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It's raining in love -- Richard Brautigan

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,
 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.


 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.
-- Richard Brautigan

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!


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).


[thomas adds]

In a similar vein, check out Carol Ann Duffy's "Valentine", Poem #865 on
the Minstrels.

50 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Peter Leverich said...

Thank God, it's you, baby, this time
instead of me.

That's not love. Love is putting your loved one's well-being and happiness
ahead of your own.


ORCDM said...

All I know is that the poem is true. I had not read or thought of it in a
good 20 years until a friend of mine started acting all creepy about a woman
he has just met. I said, "Wait," there's a poem called "It's Raining in
Love," by Richard Brautigan. Let's see if we can find it on the internet. And
here we are...

Anonymous said...

@Peter: of course that's not love, that's Brautigan's point. He's--a bit selfishly, but hey at least he's honest--relieved when it's someone else who goes through that turmoil and not him (ie. he does NOT fall in love).

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