THE TOWN DRUNK RECALLS THE RAINMAKER, GUYMON, OKLAHOMA, 1935
They brung this Yankee man down here to make
it rain with rockets fired into the clouds
and dynamite tied to balloons. He’d take
a stick of TNT, wave back the crowds
of farmers’ wives and scrawny kids, then light
the fuse and just let go. The fire would rise
on wicks beneath balloons, dim in that bright,
hot mid-day sun. The sparks were thick as flies
falling on the kids and farmers’ wives. Then boom
and nothing more. No rain. No, not so much
as one small, spitty drop. The crop of broom
corn kept on withering; the wheat stayed dry to touch.
Flat cloud on flat sky like a sheet with a piss stain.
There ain’t no man can make it rain.
—from Rattle #61, Fall 2018
Benjamin Myers: “The first real poem I wrote was for a girl when I was in high school, and, since I have now been married to her for almost twenty years, I guess I started off with an inflated sense of poetry’s ability to make things happen. Even if I rarely see comparable results from poems these days, poetry has become a way of being for me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.” (web)