An excerpt from 'Forty Days of Fire, Forty Days of Rain,' a living novel by Douglas McDaniel:

At the arrival of the storm, the front door to the
second-story condo blew in, since it faced the wind.
Giant trees somehow avoiding the buzz saw and dozers
in Central Arizona for a century swayed madly, and to
the good fortune of my own little endeavor in empirical
science, a string of multi-colored toy balloons (perhaps
the casualty of a Latino car dealership upwind in
downtown Phoenix) swished across my line of sight,
speeding by about one-hundred feet up: a perfect
weather balloon. I’d say it was doing sixty (even though
I can’t detect the red-shift and all). Conclusion: A big
storm was zeroing in on the southwest from L.A., across
the great desert through Barstow, but who really knew
with this paradised-out moonscape, this beige, maxed
out marketplace plain, with its golf courses and
manmade lakes and steaming foundations and swimming
pools? Could have been enough moisture around to
evaporate up enough for a couple of lakes of rain ... a
heat box for the fire.

Anything to keep my mind off the cautious company
I was living with, who, like my girlfriend’s cat, looked at
me as if she wanted me to die. Or rather, for me to go
away and let her die. She lived by the darkness of the
television light, in gloom, in defeat with selfpreservation
… a satisfaction of being only minimally
depressed within the perfection of her sphere, a void
onto itself … in a prescription haze….

Regardless, what the trees lack, the wind whispers.
Like a suburban monk, I was, making sure to keep a
light touch whenever I touched the landlord lady nurse’s
refrigerator as her rayo-light-TV obliterated the room
from it’s darkness, a flickering firelight of cop shows,
cop dramas, cops in love, in law … a very strong law
enforcement vibe and then yer off to bed kinda light and
white noise … And, me, talking about the weather: The
atmosphere of the southwestern desert struck me as
unearthly, as guided by angels. After growing up there, I
didn’t recognize it anymore. There was no antidote for
this mercurial snakebite. By the great nimbus beasts that
took shape in the late afternoons, the clouds taking on
characters with each gust.

There’s the dragon. There’s the wolf. The snaky front
with its long tail slouching across the desert, only to
explode into a microburst at five in the afternoon. The
archangels of global warming in full view, perhaps.
About as clear as the chemtrails, also over Phoenix, I’d
say. But I’m at a disadvantage. It’s hard to tell anymore
what the normal weather patterns are when you move
around so much. The sense of something supernatural, as
in moving by abnormal physical shifts in the sky, is a
feeling only enhanced by being pushed around by the
winds in life. I had just come down from Oregon, fresh
from a record season for rain on the Pacific Coast. Forty
straight days of rain, in fact. A record for January and
February in the deep misty wood along the shore that
drove men like Lewis and Clark into dreamy
depressions, in a place where the local natives thought
White Man mad to want to live there, a foul stenching
woodsy murk on a tsunami terrorized coast. Where the
winds shook the house, but nobody ever mentioned
anything about a storm the next day. Where the angry
seas at the 45th parallel pummeled the seawalls along
Highway 101, threatening to break through its lines
within the next century, not to mention the next 10 years.

