MAURICE OLIVER

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 ink-mag.com, tmpoetry.com,
diceybrown.com, deepcleveland.com, writethis.com,
readingdivas.com, dash30dash.com, evasion.co.nz(New
Zealand),and will appear in Fall 2004 issues of
subtletea.com, spillway.com & poesiamag.com. He
presently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he works
as a private tutor.







2004 Underground Voices