Rich Ives



the shape of the man is not always a color
a large round man is not always blue
a short skinny man could be green
and not red as one might expect

new colors are created for a man when
he surrounds himself with trees or rocks
or when clouds come to him too often
a man’s color is a man’s purse

he keeps inside his pictures of
himself and the rocks and trees
which have become parts of
his transient body

a blue man for example cannot steal
from a yellow man without becoming a
green man but the wheel of a man’s color
rolls in unexpected directions and

elements of different men combine
unpredictably so if a silver man met
a gold man he might become
a deep rich earth-toned nuthatch

a man’s color cannot be seen
he will have to show it to you
often it is a woman who believes
she sees the color of a man but

only a rock or a tree knows for sure that
Denver is a clever oblong with green edges
while Detroit is nearly a rectangle and holds its
body of light blue streaked with rust at a diagonal

since as a modern man you cannot talk to a tree
or a rock it is difficult to learn what they know
about older men but a man can tune himself
to receive signals from many different places

and in this he is like a dog or a brand new tomato
which both wear deceptive auras when they
hold on to the warm tobacco stain of a grasshopper
the kind guinea hens appreciate for their slow tasty retreat

modern men who have been secretly involved with only
the indifferent histories of tobacco stains believe color merely
a perception as if measuring the tenacity of fluid smoke
neither reptile nor fish its drizzle merely a courtesy