Title: Fire and Rain - Selected Poems 1997-2007 Vol. 2
: RD Armstrong
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper, 6X9
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301) www.lummoxpress.com
ISBN: 978-1-929878-97-0
Pages: 154

Publishing Date: October 2008


Retail: $15 + shipping

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The second volume in this collection by Raindog (RD Armstrong) continues to showcase his work as both poet and writer,

Here are some responses from readers of this book:

“For Armstrong the Blues are not played, but lived – his poems are the observations of a life lived raw.  He hides no sin, expects no redemption and asks no forgiveness...” – Bill Gainer – poet, editor, publisher

"I usually don't pay more than $10 for poetry books unless your name is Bukowski, Ginsberg or Plath but nearly every poem spoke to me in a special way. Keep on doing what you're doing." -- Carl Stilwell

So many poets put out such boring stuff. Your book is really keeping me going.“ – Pris Campbell

"In this era of burgeoning social dysfunction, and its transitive residue on the person, through world, state, economics, religion, family, relationship and god knows whatever the hell else, autobiographical (not confessional) poetry is of paramount importance. At its best, it bears personal witness to all these things, declares supporting solidarity with others, and in the spirit of hope, points to salvation. These RD does to a compelling Fare- thee-well in F&R Vol.2.*  Read it for your troubled and  alienated soul. It’s worth the pain." -- Steve Goldman

Here are a few poems from this volume...

YardBird Burned


YardBird burned

All Wick -- No Candle

Made it to the sun and back

Unlike Icarus --

YardBird couldn’t burn out --

his spirit was the flame by which

HE burned.


YardBird burned

‘til there was only

a husk left

‘til all the notes --

the be-boppin’ bitty

black notes --

were piled at his feet

like cigar ash.



swung his sax

in a mighty arc

like an ax

spinning like

a Dervish


a niche

out of the


granite walls

of Swing-Jazz-Tradition.


YardBird shaped

a Bop See-gar-cough-a-gus

out of his to-brief-time

spent on planet Earth.

The Bop-line

firing volley after volley

of bitty-black notes

skyward -- unleashing

them like blackbirds

blotting out reality’s

harsh light ‘til

the wee-wee hours.


YardBird was never

at ease, at rest

Fingers always a blur




until time shifted gears

in self-defense --

into SLOW-motion then to



YardBird smiled ‘cause

only he saw the joke.


YardBird burned.

Did not really play

his sax -- it played him

Played him until his “reed”

fell apart -- broke down


Broke Bird down --

Time finished him

with a smile

on his face --

death by cosmic relief


You say it was H that

took his life but you

are wrong.

H lulled Mr Charley

into slowing down

Hip-no-(N)ticed him

H slowed him down --

promised him the means

to survive this heartbreak

We call surviving.


H slowed the bird down --

gave Time a clean shot.

Time took it from there.


YardBird Burns Still



In Haiku


It's always

The moon

In the



Always the

China doll

With porcelain

Skin as pale

And white

As snow.


You never hear

About the tiny

Cracks, or the

Other signs of age.


In Haiku

All is timeless.


It's always

The moon

In the



Never the

Razor’s bite

Or the sting

Of aftershave.


In Haiku


It's always

The moon

In the



Always the

Ship dissecting

Mt. Fuji’s





Always the





Always the

Thoughts of

You turning

In your sleep

Pulling the

Sheets tightly

To your breast.


In Haiku


The kiss lingers

Snow never melts

Rain mists gently


The moon

In the


Always returns

No matter

How long

It takes.



Something About Crickets


After the world got

Suddenly old and

Manhattan pulled this

Gray blanket tightly

To it’s neck

The air filled with

An odd sound: A

Warbling of sorts as if

A fleet of tiny alarms

Had gone off simultaneously.


Don’t these crickets know that

It’s not yet nightfall?

Why can’t they just get

Up and dust themselves off

And fly home to their



When a firefighter is immobile for a certain length of time, an alarm that is sewn into his coat is activated.  This alarm sounds like a high pitched warbling.  On September 11, 01 the air around the WTC was filled for a time with this sound as hundreds of firefighters were buried under debris…





I’m so tired

of living here

alone in this

sprawl of lights

and concrete

and sweat

of placing one

foot in front

of the other

huffing my way

around this concrete

racetrack with

one eye on the carrot

and the other looking

over my shoulder

waiting for the man

to slap me on the back

and say, “Come on, boy

we got your sorry ass now”


Living on dreams

working all the angles

getting love whenever

and however not just

from sex but from a smile

or the way light bounces

off a car window on the street or

from the smell of midnight

blooming jasmine from a song

on the radio while you

know you’re driving your

life sideways away from

the current dream that keeps you

moving along and you know

that at that moment that

song can say “love” more

deeply than all the late-night

kisses and penetrating looks

your lover can give you

And you can only appreciate

and savor that moment alone

because you are alone mostly

you and your ride a clean

window and light traffic

the music sometimes beautiful

sometimes ugly beyond belief

but always there even

when the radio is silent always

there in the stillness of that

moment in the presence of

the cityscape that rolls past you

like a silent movie with a

separate sound track of

whoosh and roar of song and

chatter and honk and sirens

wail and tires hum & whine

you watch it day in and

day out from the safety

of your head from the

theater of one


What is it that keeps us

in a particular groove?


What force keeps us from

jumping right out

and sliding into another

like some miraculous



There is a longing a

gnawing in the gut an

aching in the soul that is

always present always

your companion like an old

injury that never healed

right or an unpaid debt

or a piece of karmic grit

that may or may not

become a pearl of wisdom

a knowledge that something

ain’t right here you sense it

but mostly you ignore it

block it out this feeling of

incompletion as if it could be

buried beneath the daily

input the daily ration of

numbness another course

of bricks another coat of paint

another hour of the silent

movie in the theater of one

another moment rolling past

where you look out and in

the absence of a star look

instead at the lights

on Echo Park lake and make

a wish for a theater of two

for someone to share the

silent movie with for

someone to confirm to

bear witness to the silent movie

to the magical play of light

and sound and the wonder and

horror of it all


Left foot right foot

step step stepping

huff huff huffing

roll roll rolling

Right foot left foot

keep moving

don’t stop now

where’s that carrot?

who’s that behind me

left foot

right foot






Things I Notice #4


Jacaranda’s lilac blush

sultry under a gray

watercolor sky


Four crows in a line

one riding shotgun

cut diagonally through

the late-morning air


In the oil field wasteland

marsh grass bows

away from sheets of rain

a crane contemplates

its wrinkled reflection


Standing in line

on a rainy Saturday

later afternoon blues drifts

in with wind’s eastbound rush

fickle storm blunders

through town


The light

flickers in and out

stucco and glass shield me

a wild heart calls

the world turns

as if to look


it’s spring

and the search

for love