Out in the cold

So the police in San Diego decided to confiscate anything that could protect houseless people from the rain. This right before a bad El Niño hit a few hours later.


Courtesy of friends of Unspoken Politics, the San Diego Free Press:

You have to wonder what they were thinking in city hall. On Monday morning the police department conducted a sweep of sidewalk homeless encampments as a major winter storm bore down on San Diego.

The “environmental” staff showed up on 17th and Imperial around 5:30am – took anything unattended – just when people were waking up and had gone up to Neil Good Day Center to go to the bathroom. So their stuff was considered Discarded Debris.When activist David Ross got there around 8am – after stopping at the Bargain market to buy 100 large black trash bags, people were all huddled under the Imperial St bridge. They had lost everything.

. . .

It’s not like this weather forecast was any secret. None-the-less, in the hours leading up to the first round of torrential rail and hail, the San Diego Police Department were busy confiscating tarps, tents and other makeshift shelters erected by homeless people on the periphery of downtown.

The impending bad weather apparently wasn’t seen as an obstacle to enforcing bright green notices posted last week warning of “Cleanup and Property Removal.” The problem is/was that there was no place else for the humans targeted by this purge to go.



On which we trace hearts

At the appointed time
thunder stands tight in formation
marching forth
to intrigue those indoors
and terrify those left scurrying
in rain-splattered streets

what separates
our fear and love of nature
is a pane of foggy glass
on which we trace hearts
and the initials certain others
before they fade, and
blue skies return

The water swan-dives

Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Photo by Andrew Mackay
Multnomah Falls, Oregon. Photo by Andrew Mackay

Forever falling
wrathful clouds, between
the once-dry masses and the
stark void of night
where even the most neighborly star
lies far beyond our mortal reach

Water, its pure essence
distilled by the cocoon wafting
in the sky, arrives in all its glory
and terror
to nourish the dying fields
where prayers had long gone unaswered
or to foster raging rivers
that seek to destroy all that dared
block its path to a waiting ocean

Over basalt cliffs the water
now stained with earthly sin
swan-dives, on its way to
end one cycle and wait for another.

In shifting mist

If the rain had ceased
so that in the silent streets
where the puddles soaked the
bustle up, and let the world breathe

Perhaps a chance meeting in
a plaza, thought romantic in the sunlight
though no match when the bricks
were bathed in moonlight

Maybe, in shifting we both
wandered into one another
a meeting, in transit
while headed to “more important” things

In my imagination we met, and spent
all of our collective lives together
there is remains
you weren’t there
that night, in the moonlight.

Where puddles lurk and wait

The rain falls desperately, knowing that in California it is long overdue
and the state had been looking to fill the position with other
natural fluids. The feeling is the same, but we waddle, awkward
not remembering where puddles lurk and wait to immerse our sneakers
and lead to a shrill


punctuating an otherwise civil morning.

But how could I stay mad at rain, there were many forces working against
my terse annoyance, occasionally shifting to a broad, impotent rage
I needed it more than it needed me. I was clingy, dragged down by my
body, filled with bitchy tissues and cells that wanted water all
and what did water want with me? It was with its own kind in the clouds
swirling in ecstasy before it stopped the party early to grace me with its presence
I was boring, my dancing lurching and silly compared to the single drop before me in its infinite
small fluid rhythms. The rain would never take me up to see its friends and family,
I’d just sit there and with I had worn a more fashionable tie.

Hood up, the umbrella forgotten way back home. Top of the closet, near the gloves that had been until recently equally useless
the rain slips down and finds its friends in low places and glides towards welcoming
storm drains. It wants nothing with me, just a brief kiss on my startled cheek before it flows out to meet its friends in the sea.