Poetry by Rich Ives

From the Forest

this sky seems small enough
to live in if you could ever get there

but today it does not take over
moderate sky

I’m still the passing cloud
that never stops passing

this might be the torture that kissed you
this air so blue it seems never to have fallen

an illness or a rock it’s all the same
not a man but a predicament

like an ant drowning in sugar water
or the wrong hair on a bonebed

no more than a touch at the horizontal door
felt and not heard and opening out

an act of kindness without the kindness
one thing fell away and then no more

abashed: you don’t mean anything disgusting
how can I respect you

this refusal feeding on itself beneath the beautiful leaves
without evil good would be merely ordinary

Gainfully Unemployed

only one story is this story only one sky-colored passenger
arrives with you in his pocket and wears
forward as a separate command

something hard and difficult recognizes you
but let’s not say suffer let’s not say ownership

because I embrace my inadequacies
the horror here is neither leafy nor whispered
you could probably do without it

you could see this horror at most celebrations depressing
a wallflower with too many pencils and condoms
the score is always lower than the water table

so the pencils smear recording the zero
it looks like where the face of someone who never arrived

one of the birds was nearly opened by the wind it had chosen
this allowed it to fly safely the way the word for it
contains more than it contains

I was exploring drive-by banking and intermittent cloud cover
I can’t say I know what it means to participate willingly

my dinner is a wilderness my wilderness a torch my torch an error in judgment
your ancient license brings me only a precious cloud of weeping

like an acre of silent microphone cuddling
asymptomatic stones believe their bodies cling to them and
glass is too obviously approachable to participate quietly

marbles have been used to align the brittle circular remnants

a small gift I cooked in a turtle shell floats by
reminding me of the distance between a pearl and a lesion

I’ve grown quietly aware of the quiet that is there

Gathering My Canine Thoughts

how can you separate life from death
when your bark sounds like a question

deprivation creates vision it seems
I can see better with the light closed

an idea straining on a leash
may forget what holds it

watching a dog make up its mind
is like counting water

sometimes intention adds up to dog
and sometimes it just flows

the dog’s favorite word is fetch
which means now but nothing later

a dog can smell you thinking tomorrow smells sweeter
but tomorrow is not the same dog

About Rich Ives

A former Ray’s Road Review contributor, Rich Ives is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is currently being serialized with a work per day appearing for all of 2014 at http://silencedpress.com. Tunneling to the Moon and Light from a Small Brown Bird (poetry, Bitter Oleander Press) are both due out in paperback in 2014.