Would you like to help support strangeroad? Click below to donate.
Undergrowth With Writer’s Block
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
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