of course the rain is beautiful— and faces appeared out of that dampness where they did appear. stevenson 152, faces like calif. poppies in the rain, which is to say these gentle blossoms (young student faces) flattened and mushed by wind and rain, orange, even folded on the ground by parsley-green foliage, orange. kara, grad student, angel dominguez and dan talamantes, terrific poets, former students from a couple years ago sat in front. i should have asked them questions, shouldn’t i find out something important? karen yamashita said i did okay so i take her word. shortly after, scanning the crowd of 150 or so students in humanities lecture hall i knew i should make them descend en masse and exercise, chanting in the martial spirit, as some look despondent, maybe the majority, under incessant attack by market forces and representatives of capital. plus they are young and need to feel their strength. since they have it. droplets drifting through oak and redwood— angel read poems where his grandfather became a cenote. alyssa young joined others welcoming me to read, which i did, reading some poems about death, then alyssa said she had a hand in several projects like the art bar at the brewery. we gave doctor james lew a ride to his car, globes of lights floating through trees, droplets spattering the shining long drive down the hill toward the bay, we met people at the pier. micah perks (with a new novel manuscript) and karen y. hosted (before she flew off to seattle), stephanie chan was there, joseph shannon, less harried and frazzled than years back, heartened my spirit telling how he stood up for his students. micah asked me what was wrong with the shrimp salad, but i didn’t admit it, i was talking and listening too much to eat. my friend the doctor, i should’ve stood to give one of those embarrassing toasts— he’s provided healthcare to farmworkers and the poor in hawaii and california (and flown out to mexico and nicaragua) these past thirty years, long waves of white foam washing underneath us through the pilings, long white crescents of surf cast on the drizzly beach. we got too much history to go into, the three of us at one end of the table, doctor jimmy, dolores and me three decades ago hiking the olympic peninsula in dark winter rains (trees floating down the flooded hoh river, logs booming together in the waves on rialto beach, jimmy, dolores and me soaked to the skin on rialto beach) when my daughter was born on that camping trip. that night history, in the dark and in the rain. we went out into the misty night, stepping to our vehicles, i stood at the railing a moment and took it in: the sea glowing and swelling in spots of green from the lights of the pier, it must be the very same darkness as all these years or some different dark, the very same rain or different rain. in the morning the downpour coming down hard, as dolores and angel and i, and laura kincaid chatted over coffee in the breakfast room of the motel overlooking the pier and the beach.