Rich Ives

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Secret communications of old string begin
with the clarity of a brighter enigma,  lining
the streets with soft flickering arguments.

Next to the string man who endangers caution,
the lamp sighs with a sweet  pop, trampled now
by a herd of Russian nighttime sparrows following
small fat-winged moths to their fiery ascent.

All that you have worked so hard to make must
come apart now like a reverse avalanche of smoke
between the bread and the shadow of the bread,
watching something astonishing that doesn’t exist.

The Idealization of Flight

Looking out the window as if you were reading,
a word like puff, flounce, shimmy occurs to you
and it takes
a moment before you realize a thrush is taking
a wild bath in the stagnant disgusting pond.

Backwards you rush to the pure vision before
the words shape and sully it, but it’s not there
until you notice
the thrush doing it again and refining her technique,
and you can feel the cool dirty water reaching

your participatory bones. Hollow fills you with
what it never was, and the bird flies blithely off
while you stand stunned
and thinking of the way even a wet bird is trapped
by the continual escape required for each uncountable

space that must pass for it to be fully a bird
and not that forgotten thing walking among grubs,
flipping leaves like gliders,
reminding overfed pilots of someplace pure and more
comfortably ethereal than it was intended to be.


Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Award. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press--poetry), Sharpen (The Newer York—fiction chapbook), The Ballooon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking—What Books) and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press--hybrid).