from the editors

current issue

past issues



Follow UCityReview on Twitter



Rich Ives

Removing Foreign Objects

Removing Foreign Objects

carrying jars of olive oil to market on a Vespa
those women are flying

I put an imaginary tire on my imaginary wheel
on my imaginary car tomorrow I imagine
I will make another axle and a gear shift

I imagine a froth of lingerie slippery
and bubbling up my parts for this tongue


what if a blossom
what if a book
what if thinking about it

pillow of nothing smoother than evening unfolding
across the still water

pillow of tansy and loosestrife
mullein and blackberry
I’ve got more than darkness to pick

no less bitter than logic
my brain’s the part of me that belongs in an onion


now then the greeting that explains
yesterday freshly as if tomorrow too
might follow steps of reasoning

but first now then then
unraveling towards us
knowing its time arrives


Dear Weasel I want you
under the clock at noon
Dear Wolf come at midnight

as if a seizure could be timed to an orgasm
as if a minute listened as if tear stains

Mama Mama the field’s full of light
Dear Tuition pay me back for the damage I’ve done

big big often and big big entering into
a relation of volume to density

awarded moment by moment


you’re the surviving relative so
just twinkle-wink me fairy-boy

I’m giving up the pets and the prototypes
I’m giving up the silicon

you’ll have to do better than that
you’ll have to arrive later

I’ve never heard what you said before
moving between its language and rain


step away from the vehicle
the alien lights command

you’re the violation you’re not in one
steal the night not the car and drive to cloudburst

I’m sorry to inform you that the informant isn’t you
oh dear oh dear what else can we do to screw you

the guilty party was yours can you sign
for receipt of the dotted line


oh my dear weather you’ve wet yourself
I became a worm during the flood
can’t you hold it can’t you select

I’m arranging my parts front to back
I’ve got timing I’ve got humor I’ve got
consequence and resulting forward fuss

piss on ya own sef I’s got necessaries
comin’ ova for ta change you wata boy

my bucket of scissors
the song of the ice cube tickling
you used to be able to get a jar of Bolsheviks
for practically nothing


mushroom ditties neighbors’ titties
when can we secretly hold them

the result is the body-train arriving
at the station minus the caboose-juice

little bitty but you can’t now’s
got big-time waitin’ on ‘is hind mind

if the accused would step forward to receive
his puddle the sentence would get way too intentionally verbed


crow distance

two wagons talking mutiny
they were loaded

simple hole in the frog tree
where are we

come on up my leg
to where the sky has been sailed

I’m not there yet you’ll like it
deep black tree but not the nightboat

a vessel is the body honor its
directional indicators without scissors

try sleeping with a thesaurus you can’t
just define bed clothing you can’t sleep-stain

simple hole in the gloom key
come on up my leg where are we

crow distance


made from good stock
I would have been delicious as soup

we harvested a couple bushels of snakes
for the preacher called Father Flesh

we gave the consumers boredom
and they wanted more we made it look rare
over there and over there and over there

apple-headed bog-worms
queen of the kingdom of easychairs


fallen out on a breeze I feel warmer with more light
the shadows confuse me

to be a fair moralist you must start without morals


tell me I’m good at something and I will enjoy it
tell me I’m the best and I will falter

am I as good as you say I am
no I will feel guilty for deceiving you
am I as good as you say I am
no I will try harder
am I a liar
yes I am good at that
I will feel guilty
I will try harder

imagine yourself better and you’re in love
imagine yourself better alone and you’re daydreaming
imagine both and you’re someone else
someone else can make you better


am I worthy of you no
am I worthy of myself no
am I worthy of the vilest criminal no
am I worthy of existence yes
am I better than nothing then no
nothing is perfect

Return to list of poems

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. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is 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) and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press--hybrid).

Return to list of poems

copyright 2010-2018 ucity review