Archive for the H.K. Rainey Category

H.K. Rainey @ Bitchez Brew III

Posted in H.K. Rainey, VIDEOS with tags on March 22, 2011 by Scot

Three Poems by H.K. Rainey

Posted in H.K. Rainey with tags on March 6, 2011 by Scot

Self-Portrait as an Atlas

My mother,
fighting boredom in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota,
conceived me,
and married on the barrel of a shotgun.

Normal, Illinois—
my lungs learned of life
when the pipes were cleaned
and my complaints spilled forth.

In Vinemont, Alabama, the kudzu
smothered family secrets.
I found a broken portrait
that was yanked away.

Virgin Islands—
gave in to an erect cock
from Bad Axe, Michigan.
On the map,
the state is his gloved and forceful hand.

French Lick, Indiana—
a taut-stringed youth
easy come/easy go
a doorknob, slipping off the moisture on my hands.

Flew United
to Morehead, Kentucky
(held overnight)

My arrival:
first love in Big Falls, Minnesota.
My rival
was blonde&tall&beautiful
to hear him tell it.

Made my bed in Plainsville, Kansas.

In Armstrong, Iowa,
where mother couldn’t remember her way out of the tall corn
or our names,
I learned to press my father’s khakis,
starch his oxfords.

Sometimes he called me by her name
and couldn’t tell the two of us apart.
Between us, little difference.
Which one truth? Which one consequence?

When life around her ceased,
she grew
into the ground,
the roots of a thousand oaks.

In her room, where the circle of jaundiced lamplight,
yellowed as the pages of an antique book,
collapses on the floor,
I learn to substitute the is of living for the was
of not living.
Coming of age in Death Valley, California.

Bury me in Wise, West Virginia.


My Father’s Affair

The trouble with impatiens
my mother knew
was the ease of overwatering.

Convex droplets
left on the leaves
causes downy mildew

Southern Blight
or a host of other ailments.

The flower in its orange clay pot
withering on the windowsill

despite wet paper towels
swathing the succulent stems
and the daily dusting.

So many tears
over the five-petaled stars
edged in lace

pink as breasts and nippled,
dark green leaves
covered with lanugo. She screamed:

How could  you?

An easy annual to grow
in proper soil conditions

and with filtered sun,
my father.

But offer extra water
if you plant Impatiens
beneath the trees.
Their roots
cannot compete
with roots that have
been spreading
underground forever.

They can
only survive the sun
if planted in a humid climate

such as the climate in Florida
which is a word
meaning flowering.

My mother and my father
lived in Florida
for a time, and still
the Impatiens wouldn’t bloom.

Now they are called

My mother,
at the window
brimming pitcher in her hand

at the lack of blossoms
at the blackspot
and the blight

watering him with words
of exasperation
plucking his leaves

until they lay strewn
about the pine-planked floor
in patchy sunfall

angry that a gardener
more skillful
could perchance have made him bloom.



I could not bring myself to say
I love you

As if love were a place to which
I could bring myself.

If that were so,
Love would be a lake
a watery bed

made and unmade by the wind
as we made each other, arms flung
around necks, around shoulders

and as we unmade each other
making love, unwound
arguing, making up, letting down.