Embalming Clouds
if the name of the architect is Mr. Rock perhaps the name of the fallen rock
should be Mr. Man it appears there has been a mistake at the mortuary
Mr. Rock has already been filled with the preservative known as Scotch
Mr. Rock however is English and Mr. Man was thrown at him to create this
accident and clouds have nothing useful to do with arriving at the mortuary
but afterwards small clouds are installed to replenish the deceased's potentials
Mr. Rock is still a child like all men but now he's a dead child
Mr. Man left a piece of himself in Mr. Rock's head because he's broken
no one removed it now formaldehyde comes out of the closet
oh no oh no says Mortuary Director Glenlivet too brightly who is named
for his liver this blood is still pulsing Mr. Rock is not seriously a dead man
and Director Glenlivet ceases and desists his ghoulish draining
whereupon Glenlivet offers a cute little suture-bow to the sliced vein
and Mr. Rock is filled rather than emptied until borrowed essential fluids
adequately support the return of pre-embalming opportunities
Director Glenlivet begins floating himself again now pickled and disguised
as Mr. Cloud but no sign of rain in his levitated mortuary heaven persists
and meanwhile the guilty indifference of Mr. Man grows legendary
later at the opening of the new mortuary they will all laugh about this and the party
will laugh about them and the indifference of the trees will laugh about everything else
but the clouds will not laugh and the rain will only fall upon them equally
         Pocket Full of Wings
a young man often builds something supportive with wood
this is not what a man is but what a man does and a tree
or a cloud are only tools for the creation of his man-things
a man's first man-thing is often above him like a tree-house
and no women are allowed in paradise number one
paradise number two could be sympathetic clouds that melt quickly
paradise number three is not a woman but a young man's dream
of a woman which the man creates as if he were a helpful tree
containing a house that was ready to offer itself to the woman
but that tree continues climbing its own ladder of dreams
which always returns to the ancient sun and father sun
may still fill the tree with leafy man-child simplicity
trees are always pointing and they never get where they're going
until they let go and find themselves feeding what fed them
a young man is not a tree but the hope that remains after reaching
wood taken from the tree waits not in green dreams but graying houses
wood is the holding part which the man-child must use to create new rooms
which contain moonlit intentions and he will first be mistaken and later mistaken again
that's not something that deserves criticism it's not the same as
throwing spoons at butterflies or robbing postal workers or eating stale mutton
but be careful now falling clouds do not dream of transcendent wood
nor do falling clouds write epics about mankind or weather's acceptance
falling clouds won't explain what they're doing or do it over again
each cloud is a tentative thing made of waiting and then knowing
flying ants were filling the young man's pockets with wings
and of course there is pain here you'll like it a lot
best advice I ever got says the old man
          The Tendency to Relinquish the Burden
perhaps you have wondered if fear is a prison
or an innocence that separates you from others but a prison
removes you from the source of your imprisonment
you don't have to lock up a box of fear like a prison it can be
shared because opposing dreams live in the wood
which has been taken from vertical history
when the innocent man-child can see the determined tree
approaching the top of its misdirected cloud-ladder
his innocence falls away like a useless appendage
the women are watching what complicates them and
they place rocks to keep the dreamy ladder from rising
into man-heaven where no more men can be made
but man-heaven is lonely and falls day by day with the rain
upon the shoulders of the waiting women who carry this burden
as if it might pop out of them and walk away
         The Song of the Cloud Cradle
now the clouds are opening and singing a song we've heard before
and it falls upon leafy conical ears that reach out to gather
enough sunshine to hear that deep old voice in the wood
listen with your tongue unhinged like the birds
such naked accessible ears gather more than we understand
and spread it around which smells like a baby urinating
aren't you going to kiss the smelly fallen clouds aren't you
going to lick the salt from the corner of the baby's troubled eye
aren't you going to cover the table tonight with terrestrial longing
hitch a ride on one of those old sky turtles we thought were deities
the wet moon creaks on its hinges and seems to be folding out over a porthole
as if it were a milked drink you could spill all over the deck of its longing
caught in the branches of the king's favorite tree the last cloud before sunrise
soaks up the opportunities and bloodies itself for the sun
as if that pagan creature's song were wounded back to peasantry
Gźnter's worried about the snow with its friends all melting away
don't expect him to act like fallen sky doesn't matter
Ingeborg told the neighbor's kids to leave him alone for a long time
listen to the ridiculous babies licking themselves with their beaks
musty nests and closets filled with dormant odors opening everywhere
you wouldn't even be able to hear yourself if that weren't you singing
        Rejuvenation Monologue of the Falling Rock
the rocks' offspring gather teeming with visitations of rain
children of broken down planets and energy re-cycled
what can you say of your parents who separated so many of you
blown about the voice of dirt your singing a granular thrust
through hardscrabble breakfast what can you say
that is not said better by soil given to a random neighbor
each grain hobbles its own tentative shoe but patient justice stands and
admires its accomplishments while children disassemble themselves
and toss about their lives in a frenzy of starting and more starting
brush quickly away the dangers and let the funneling field offer
internal fingers for the mystery because touching back isn't always painful
follow the late rain into everything and follow the worm back out of your excess
adjust the invisible planet of the new home too small to fail
pedestrian energy disseminates the walls and soaks up little
generosities it's a birthday of every moment spilling transitions
once more is so inevitable it's small enough to go unnoticed
once more is not enough to move past me keep going
once more is what you say to me when I listen to myself
     © Rich Ives 2016