. 

The baby is asleep beside me,

the bed is the softest thing I have ever felt.

I try to call back my bones, my muscles.

I sit.

Nothing.

Vertical is so difficult.

But I should be up, I should be playing with her I haven’t seen her all week. The sleep-deprived body is in self-protection mode. It has grabbed a handful of sleep and doesn’t want to spill any as it is yanked back to standing. I pull myself as far as the living room couch where I collapse again. ‘Mommy, you’re the octopus and I’m the owner, you squeeze through this opening when it’s time to be fed, this is the feeding station. “Okay? Okay?” Okay, sure. “Did you know that an octopus has two hearts to keep it warm in the cold water? Did you know that an octopus can squeeze down to be this small?” She makes her hands about the size of a bunny. I try to imagine even though I think she might be exaggerating. “Daddy and I saw an octopus eat a shark!”

I think I need to go back to bed.

 

It doesn’t feel like a Sunday,

spring riding in on a wing falling gently over the still sleeping city.

So clever how it manages to sneak in at night and just be there in the morning as if it were always there

hiding behind winter’s frigid veils.

 

And just like that the world unfolds like a blanket I didn’t know I had,

a spider’s web hanging on to bits of rain.