White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Rich Ives
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, Dublin Quarterly, 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. In 2011 he received a nomination for The Best of the Web and two nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, was recently serialized with a work per day appearing through 2014 at http://silencedpress.com.
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Rich Ives




Pebbles by the river, one at a time, speaking softly, wetly, of travel. I’m going right here. I shall do it many times.

Rich Ives

Dinner Table



You could think of a raised surface as an elevated backless chair and not sit in it for fear of becoming the center of attention, like utensils, which are often merely teeth with handles that don’t look like teeth with handles unless you think about it too much. Boots do not belong on a table because boots are merely vehicles and tables are for arrivals. Farm implements, however, are more delicate and would compliment the utensils if they weren’t so large and always busy digging up and cutting down large expanses of potential.

If you can melt, the earth welcomes you. If you can’t melt, sooner or later it spits you out, and no one wants that on the surface. The table, however, attends to surfaces first, covering itself with the ability to first maintain appearances, and then support the opening of the cupboards. In this it is an extension of the cupboards, which contain the selected desires of those who have been near the table the longest and are most likely to establish the arrangement of the attendees, any of whom may become occupants, not always with desirable results.


There is a cloudless blue inside this table, and it reaches out to those who attend it. If you walked around the lake before arriving, there is another walk here, if not a quiet moment in front of the place where a stone had been.


Meditations are welcome here if they contain words or gestures. The table cannot hear your thoughts, but uses you to expand its own. That’s why it seems so friendly until you are loud and don’t have any thoughts. The table is a garden reversed, where loud thoughts are only a



Rich Ives

little fake wind and emptiness cannot exist without the birds and the animals filling it to remind you of your unimportance. This makes the table more dangerous. The wind, however, always has an invitation to clear the table, but it requires stealth to navigate the windows and doors, which do not sleep much when they are open. They cannot close without help, but squeezing and channeling is not beyond them, and the wind may find itself diminished.


How many strangers who thought they were friends could still sleep here if it turns out the table can float?


Pull up a chair for your body, but keep your thoughts to yourself. Unless they aren’t really yours, of course.


The ocean, however, remains a great mystery.


Rich Ives

Directions for Fatherhood



I wrote the directions down. Each one said to fly in a certain direction. I made paper airplanes out of the directions, but each of the directions was flying in the other direction.

One of the directions was flying parallel to the first direction, which was the first direction only because I discovered it first. Thanks to you, my darling daughter, in this I am not very unique. Daughters are like that.


One of the directions reversed itself, but have we found the answer, or created another question? If it were a wind proceeding in the wrong direction, would it still be the wrong direction?


Is it sad when the wind is wandering like a dog and still proceeds in the wrong direction?

When the buildings we lived in got tired of the rain, they spilled. Out came frustrations and sorrows and plot resolutions for All My Children. Out came Here I Am and Restful Sleep Following Anguish Over Failures and Failed Departures Following the Advice in My Dreams Concerning Certain Foreign Contributions. Out came hidden tendencies, and out came pieces of forgotten arguments, and out came descriptive passages from previously unwritten novels, and out came exhausted fans and wallpaper implosions, and out came presidential assassination motorcades, and out came fragmentations of thrift resulting from distorted work ethics, and out came tunnels and observatories, and out came sophisticated devices for the detection of sophisticated devices, and out came the dog with his tail wagging.


I am not crying for the dog, but I am not crying for the man either. What then am I crying for?

Rich Ives

Dirk, a Word of Caution



The intimate blade can seem only a mere extension of a greeting, its sharp-witted handshake, innocent until gripped by another body, slips so easily to penetration. It might once have been just another way to separate a possible lover from a nervous theme posted to keep the jewels safe from the suspect hoards.


Not yet cut from the many, the same separatist heart pulses in its sheath, waiting to spill entrance to the holy journey. As if the appended fist finally raised to deliver its sting were only calling out to an ancient god. Those roads had only one place to go. Call it home so that you know you’ve arrived, but beware the dangers of such a place.


Many shall arrive at the beginning of a greater doubt though only a few will find the personal entrance and embrace the intruder. The father knows how differently he carries now the knowledge of a daughter. She becomes with a sharp word the deadliest of lovers. She need only become capable of thinking it. He need only imagine it.

Rich Ives




I find it refreshing to sit on something. I don’t know why. I just do.


Some of the things I sit on refuse me. I sit on them, and they go away. Or I sit on them, and they swallow me. Or I sit on them, and they buy me dinner. I don’t know why. They just do that.


One time I sat on my daughters and they broke. They were really all one daughter, but they broke. It didn’t seem to upset them very much, but they had difficulty eating with their arms detached. I had to invent some very subtle techniques for the applications of wood-burning tools that became necessary for adequate repair. My daughters waited patiently. Put up with mistakes. Were amused by unexpected opportunities like pointing in a new direction when I attached their arms incorrectly.


At first I was beside myself with anguish when I got it wrong, but my daughters just laughed and said, Break us again.


Sometimes I sit down on a problem, and it becomes a bigger problem, and I have to put something on the problem to shrink it. For this I recommend Witchhazel, or money, but translate the money at the pharmacy first. Ask the translator there which language speaks directly to the problem you have inadvertently encouraged to get bigger. But don’t expect the translator to also become the applicator. The applicator is you. You can achieve for yourself the emptiness which this problem took advantage of. Sit down on something else. Don’t fill yourself up on empty seating experiences. It’s as simple as that. Sit down on something else.

Copyright © Rich Ives. White Whale Review, issue 6.2

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