Guest poem submitted by Salima Virani:
(Poem #1456) It's raining in love
I don't know what it is, but I distrust myself when I start to like a girl a lot. It makes me nervous. I don't say the right things or perhaps I start to examine, evaluate, compute what I am saying. If I say, "Do you think it's going to rain?" and she says, "I don't know," I start thinking: Does she really like me? In other words I get a little creepy. A friend of mine once said, "It's twenty times better to be friends with someone than it is to be in love with them." I think he's right and besides, it's raining somewhere, programming flowers and keeping snails happy. That's all taken care of. BUT if a girl likes me a lot and starts getting real nervous and suddenly begins asking me funny questions and looks sad if I give the wrong answers and she says things like, "Do you think it's going to rain?" and I say, "It beats me," and she says, "Oh," and looks a little sad at the clear blue California sky, I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time instead of me.
[Comments] I've been working in the same office building for about six years now. And every year, for the last six years, I've seen them recycle the same decorations for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day. Even the stores have the same clichéd banners and the same old gifts that surface year after year. Surely there's more to Valentine's Day than roses, lingerie and chocolates. For there is so much more to the emotion of love than the butterflies and the weak knees. I like this poem because it is so much more real. A lot of us start out like that in love - unsure of what to expect, what to say and feeling vulnerable. I particularly like how Brautigan suggests that even when we know what bothers us in a relationship - we often end up doing those very same things ourselves! And the last line, "I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time instead of me." is a smug, cynical and yet humorous way to end it. The situation will not be resolved by him... he's just happy that the anguish is someone else's and not his. Brautigan reminds me a lot of Phil Larkin. Most of Brautigan's poems, like Larkin's, are a combination of honesty, humour and cynicism. He keeps it real! [Bio] Brautigan was born in 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. In October of 1984, his body was discovered at his home; he had shot himself in the head some four or five weeks earlier. Although Brautigan, whose work largely defies classification, is not properly considered a Beat writer, he shared the Beats' aversion to middle class values, commercialism, and conformity. Brautigan's success as a poet was marginal. He published several slim volumes, all with small presses, but none of these received much recognition. It wasn't until the publication of Trout Fishing in America (1967), which many consider his best novel, that Brautigan caught the public's attention and was transformed into a cult hero. By 1970, Trout Fishing in America had become the namesake of a commune, a free school, and an underground newspaper. Richard Brautigan's poetry collections include June 30th, June 30th (Delacorte, 1978), Loading Mercy with a Pitchfork (1975), Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt (1970), The San Francisco Weather Report (1969), and Please Plant This Book (eight poems printed on separate seed packet envelopes, 1968). His novels include The Tokyo-Montana Express (1980), Willard and his Bowling Trophies (1975), In Watermelon Sugar (1967), and A Confederate General from Big Sur (1964). Brautigan's last novel was recently discovered and published posthumously, under the title An Unfortunate Woman (Rebel Inc., 2000). Salima. [thomas adds] In a similar vein, check out Carol Ann Duffy's "Valentine", Poem #865 on the Minstrels.