one torn pocket spilling out

by Rich Ives

…….I live in this world because the walls are thin, and I like to hang there and vibrate. People get lost in me. They call it a life.
…….The living room is huge but not endless, and it leads to the wrong country in the corner, and weapons you can eat with, and wooden legs. The clouds are tied to something, and I stand there and wait for them to find me. I’m not dark enough to sleep yet.
…….There’s a lot soaking me up right now, and it’s the way I’m supposed to know what my body does while I’m waiting. If I weren’t so busy, I’d make you a tent, but what I do is look like somewhere smaller that feels just as big and doesn’t hold back.
…….Lately, I’ve been camping in my head. I swim in the lake there, and none of us drown. You’d sit on a stick that sees me, and I’d watch. That’s the way it would be if you didn’t believe me.

With a little attentive listening and foot tapping, the dog can be used to hold together the disparate elements of a great variety of consensual chirpings. Most dogs do not, however, arrive exactly at the expected moment. This is part of the attraction because a good dog arrives always at the same wrong moment and thus allows the participants to vary their performances for greater interest without interfering in the underlying dog’s insistent bark. Because of this there is no difference between the observer and the observed. There is, as well, a less recognized harmony generally present in the sun’s rays, which is often noticed only in its absence. That the particular arrangement of impulses that determines both a dog’s demeanor and moment of arrival may have been determined by the astonishing similarity between musical notation and the surprisingly varied markings on the wings of ordinary houseflies (several of which the dog may have swallowed) seems unlikely.

…….The widow Johanssen is not really my neighbor, but a composition of women I’ve known who have helped me recover myself in difficult times. Lars remains clearly in my mind, but has never issued from his imaginary mother’s loins although I’ve known several women with difficult children. My name is not “Dog,” but I wish it were. It would not be my father’s fault.
…….Sometimes it is necessary to manufacture the boat that truth can travel in, or the wings that allow it to fall. The accident, however, is real although I was not the one to witness it. I remember the smell although I was not there when it arrived.
…….What we remember is what shapes us, even when memory, or even intention, alter it. The truth is in what we make of it, and we are what that new truth makes of us. If we admit the alterations, that too becomes part of the memory.

Everything I know is in this one torn pocket spilling out. A night so black you can tell it only lives in the middle of itself. I’ve been able to provoke myself with certain uncertainties, but something has gone wrong with the Nothing. It can be seen by this that an arrangement of my opinions could have been mistaken for the goodbye letter that hasn’t even been written yet. A quiet. A sullen, luminous quiet, filled with dogless reveries. The Stellar’s Jay throws his blue body at the bird feeder and scatters the juncos and chickadees. He is a ladder from the blue of his evening torso to the night of his head, where his thoughts come to a soft, feathered point. This is where I would like to meet him, but I fear that the dog can follow.


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 2013 at