Those little dream brothers were made of chicken feathers,

and I had to blow their dream parts forcefully from my nose.

I was lobbing bottles of vitamin water at their cute little feet.


You’ll need help to rise now and

some dreams won’t take you back,

as if there were something determined in their breath.


We were after love that night, but wet and mysterious was close enough.

You carried several husbands in your peekaboo pants, and

This just pisses me off, I admitted loudly,


but you were also the ocean with everyone

coming down to you to watch you breathe,

and you will not have to pretend you know this.


Deep in the night when the night’s closer, someone thinks

you might understand I always wanted to help you,

and I always wanted to be you helping me,


and suddenly it’s dusk with candelabras of birdsong

lighting my ears, and it’s best to tell them everything because

you’ll feel better, and the wandering brothers won’t listen anyway.


Confessions of a Delinquent Narrative

Of course, the surprise ending knows I will arrive,

but the beginning doesn’t know where I’ve gone,

thinks I might start again. And I might, but not

to set up house and drink endless tea.


Sometimes I do feel as if I know where I’m going

though I cannot take you there through

the door I’m still building, and I can’t stay

here any longer without erasing myself.


Sometimes I open what’s not even there.

It could be a deeply questionable freedom I live in,

beneath the could of it. I’m suffering from

a surprisingly difficult stroll, and the color


of little bird panic in the wings of my heart

won’t bleed a seductive smile made of merely

smoke and daisies. Let not the unbound be fenceless,

shedding their dark beneath the breath of progress.


Tonight I want yogurt blossoms and imbeciles in

the dark trees as happy as tongue depressors. I’ve already

lost a couple of porches and reasoned with absentee clouds.

I’ve an unreasonable love of falling leaves and wet hair.


I’ve decided the Italians must once have thought

“modern dress” meant “attached to sullen hillsides,”

and I’ve decided I’m a territory unexplored by innocence,

unexpected beauty, toast, or a fresh glass of water.


Still, I might be less literal than I thought. I might be

raining beachballs containing ideas for new machines.

I might be plucking eyelids from the blind parents of

dirt-bikes and chastising the unplanned fun that bled us.


I might be joined to the confused by the undecided and,

if it’s not a part of the plot, each pound for an ounce

of thought, I might contain a warm milking stool with

ambitions to speech, and I might walk away from myself


out onto the road of participation and complicity

in a rage of taking back, of feet, of direction,

as if I might have been the goal and not

merely the forgotten territory of progress.



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. An interview and18 hybrid works appear in the Spring 2011 issue of Bitter Oleander. In 2011 he has been nominated twice for Best of the Net.

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