Other Poems by:

Maurice Oliver

Undergrowth With Writer’s Block

Dear Samantha,
Sorry for not writing, but there’s been a rabbit in my cabbage 
patch and a grizzly bear in my shower. It is only now that spare 
time has gotten to it’s feet as if it’s name had been 
called out over the PA system. I miss you and still think of 
your shiny go-go boots all the time. I fondly recall the taste 
of your brussel sprouts and that cute way you had of rocking 
the cradle with my yo-yo. I hope this letter reaches you in 
a blizzard and that on your next visit you'll bring some land 
mines. If Dante could have words with the dead although 
they had no bodies than I’m sure we can sit and admire the ticket 
counter at the Greyhound terminal until our love jones 
comes down or the police arrest us for vagrancy. Either way, 
please bring enough bus fare to get us both as far as Reno.

Her Muse, With One Foot Off The Curb

She claims her parents never wanted a child that 
was obedient. She honestly believes they desired 
one who would be as unpredictable as dandelions 
and as careless as broken bottles. She thinks they 
wanted their “bouquet” purchased without the clear 
cellophane wrapping. Instead, what they got was a 
child with the unnerving power to carry seas under 
her wings and still have her chimney smoke fumes 
visible after the express train went by. Dipped in the
delicate eye of small gradations. And the sun shines 
kindly for a coat, standing with one foot off the curb.
Or it it’s Tuesday than chicken chow mein is muse.

Please Pat Here

No gun to breathe power into a kiss.
Or a shoelace of boot zipper to grosgrain the meager 
sauerkraut of pickled crochet. Try adding a corn beef 
eye-patch to the cole slaw with the ticker-tape parade 
hand printed. Then, bundle a pinch of spice girls into 
the arthritic argument. Or if your gimme a quarter is 
pre-heated, bugaloo the belly dancer until riverside 
drive poodles into a fish hoop full of pickpockets. For 
an after-meal treat, why not sip some creeping kudzu 
pyorrhea just before you push the button to replay the 
soundtrack. A resolution that can turn all your thoughts 
to actions. Facets to combat every cold sore. Or maybe
a wrinkled purse of metal chambers. And if that fails just 
remember, a doorway without a door will still know how 
to crawl through itself. 

& 15 Remaining Items In The “Wish Box”

1. A hybrid Florida alligator with plastic teeth.
2. The Holy Grail after becoming the designated driver.
3. The only eunuch in a twenty-mule-team.
4. Burnt toast waving a large white flag.
5. A smart bomb that’s a yodel champion too.
6. Pigeon droppings with a bad case of hiccups.
7. A bleary photo of Paris in the shower.
8. Dharma chants especially written for crystal lynxes.
9. A porcupine sporting a blonde buzz-cut.
10. Rheumatic ice cut from an old Minnesota lake.
11. A dolphin you can rent for your backyard pool.
12. Jellybeans that can whistle Dixie.
13. A mouse hole with it’s own little mattress.
14. The cookie monster’s greasy fingerprints (complete set).
15. All the onion bagels in Manhattan.

Conversation With A Stonemason

Golden wings against the sky.
But most of the time, the newsstand down the street is
pronounced DOA and a saxophone plays into the cracked 
cereal bowl. The whine of garbage is exceeded only by 
exhaust fumes with a bloated stomach. Half-vacant is the 
motel sign and hungry money gone. The little wine left in
the bottle quickly runs down the subway stairs but still
misses the train. Pimp is my dog’s bullhorn with a dirty 
gray cap lacking generosity and candor. And if the fibers
gathered at the crime scene are stained in red, than you
can be sure all the canned peas on sell have been emptied
from the supermarket shelf. Adjust your hat any way you
want to but it won’t help a bit. And that’s the way love goes.

