Richard Ives has received 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. He was the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and 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 Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books—stories), and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press—hybrid).
Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Shit,
Said the Ending of the Story
From WTP Vol. VIII #5
He lives sometimes in a dusty abandoned washing machine. A bit too much much, that bloke, says the English Sparrow that first chased him there through the jagged hole in the basement window.
Flat bodies like little pages, his kind, yellowish-brown with short pencil stub legs and swollen femur bindings on the hind page-turner legs. Small eyes. Small feelers.
One thing is like another but is not another. Words are serious, but paper is not. An adventure stirs the imagination while the heart waits for a home. You are not here, but what I think of you, who stirs my feelings, is here. Jonathan is here.
The woodcarver lifted the bark and there found his family. Is this the way an intellectual falls in love? Jonathan under the dry leaf litter, Jonathan under bark. Jonathan snuggling into someone else’s nest.
When he wakes, nostrils crashing together in a little explosion of snot, his thoughts clear only momentarily within his muddled head. It’s what happens when he’s eaten too many dust mites. Books of course, are preferable, but also stored flour and soured aromatic cereal. A brain needs physical sustenance as well from the detritus of others. This we call civilization. His favorite adventures of the stomach were found in an abandoned museum collection of plants and insects. He said it felt like each one was reading the past to him as he ate it.
Unfeathered notes of rising, directionless but hinting at sources. Ye olde curiosity shoppe of unwitnessed occurrences. Applications of imagination at the buttery core. But the skipper sets course for only the skipper on a lazy vertical sea.
I know that I resemble what is no longer there, like knowledge, which fades with disuse. I am Jonathan reading his dinner. I am the dinner and not the story of the dinner. I shall come out of the tunnel of one more book, digested but otherwise seemingly useless.