Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 4
Summer, 2011

Featured painting, Steakhouse Grand Opening, by Daniel Dove.

Featured Excerpt & Review

Rich Ives

Of Course There Were Holes

"I fear what I might do if I say it," I said, turning and turning in the leaves' space, and issued myself forth from words of myself, and spoke not to myself, but to my self, which was not there, and knew me to be unavailable to occupations denying contradiction.
Tall clouds were there and weren't even horizontal.
You should not feel it's your fault, but you do. Nature is wrong sometimes, but when there seems to be no decision, how do you blame yourself.
We all had hammers, but we didn't carry them around.
You could rent what you needed, but then you couldn't consume it.
We knock on doors, and sometimes they open, and sometimes we know they won't open, and we knock on them anyway. They're doors. We have a history of inviting ourselves in.
Someone must be on the other side, but I don't know where the other side is.
Sometimes all you've got to say me with is what you put on.
You're a substitute for places you've lived in. What you are is not in the words of their mouths anymore. What you are is all you and gone.
Something smooth was between these things and it allowed you to continue.
The moment of drama was not the expected accent, nor was it the silence following something important.
We brought everything down with us. We hunkered inanimate objects, hunkered the next moment itself hunkered but only because we hunkered.
There was an aisle in the expression of the thing we could most experience as pleasure, and we exchanged what we had for what we found there. It felt like the place where we lived, but it was the place where we waited.
There were others on the other side, who were not like us. They didn't bother us except to make us feel wrong. They didn't try to come through or to drag us away, but they reminded us.
We were small then, and we are small now, but somewhere in between we were exactly what we once thought we were supposed to be although we didn't know it at the time.
Of course there were holes, but they weren't big enough to climb through.
I was on my way to what already happened when I opened and let the consequences out. I did this so I wouldn't have to experience them alone. I experienced them alone.
We had gatherings in the places where we didn't live because these places seemed happier, and if they weren't, we could leave them. Either way, we left. It seemed happier.
There were things we thought we shouldn't do that we decided to do, and this made us feel excited until we did them, and then there was a time when we could still be pleased by telling what we had done, but pretty soon it was just some thing we did to be different, which wasn't different anymore.
If something we wanted to be with us was not, we brought it along and acted like it was with us, which it wasn't, because what we brought was what we thought the thing was, and what it really was was back there where it had been when it was without us. It took us a long time to understand this. It took us a longer time to accept this.
We were looking for rules because it gave us pleasure to break them. We found them when they weren't there to give us reason. We didn't have reason when we didn't have them. We didn't follow when we went everywhere. We didn't talk about what we weren't doing because we were doing everything we could think of, and we didn't want to feel that we couldn't think of it.
Soft things were not often found in the rest areas.
The windows were open because the walls were open. The walls were open because the roof was open. The roof was open because the sky was open. The sky was open because we didn't know how to close it.
Sometimes when you can't see the hands, they reach into you. Sometimes into you is a place you go to find the hands, which are not so welcoming outside. Sometimes outside is inside.
You can't hear the feet above you, and you like to think of it as thunder in a dream. The idea of noise is in a dream, but the noise isn't somewhere in between the idea of the feet above and the real feet and is the possibility of another real body, frightening and wonderful. This is an idea we all have about our own bodies when other people think of them.
Work-boots were never visible above the shingles, but you could hear them cracking in the heat escaping from the buried rooms.
By this time there were horses outside, and the horses were sawing things down, sawing down the things we thought of them and the things we were keeping from them and the things we were expecting them to do.
There is fear in the outside, of course, but it's an attractive fear, like the rush of the unknown into completion, which is good, even when it's not what we wanted, because then we're free to want something else and be so happy that we survived it. We didn't know we knew we would survive it. I had forgotten that the holes were too small to live in, but I hadn't forgotten that I had forgotten this, so I thought about it some more. I stayed where I was.
The size of this understanding isn't much different than the size of this misunderstanding, but this misunderstanding often becomes this understanding, which isn't much different either. There's not much to hold on to, but purchase isn't needed if you're not going anywhere, and that's where we've decided to go. We often make such decisions to test the limits, which is how we know there's not much to hold even though we're not holding on to it.
If there's something being taken away, it's being taken away by you, from yourself, in time to live in the space that's left.
Below the surface, there's a place to come out of a place of staying at and coming out of a place of definition without a word to contain it.
You want to talk about shelter, we'll talk about shelter, but of course everything we can say is outside the shelter, which is an idea of the shelter. We can't live below the surface of the shelter, but we can think there.
Sometimes things came inside, and we were there waiting. Sometimes they were outside, and it was us waiting.

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. 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.