Heavenly Bodies by Rich Ives

Loretta Flizzle says, You’ve got this on the wrong way take it off, says, It’s heavier than that. You have to lift with a lever, and it floats off with your automobile. She’s hacking, she’s dangerously ill and coughing up kittens. It’s on account of enlovement and she’s drunk with it, literally, already spawning a demeaning odorothon. The coagulant fecund loveswill of you could never be mine is what I think.

“lake1” (image via Flickr user Hans Gotun)

And her you’s Peter Princemeadow, sailor of yachtworthy seas, purveyor of moneyed indulgents, an irksome tract of sea-scud, a goggle-eyed grouper, failure at everything except survival, and no one believes he didn’t make up his own name. And Peter Princemeadow answers the unspoken question, There can be no emptiness here, for you are already full of it. With a clever smile on his face. Expecting to be appreciated. So my island grows fins and swims home, won’t let me forget I know them.

If only these elevated cabbages could be sorry. If only fog’s gentle girdle had lifted from Loretta. Perhaps she’d scream, Take off that ridiculous necktie, or Here, stick this fag between your lips, and she’d be scarfing up a couple of quacks and leaning dotty. She might survive the survivor.

My Hungarian friend Mayumi McMinnikin says, Don’t no one know who wants what they really got, and I don’t know what that means, but I’m tired of love songs, and I don’t need any more visitors who don’t look good in lingerie. I won’t even answer the door for those who do not tread lightly, and I object to the intrusions of airplanes and neighbors with dogs who probably think what they’re doing is normal and would complain if I screamed at them exactly that loud and that long, which would give me one more resentment to take to bed with me like the only piece of furniture I own, which used to require an invitation.

“When Fireflies Attack – Project 50/50 (Week 25)” (image via Flickr user Jason Mrachina)

You see, A verb is the thing done to itself, more a consequence than an action, until you go back to the noun that did that and begin all the accusations. In the No world, negations are negating themselves. There’s nothing there, so we’re talking about emptiness and trying to understand it by taking away what was never there. We’re talking about Loretta’s newsboy delivering an old story, every lucky number a dream delayed, so get on with it. Luck is always waiting for abandon. There should be a prize for every loser. There should be a lottery for barking, a ticket for each complaint, and half the winners, owners included, would be donated to feed the poor in countries I’ve never heard of. Peter wants too much money. If I can live on nothing, why can’t he? I’ll give him the dog I could have owned if they’ll both shut up. I’ll drive them to church or a ripe social event for quiet people. Bingo’s enough fun for anyone who doesn’t look good in lingerie.

Toady up mythologists, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard. I try to start the copyright’s engine, but the light won’t turn. For God’s sake don’t eat the alternative. There’s too many miles on my car, and it doesn’t complain much either. It hums its way from place to place like I do, makes no obscene gestures when its attentions get rebuffed, fits in where others don’t, and doesn’t dribble juice on the floor when I’m busy whistling Webb Pierce or Patsy Cline. My earring’s not that handsome either, but I don’t Pierce my tongue to show I can lick with greater vigor than the next lonely cowboy on Skid Street. I just live on the road enough to need to like my own company a little more.

Sometimes I like to introduce myself to the windows, and I’ve been known to cultivate an interest in rather nunly cold cowgirls, and I respond quickly to ornithographic references. Sometimes I’m gone, but I haven’t missed myself. Finally I think of fireflies and imagine the burden of light greater than the burden of knowledge because to have knowledge and still be dumb is easy, but to have light and still not see takes mastery.

Rich Ives is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. The Spring 2011 Bitter Oleander contains a feature including an interview and 18 of his hybrid works.