Ricochet Or Replica

The phrase
inhibiting nowhere
staggers across
a plainsong
leaning on darkness
on tree stumps
on sign posts
married to winter
surrenders to three a.m.
& static on the radio
or the bottom of the cup
until somebody coughs
or limps with no nametag
wresting the us from us
or small twin-engine planes
that write slogans
across the sky
only to have brute wind
come along in a hurry
with bayonet fixed
to disfigure even the most obscure letter
in a matter of seconds

Wistful & Afterwards

thrashing around a place
the wind can't bend
or anywhere other than here
I disguise myself
in striptease face
& a red clown's nose
half jade half jet
octobering in frost harmonicas
wet from butterfly kisses
the whole notion skirting
over flames of several suns
already years late
on a baited brass hook
in the old mill stream
or woven into a sash
of improvisation & ache
any sound can be made up
using the jagged sharp edges
of brass knuckled inhibition
unmoored at the hinges
or pistolwhipped afternoons
which i can only imagine
having never seen one

"Seemingly At Random" Sonnet

Lakes with exterior sun. A
nest of robin's eggs. The
flash of scissors. Wind's
time among the trees. Solitude
or surrender. An early frost.
Graffiti half-heartedly done.
The borders of a narrow curve.
November folding its limbs.
A signal never listened to.
More sun stealing shadows.
Doctor she said. An archer &
his bow. A moth-eaten garment.
Dresses on a rack. Echoes in a
canyon. Voices on the roof. So
much red. Blue until green. Her
eyes getting smoky. Cigarettes
still in the carton. Perfume.
Orange peels. Shielding a
match against the wind. Cans
that rattle. Tattoos or mermaids.
The rapture of open spaces.
Dusk that dims all. A rocky
lighthouse aglow. Rowing the
boat into another room.

After almost a decade of working as a freelance
photographer in Europe, Maurice Oliver returned to
America in 1990 to work for the Los Angeles Times.
Then, in 1995, he made a lifelong dream reality by
traveling around the world for eight months. But
instead of taking pictures, he used the same acute
creative energy to record the experience in a journal,
which eventually became dozens of poems. And so began
his ambition to be a poet. His poetry has appeared in
The Potomac Journal, Circle Magazine, Tryst3 Journal,
Eye-Shot, The Surface, One Forty Two Magazine, Holy
Ignorance, Bullfight Review, Taint Magazine, Somewhat
Magazine, Word Riot, Monkey Kettle, Retort
Magazine(Australia), StrideMagazine(UK), Taj Mahal
Review(India), online at,,,,,,,
Zealand),and will appear in Fall 2004 issues of, & He
presently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he works
as a private tutor.

2004 Underground Voices