A Reconsideration of the Subject

– Rich Ives

Like a single disagreeable letter from several dead philosophers, the subject arrived at the barbeque wearing a torn sweatshirt. The mistakes of others were included, but maybe they were also his own. Maybe he claimed them even if they weren’t his.

Negligence gives us a rather large common ground of confusion to stand on while we disagree. There was no boundary between the thing outside (just thought) and the thing inside (forgotten). The wandering idea’s Teddy bear then perambulates more aggressively, saying Button it Bobbo to the tension walking next to the subject. The subject’s watch is larger now than he is because time stays generous when it’s not yours. Black silk and obsidian edge the incision in its darkness approaching, the darkness that spills on the letter.

Oh yes the subject was overly fond of the gathering’s idea sugar, but intellectual poverty is still poverty. So we wait with an obsessively selected thought donut and a goofy grin. Soon something as simple as weather arrives to unite us and to give us meaning. Yes, the subject wishes to control the weather, but he feels much better failing than worshipping the one wing of a maple seed brought to earth in a rich pile of worm fodder.

The subject, it seems, really does have too much to say about everything, which means it must be said twice or eight times. You swallow it all up, everything disappearing inside what you have been thinking, ushering it down to where such guests are still welcome.

The subject soaks you up like another dead philosopher, and the sweatshirt becomes a renewed fire of intellectual stains. So you take your self home and wash it, providing a more acceptable entrance to social functions. You find a circle in your brain. What’s it doing there? Your brain has too many childhoods. Put some of them in a very small burlap sack. Imagine it’s an ancient choked aspirin entering a dark hole, a landscape without corners. Hold it up to your basement thought, the one announcing separation. Consider the reconsideration.


Rich Ives lives on Camano Island in Puget Sound. He 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 a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and has been nominated twice for the Best of the Web, three times for Best of the Net and six times for The Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. Tunneling to the Moon, a book of days with a work for each day of the year, is available from Silenced Press, Sharpen, a fiction chapbook, is available form Newer York Press, and Light from a Small Brown Bird, a book of poems, is available from Bitter Oleander Press. He is also the winner of the What Books Press Fiction Competition, and his story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, is now available.

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