Unreliable Marketing Strategies

by Rich Ives

The asshole made me angry and the anger covered me
like a smelly wool coat that would not keep me dry
and made warmth feel like something clammy.

This took place in a country I lived in when
on the other side of this gentleman
there was a desire that tasted like sidewalk.

“I always knew it would end like this,”
my father said, not knowing what it was,
turning it over for a return address.

“Come back! Come back!”
screamed mother wheelchair,
“I’ll hold your oily toast!”

It’s the acting out of the you taking
the me outside for a quick one because
the best way to a thing is the thing itself.

Some inhabitants don’t actually live here,
and so formed a soft scattering of light at dawn,
its darning of the sleepy hay, and its words

came back upon my gift of freedom and held
me to my choices, which could not be seen
as the queen of ghostly cinnamon. At the grocery store

my wire cage held food that only stayed solid and desirable until I ate it.

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)