A Still Life, Using No Shoehorn

All through dinner our mantra squawks like parrots.
When we arrive to my place she immediately admits to 
having a fetish for shoes. Fly paper. Roofing tar. Swords 
when they are sharp. Art historians. Fake chandeliers.
Toothbrushes when fashioned into skeleton keys. Lace
bras. Orange blossoms. Icebergs that are old enough
to turn blue. Loud speakers. Fingernail clippings. Pads 
of yellow butter with pancakes. Canvas cots. Book bins.
Blasting caps with extra amounts of nitroglycerin. Dog 
bowls. Goat cheeses. And love that has no landlord. 
An ideal place for medication. Then later, her moonlight
softens the hardwood floor. And the gentle breeze that
blows in through the open window causes dust bunnies
to scurry under the four-poster bed.

Choreographing Punk Latin

I never even take my sunglasses off.
I simply walk into the empty café at a pre-arranged time,
say the secret word, and am then led to a corner table 
where a kidney pie in pig Latin has already been sliced. I 
placed one piece on a plate to activate the pre-recorded
message with my list of mission possibles to choose from:
-Spend a week posing as a cross-dresser in a Grecian urn.
-Promote dog-drawn chariot racing into an international sport.
-Find a way to get a sushi roll into the President’s ear.
-Raise the price of bread so high it causes a peasant revolt.
-Smuggle a Zippo lighter across a border under your tongue.
-Make an audio recording of pubic hair growing.
-Genetically alter pigeon droppings so it looks like confetti.
-Straddle the hump of a rainbow as a rodeo stunt.
And after only a moment of indecision I op to asinum meum 
basia, asinum meum basia…

A Place, Belonging To Neither & Both

The dream finds me hiding-out on a farm.
I am blindfolded and down on my knees 
as if in pray. A radio in the parlor 
crackles static while crows 
chatter on the clothes 
line out back. 
Flat is what I want 
to leap away from. But 
as I examine the situation
closer, the giant cornstalks 
don’t seem tall at all. Fear is no 
longer the company I keep when the 
shades are drawn at night. Even the word 
“nightmare” can linger on my tongue 
and then be pressed against my 
temple to cool it. Eventually, 
I can hold darkness off 
using lanterns.

Splendor In The Sass

In this scenario she prides herself in her ability to 
do one-arm pushups and I’m convinced everything
but an erection is a conspirator. She has a dog 
named Richard the Lion-Hearted and I have a great
white shark extracted from a tooth. We both wear
identical blond moustaches and cute little webbed
feet. Neither of us have ever seen a glass slipper
but we do know the difference between war and a
six-hundred pound turtle. War makes a tasty soup.
The turtle will sell its shell to the higher bidder. And
everybody says something they don’t mean. “All I 
want out of love is a guy with a zero after his name 
and an exclamation mark humping in his head”, she 
declares, when her deep sea driver comes up for air. 
“Yeah, well I’d consider being bi-curious at a fetish 
flea market if it meant having bedtime stories read 
now and then”, I reply, dangling my private eye from 
the handcuffs on the bedpost. And our T-shirts are 
tone-deaf. And our accordion recital is a failed lounge 
act. But we still long to be included in the next brave 
new world, after we’ve probed it with sharp needles.

The Bullet Is Fired…

and what if it finds us
listening for canaries
or watching for any
sign of feathers or skin
crusty as lizards or a 
place to tunnel into the
dark damp earth or just
waiting for the war to
end even though it is
said the pain of missing 
limbs never leaves you


After almost a decade of working as a freelance photographer in Europe,
Maurice Oliver returned to America in 1990. Then, in 1995, he made a
life-long dream reality by traveling around the world for eight months. But 
instead of taking pictures, he recorded the experience in a journal which 
eventually became poems. And so began his desire to be a poet. His 
poetry has appeared in numerous national and international publications 
and literary websites including Potomac Journal, Pebble Lake Review, 
Taj Mahal Review (India), Dandelion Magazine (Canada), Stride Magazine
(UK), and online at thievesjargon.com, interpoetry.com (UK), kritya.com
(India), and blueprintreview.de (Germany). His forth chapbook, 
"One Remedy Is Travel" will be published in August '07 at Origami Condom. 
He is the editor of Concelebratory Shoehorn Review (www.concelebratory.blogspot.com). 
He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as a private tutor.
**Copyright 2008-09 Maurice Oliver, all rights reserved Send us your comments on this article
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