About The Writer
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. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2010 he has been a finalist in fiction at Black Warrior Review and Mississippi Review and in poetry at Mississippi Review. In both 2011 and 2012 he is again a finalist in poetry at Mississippi Review, as well as receiving 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. The Spring 2011 Bitter Oleander contains a feature including an interview and 18 of his hybrid works. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is currently being serialized with a work per day appearing for all of 2013 at http://silencedpress.com.
Two Flash Fictions
THE SONG THAT GROWS SOFTER AS YOU APPROACH IT
I don’t think Ferdinand should make any decisions about what to do with his life today. Nor should Mother. I, on the other hand, am no longer young and vital, and if I don’t make any decisions, they will certainly be made for me. Of course, I got that idea from Mother, who thinks Ferdinand is too irresponsible to sleep with, and I don’t see what responsibility has to do with sleeping. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now and much of the day has passed without any decisions except the one I seem to have made to think about this. Ferdinand, on the other hand, has decided to change his life again. How many times can you do that before doing it again isn’t changing anything?
So then I remembered that some people are driven crazy by trying to remember all the things they forget, but I only try to remember all the times I couldn’t remember, those moments of floating outside when your mind rises above your body and watches for clues how to direct that relentless pumping and doing that lives there in the real world while you frisk it for clues to something that was supposed to have already happened and even the not happening is past as you try to find it in all the steady traffic leaving you behind.
These pieces that fall away have no substance. It’s like trying to collect holes. You have to surround them with what you know about things that may not be worthy enough even to recognize their own existence, which becomes more real in that effort.
I suppose when I do this I could be my own universe. Maybe I could be that forgotten moment forgetting it could have existed, looking for the place the others have gone, which may not remember any longer to let them in.
Some people, though I don’t include Ferdinand in this, collect themselves from a series of absences that add up to a presence and look for the hole it will fit in. A sense of belonging may be nothing more than everything missing in one place. If you could go there, you might discover the lost moments weren’t worth all the effort or be satisfied that you didn’t really miss anything important, and you might fill the new hole with that and remember what it felt like to want to save what was in there before it had become you, before it discovered something it didn’t want to find.
I don’t start every day like this and neither does Mother though I can’t speak for Ferdinand, who seems to get a lot of things done a lot faster than I do and is sleeping now, but I have noticed that every morning when the darkness leaves, I want to save a little for myself. I suppose I’m telling you this to feel virtuous about myself for saving you from a lot of needless effort trying to make decisions every day of your life, but then maybe I’ll never even meet you, and I want to know if that isn’t the most wonderful thing yet?
WHATEVER IS GIVEN CAN BE TAKEN AWAY
First I live, and then I live but not so easily. I think about everything instead of doing it, and then I’m trying to figure out later what I might have done.
What’s our brain for if not to help us prepare for what’s happening to us? Well, maybe it’s a clever basket. It holds fruit that bruise easily. Or maybe it’s a cold storage unit with slabs of memory hooked and hanging there, and you can live on that, but maybe too much of it encourages one of those diseases that lives on you. Or maybe my brain is eating itself right now, and all this thinking is killing me.
If this is really me, then the meadow of me has filled suddenly with the most beautiful lack of voices, as if only I could possibly live here, and just as I begin to get lonely, and before I even know it’s happening, its insistent gentle roar ratchets back, picks me up, and deposits me once more on earth, where the aliens have landed. They’re so gentle I have to put down my cane to greet them. I may be one of them because I have to say hello in my head. I have to empty out what I wanted if I want to live here.