Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 17 . . .

Some People Don't Know How to Be Evil

     by Rich Ives

They'll slap you and say “Take that!” and it feels

good, an unintended gift. No proffered happiness

without a little hurt, cruel as a beautiful dawn.

So let's get good and depressed. Cheer up.

No more advice from empty shoes. No more

dripping tributes to the glad brat of spring. No more

telegraphing tidal changes like a complicated record

of the inevitable. Tear up that tender drawing

your mother saved from childhood with you still

flying and the sky still blue and the brilliant green

earth reaching for your insurmountably floppy

barn red feet, wanting only to kiss everything better

and let that royal velvet horizon release the sun

like a toaster full of fun. Don’t think about father.

You can't give what he needs. It doesn't exist.

He's already proved that. Consider instead mother's

nervous sense of humor, brittle with experience,

and the distance to your body lost love creates,

swallowing its passion in angry manifestos, your

past rewards a cloud of dust still applying for a job

with an eloquent drifting whine. Meet Sister Bliss

and the Joyettes. They’re plucking the juice right out

of a ballad full of satin and jealousy and absence and

blood. Still nothing vicious happens? Did you do that?

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, and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize.

© 2010 Rich Ives