It’s what the kids nowadays call weed. And it drifts
like clouds from his lips. He hopes no one
comes along tonight, or calls to ask for help.
Help is what he’s most short on tonight.
A storm thrashes outside. Heavy seas
with gale winds from the west. The table he sits at
is, say, two cubits long and one wide.
The darkness in the room teems with insight.
Could be he’ll write an adventure novel. Or else
a children’s story. A play for two female characters,
one of whom is blind. Cutthroat should be coming
into the river. One thing he’ll do is learn
to tie his own flies. Maybe he should give
more money to each of his surviving
family members. The ones who already expect a little
something in the mail first of each month.
Every time they write they tell him
they’re coming up short. He counts heads on his fingers
and finds they’re all survivng. So what
if he’d rather be remembered in the dreams of strangers?
He raises his eyes to the skylights where rain
hammers on. After a while —
who knows how long? — his eyes ask
that they be closed. And he closes them.
But the rain keeps hammering. Is this a cloudburst?
Should he do something? Secure the house
in some way? Uncle Bo stayed married to Aunt Ruby for 47 years. Then hanged himself.
He opens his eyes again. Nothing adds up.
It all adds up. How long will this storm go on?
this is clearly about a troubled boy who has yet to become a man but is faced with the all the responsibilities of being a man. maybe even more responsibilities than most of us will ever face. he has already turned to pot to escape the storm mentioned at the end (which is not the rain by the way) and is now pondering killing himself to escape it. it is perhaps the one of the most depressing poems i’ve ever read.
The racing of thoughts when accompanied by solitude. This may be all that we ever experience during such times. These descriptions are beautifully amplified through the direct and honest approach of R. Carver.