Author: RD Armstrong
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301)
Pages: 158
Price: $19.99
Publishing Date: March 2008


Once again Raindog (RD Armstrong) raises the level of expectation for his vision as a poet and writer, with the publication of FIRE AND RAIN (his first major collection, and the first of a two volume set).  Fire and Rain can be purchased directly through Lummox press  via PAYPAL. If you want it signed, please indicate when I email you confirmation of purchase.

Watch Raindog read from this book on YouTube.

Here are some responses from readers of this book:

“Damn fine poems. You say things directly; without the smokescreen, without the academic mittens.” – Don Winter

“It was a good read -- You have a way of describing other people because you know yourself pretty well and can relate. A fine big book -- glad it's out there and I hope lots of people read it.” – Leonard J. Cirino

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

"RD Armstrong's ‘Fire and Rain' is mostly all ball busters and roses. One of the best larger collections by an American poet, that this reader has read, in many moons" – Doug Draime

FIRE AND RAIN: SELECTED POEMS, VOLUME 1, 1993-2007  -- A Review by B. L. Kennedy

(First appeared in The Rattlesnake Review #8)

"This is a handsome collection of poetry by one of California’s most prolific writers of poetry. Having known RD Armstrong mainly through e-mail, it wasn’t until a few months ago at Luna’s Café that I had the opportunity to actually meet the poet.

Upon dipping into Fire and Rain, I could not help but take note of the quality of this collection: the quality of the poems and the clear writing style that the reader is offered with this book. Armstrong is ever the social critic, and the 185 poems included in this manuscript are a testament to his original vision. Working from the sweat of life, Armstrong is a talent that plants itself in your mind with his rough-and-ready voice of delicate lyric and refined narrative. He is a poet who does not creep from behind but is full-frontal in his twist of a line and his blue-collar sensibilities. To not recommend the work of RD Armstrong to new readers would be sinful and sad, because here is a poet with a voice that will challenge even the most hard-ass critics of poetry.

So don’t be afraid to purchase a copy of Fire and Rain: Selected Poems 1993-2007 and explore the words of this well-grounded writer."

Here are a few poems from this volume...


There was no vacancy                               

in fact the whole place had been shut down

locked up

the contents of each room

covered with sheets

shades drawn

doors shut


The paint is peeling

the foliage


A fine layer of dust



I will clean the old place up

make it livable


Slap some paint on

open the windows

unlock all the doors

air it out

Get out the “Murphy’s”

clean, clean, and clean some more.

Clean and polish

the old sign

so you’ll know

There’s a vacancy

You’re room is all ready

bed made up


fresh picked

on the nightstand

The register is open

and ready for you to sign in.

The staff

ready to serve you.

“Do you have any baggage?”





She dances naked except for a red blanket

which she holds in her arms

like a partner

She Tangos around the room

her left arm, high

her right hand, low

flipping the red hem

back and forth

much the way

flamenco dancers

flirt with the crowd

showing an ankle

a calf

maybe even a thigh

she is showing me



Her pale skin

like butter melting

muscles rippling


the red blanket

a flag draped limply

on a windless day

the air in her studio apartment

too dense to breath deeply

a shape of sunlight

creeps up my leg

warming as it progresses

as I lay on her bed

at one with this day

at peace with the world

at least for a while

at least till this dance

is over.



Mozart at 22


“My life sucks, man!”

He was 22

His hair was cut like the Dutch Boy

and dyed jet black

His overcoat covered

ragged jeans and jackboots

Leaning against the lamppost

bumming cigarettes from


A group of young men milled around him

muttering their agreement with

his wisdom and profound insight

he was 22 and life was

passing him by

He looked dejectedly at me

“Why can’t I be like you, man?”

22 and he wanted to double his grief

In parts of Eastern Europe

old men of 22 were manning the barricades

right now even as we stood on a corner

in the midday sun

Mozart at 22

had already lived two thirds of his life

Rimbaud at 22 had given up poetry,

been shot by his ex-lover

and taken up gun-running

(better profit to cheap-thrill ratio, I guess)

“My whole life is totally fucked up, man!”

He lived in a small, neat, studio apartment just

down the street

When I was 22

I lived in a roach infested hole of an apartment

in Oakland

My girlfriend was two-timing me with

a baseball player

and booking herself on an all-expenses paid trip

around the bend

The Blue Meanies were gassing kids on Telegraph Ave.

whilst Nixon and Company

were looting Vietnam

raping our faith in authority

and pillaging the federal government


Now this kid

this 22 year-old

this angst-ridden lost soul

wants to be like me

living the “easy” life?

One tenth of my entire life

equals his “adult” life

His life is a little fart

compared to the brown

crusty foot-long floater of a turd

that is mine

22 years old

and its all over except for the

screaming and crying

“Rest easy kid, it’s always darkest

right before it goes

completely black.”