Maurice Oliver

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, Frigg Magazine, Dandelion Magazine (Canada), Stride Magazine (UK), Cha Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Kritya (India), Blueprint Review
(Germany) and Arabesques Review (Algeria). His forth chapbook is One Remedy Is Travel (Origami Condom, 2007). He edits of the literary ezine Concelebratory Shoehorn Review at:
He lives in Portland, OR where he works as a private tutor.

Ferocious Ineptitude, Getting Acquainted

In this scenario so much remains that hasn’t been
white-washed. The world retains its twilight dye as
fore-play drives by in an unmarked car with a gun
pointed out the rolled-down window. From life to
life intended to be a blind date. And the rented
ping-pong player inspires giggles from the opposite
team. And hazy shapes determine the sentence’s
structure. I wear only a peeping tom and she is
dressed in bubbly champagne. We stretch our
desires into a race track where we exchange car
Alarms until we both become part of the log jam
inside the trench coat’s pocket, frayed around the
collar. Juice stains the knife and even the paper
napkins, living on a lobotomy placemat. Letting in
madness in the music until the hip-hop train arrives
at its destination with a chic Vuitton luggage. With
First-class ticket stuck to the stanzas. And that’s
only a few of the things lover can’t do in public.

In Each Tale Of Love They Sing

And the poem opens by itself.
Two people are talking in the
next sleeping car. Hills and
valleys roll by cabbage-laced
on the horizon. The fast train,
limbo-dancing to an open glove
compartment. Light from the
window streaking against the
outside darkness of insane
jealously. Then later, that same
evening, humility returns to the
Paris stage. And a Protestant
minister presides over the
ceremony. Or all the while life
stays frozen in the headlights.

Static Interference

A forest ruffled by the wind.
Lapping waves that know how to laugh.
Whispers paler than sea air.
Mediocrity in a garden of memory.
A thorn of sweet pea songs.
Goodwill bewitching a wonderful.
An ever so-alluring thunder bolt.
Frozen snow wearing yellow Indian silk.
Chanting demons in the parking lot.
And a spotless house of desire.

Asterisks (The Revised Version)

I have bad dreams.
Last night one of them took me to where all of
Italy turned out to be just a dead-end gravel
road that terminated in the 19th century
buried alive in an Edgar Allen Poe tale.
The plot coughed sporadically then
spit out the word “fear” in Arabic.
Waves lapping at the hem of
the world‘s dress. A love
sonnet in a room with
a view of the floodlit
castle. Or mildew
on the shower
curtains. Frog
legs on the dinner
plate. Yellowjackets or
hornets. Honey in the hives.
And while it’s still summer, melon
rinds and cherry pits. Doom’s day with
its feet dangling from the dingy. Villas on Lake
Como. Couples kissing on the promenade.
Sleek sailboats with people waving as
they go by. And the world smiles
in Technicolor, with a shiny
pistol, using my
own bullets.

For Sound Bite Purposes

A little snow. Branches broken then shattered
on the ground. An empty brown table scared.
A knob that shines. Grey squirrels. Small change.
A cloudy November day. Fieldstones leading to the
porch. New England farms. An empty room where
a radio plays. Or stray cats. Two trucks with broken
headlights. Wreathes of stem rising from the thermos.
Damp hair. Fish wrapped in newspaper. French or else
Russian. One painted red. Any space between the rings
of Saturn. Then other times, lighter than a gob of spit.


Poetry did not begin for me until after my trip around the world in '95. Up until then, photography was my all-consuming passion. It was my way of supporting myself during the 80's when I lived in Europe. But I knew that the world trip would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I did not want to be burden by the knowledge that I had to make "good pictures" of the places I visited. So I sold my camera and replaced it with a dialy journal, which eventually was used for ideas for poems once I returned and fell back into the work-a-day routine. Poetry became my new passion. And now, after writing and having been published for several years, I feel that poetry is my true "creative calling".

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