She leans into the sea
keening a song
from the Madonna Disneyland
of the deep as hailstones
ring white pins honed from Hawaii
and a tide of low pressure
rounds up upon the shore
of the Forty-Fifth parallel,
a crowny curtain of thorns
Unknowing from the unquiet
slumbers of lost ships
still melting in icy currents
below the surface,
the seagulls scatter
and defecate upon her:
Rise, O rise, storms across America
Your plastic passions await you
as cars stream in from the Orient
and gas passes through your ports
of entry, pleased, as they are
from the total penetration
of the perfect plan
Star of India, our captains
catch colds in the bowlegged
polarities of warm seas
and freezing skies
The sun, well-timed,
is a clock-face ticking,
hidden from our view
America, may the tilted jet stream
blow a gale of Goth up your nose
May the ocean rise and plaster
a new continent where truth,
chased in the wind, wakes
the ghost dancers from
the Pacific to the Atlantic
Before the living dead can get out of bed
Shipwrecked sailors
found lost at sea
discovered homes
in their own faces,
in bindles of woody words
crushed to hand-length bits
After forty days of fire,
forty days of rain,
the northwesterly El Nino
sheared shanks of wind
off the Oregon coast,
then brought a low blow
to slap the soiled temples
of the City of Angels
Driftwood is piled b‘fore desire
against sandy beach stumps
and stop gaps, infinite and wise:
Infinity stopped here for a day,
a deluge for the dead,
so I could admire
our wood chips,
our broken bones
A winter-long wind shear
plucked the breath
from my pressurized lungs,
turning my fire to water.
I floated some, then burst,
mounted a floating oar
then sank into an orb
of sand
The sun, beyond the grey wail,
shaped a man inside here,
inside this calamity of clams;
one-part plastic,
one-part fishhook,
a bonny redwood mast,
a skull & crossbones flying,
walking the plank on dry land
without an anchor, who cares?
Setting these banalities
of life aside, let me perscribble:
Glass floats on the beach,
I've found, and the ebb-tide
of the avenues are a roar
of trucks in the rain
On Tuesdays, Great Food
is closed in a seaside town;
and what a tree lacks,
the wind whispers;
and loving couples
strand tennis shoes
on the frosty morning shores
as missiles are clicked
into load in the underground
caverns of Iran. Also this:
The electric truth sheds
the oil slick skin off the CIA
and sickened seagulls
reel in the ninety mile winds
and Pennsylvania miners
with black lung bibles
defuse the threat
with another tragic
mind blast
The sun goes up
and Mercury goes
into retrograde
as our satellite's
telescopic echo fades
and techno-pop
becomes the sea
in which we wade
The camera's eye
is just a catch
for this cuckoo cluck house,
our mourning latch
and what is least
is that which lasts
as buzzard gulls sift
through black morning trash
and I try to unlearn
this noisy cache
of highway moms
speeding by bullet blasts
and taxi driver Thanatoss plants
look like gods in camouflage pants
Glass floats on the beach,
it's endless, at last!
The end is coming near
and it's coming here fast
It's time to drink
from the pirate's flask
and toast a tune
to all of that glass,
to the sun, the sky,
the nuclear smash,
the currents, the past,
the pounding surf,
the manic search
for meaning and gas,
the molten glow,
the melting snow,
the rivers that run
through those who know ...
Glass floats on the beach,
the ebb is endless,
it's here, at last

We had arrived back like refugees, yes, and we
never quite got our feet back on the hot cement of
Phoenix, either. She called out to the sea when the
storms moved in, in full fury, to Tiamat, to the lost Gods
of the beaches, worn away, keening into the wind … like
the wind’s daughter leaning into the wake of a pirate

But this sense of disturbed timing goes back further
than that: to the fire in the sky. No doubt I was pushed
this far by a very last lick of sun that touched the planet.
But the first thing I have to say is I had a hard time
getting anybody to believe me. Seven years ago, maybe
a decade or more, by the time you read this: Our story.
The whole thing was too preposterous and prescient and
certainly my description of the event as “a lake of fire in
the sky” didn’t help at such things as counseling sessions
and divorce proceedings. In fact, I had a hard time
getting anybody to believe anything I said in those days.
Not about the lightning. The polarities. The dot-com bust
looming. The bloodbath to come … the one-click wars
to come: Ever since that period in 2000, the weather has
become preternaturally strange to me, just as I had
become preternaturally strange to other people. Clearly,
it was the ways in which I was trying to say these things.
Something to ignite a concoction in my head. Something
without a compass, without a needle to get a handle on.
My best friends then, usually women, said I seemed

Especially after that concurrent histrionic state of
mind, due to the stolen election of 2000. The country
had been hijacked by a band of Skull & Crossbones
pirates. By 9/11 it was clear. Anyone could see. I lost my
job. Got a divorce. Refused to own a driver’s license.
Tried to get off the grid. Ran into the Colorado Rockies
dreaming of same fabled web site to make it all ring
clear, then ran back to Boston in time to find the world
at war, a nation pumped up by its delusions,
shadowboxing with an idea, an ancient Christian foe as
old as the Crusades. When the solar storm hit New
England in the fall of the year 2000, in fact, most likely a
series of storms, it appeared to me as having biblical
portents, but denial in those days of the Y2k craze was
strong. The world had just moved on. Any
prognostication about the dark days ahead was met with
derision by co-workers and family members. It was the
holidays, after all. Nobody wanted to think about it. The
election had finally done the work of a global stun gun.
The wrath of God stuff could be safely removed to
points of conjecture in the land of god and cannon, and
thus, put off for until now as back story spinning out of

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