I’ve learned to think about things that don’t matter because of the way I think about
them. There’s no adequate apology for existence.
The juice trickled down and dried quickly on my chin.
We did not know how to build a house, the two of us, so we stood still long enough
for the earth to grow up around us.
It doesn’t take as long as you think.
Briefly, I was tempted to cancel the “you” in “we,” but what good would it do
when you could just invent your own?
Isn’t that what happens anyway?
Isn’t that really the same crumbling stone?
So I decided this is natural and provides room for the newly compulsive aspects of
It’s a ceremony that differs substantially after each part of its death. Busy but
empty. Always a crowd but never crowded.
One time, my friend Walter’s adjustable torment visited without a handkerchief and
I offered him my new device for the erasure of tears. Big mistake. Big big mistake. I
couldn’t keep the excess precipitation from ravishing the garden.
After the tortured vegetables, we staggered the load and old recipes rained down
like an aftermath. After the after, if you get what I’m dripping.
Just like a “dead” person to do it again. Oh that Walter.
So then Walter decides another birth is in order. Dead people go for that in a big
way. Except Walter doesn’t know “nothin’ about birthin’ no babies.” So Walter just
walks around naked, burdened by opportunity. You’d think the dead would be an
experienced bunch, but they’re not. They get fixated on just the one overriding fact of
their existence. It makes it difficult to listen slowly enough.
See if you can taste their dead air, even without the blindfold. It’s not hard. It’s just
hard to think of doing it.
Will you be welcomed in these dead churches? It all depends on how you make
What does the emotional river taste like when you leave it? Why won’t you dream
of heaven after you live there? You’ve got to say what’s on what’s left of your mind if
you expect to get along, even if getting along is no longer getting to the same place.
The poor boy gurgles and sweats. Gurgles and sweats.
“Yeah, empty and tough,” Walter said, “and tough.” It wasn’t hard to predict that
one. There’s no security in anything social any more.
Then I saw a nervous glut of doors go huffing over the damp threshold. The place
got so crowded with unused options there wasn’t room to open any of them.
A good prophet, they say here, does not sob loudly for the tenor of the future. A
good prophet doesn’t need more than one language. A good prophet is always empty
enough to know if you’re full.
This future travels slowly up the tenant’s arm. It wants something that isn’t moving
to eat. It isn’t afraid of falling. It doesn’t believe in forgiveness.
We’re not all water. We know where we’re going even if we don’t know when we
This is not the understory. This is the lake.
Most of the predictions are still in the clouds.
It’s the one package so altered by travel no one claims it.
Pain arrives first here. As in the Bible. Which teaches us not to believe in pain
before biblical pain.
We travel between logic and rain.
Confidence rages. Throw it down and the winds pour.
Drag the sunflowers to the bus stop and the light changes.
The ugly things are unavoidable. With or without a book of ugly things.
Or you could take the rags of this life in death like a floral description. Tufted
And then its next and its next, separated.
Do I have to say you wilted?
Flat and slow and dumb and wistful.
White darkness came and then the blue one.
A dry streambed. The exaggerated persistence of morning glories.
Time turns the orchard into frail wooden tags. We die from our toes, upwards like
an aspiration. That’s why the thoughts are heavy and the light remains unavoidable.
You will have to make another decision.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2013. Tunneling to the Moon draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly. There’s still time to catch up. Refer to the Burrow Guide.