Rich Ives

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

A Prequel to the Objective Narration

After that Crusty Rust Boy took Church Mouse for a flopmate, Tui shunted aside, strangely disconnected, like an umpire. Edgar the Raven ordered “a nice festering cup of puss” and got us all kicked out, gossipmongers adrift on the streets of Grunge City. Who can you trust?

So Homeless Alcoholic Number One, his voice dragged from his throat like a ratchet, says to Homeless Alcoholic Number Two, he says, “They got any Coca Cola on your planet?”

So this dame, see, wonders out loud how come I’m talking like a detective movie on acid, and I have to wait for a band of bleating Krishnas to chill before she can even hear me reply.

That’s when yet another bundle of glabrous bar bumpkins oozes past the deflated Krishnas, and the broad huffs and high heels it back into her cave.

And who’s counting the speckles on the sidewalk behind her but Tui, fresh from Drag Queen Divorce Court and sniffling up a tearful catstorm of Church-Mouse-did-its. It’s scampy, but tonight I’m Captain Can’t Refuse, and I feel vulnerable, so I take Tui miniature golfing and ride the plastic pony in front of Safeway.

But my spoon’s ripe and Rentboy snags the scent. We’re dancing again and my Objective Narrator takes a few licks to the groin.

I’m just about ready to begin.


Former Beat Poet and Daytime TV Star Refuses Insanity Plea

There’s this guy, see, and he says to the judge, he says, “When the shades are closed, the light goes inside itself.” Only he’s answering the prosecuting attorney’s question about why he poisoned the neighbor’s dog. And he’s standing there with his hands in the armpits of his spinach-colored shirt. I’m amused, okay, but I’m also thinking he might put the judge off his feed with all those speak-up-pleases, and I got me a long shot anyway. I mean I broke the damn window, but the owner wants twice what it’s worth plus six bar stools. I hadn’t even sat down.

Me I’m noticing the bailiff’s unexpected lipstick until she escorts the next candidate to the tollbooth and waggles her butt like a bag of gerbils. And suddenly I remember this movie where a Burt Lancaster type gets serious and deepens his Moses stance far back into his resonant throat and proclaims, “Down by the river the bowlers are singing for Elvis.”

So listen, why do you think I did it? The guy was railing on me, but I put up with that before. I just couldn’t swallow this orthopedic hooker routine he was weepy-eyed over, like she was his mother or something. So I started laughing and blew my nose, and there he was.

So he says and I say and he says.

Like it matters.

Like this guy telling my story was someone else.

Like I always am.


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, Dublin Quarterly, 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. In 2011 he received a nomination for The Best of the Web and two nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net. He is 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 2013 at