CLOUD HUNTING BY MICHAEL LEE PHILLIPS 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 51
The sky we had never made no clouds, bitch.
Moisture trying to float our way ended up in yard sales,
Dried-out lumps looking like white dog turds.
Woman was all smiles trying to make a dime off us
Saying, Hell yes, these here, they still got rain in them,
You think I’m lying, go ahead squeeze one.
Mostly we had no choice, bunch of the guys would rendezvous—Posse of pickups, old ladies told we was gone fishing.
Lockin’ and loadin’.
Siphoning gas, donuts and coffee pumping us 24/7.
Nobody can hide the clouds.
Nobody owns the clouds.
Any cloud is our cloud.
Find a cloud take the cloud.
Mottoes, dude, we lived by them.
And when the season came, motherfucker, the rains came.
The first Paradise Inn we tried was one-storey and painted the putty color of raw white fish. It had a shredded yellow flag with a bright pink sun in the middle that hung from a pole out front. I told the rickshaw driver I’d be right back with a cart for my luggage and went to check in.
The woman behind the front desk with thin yellow hair checked her book for my name. “You’re not here,” she said.
“Bullshit! I made the reservation two weeks ago, on the telephone.”
She pulled out a photocopy of a hand-drawn map from a drawer in the desk “Other Paradise Inn,” she said. There were about a dozen of them in just the part of the island we were in.