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 hundreds of poems. And so began his ambition to be a poet. His poetry has appeared online in ink-mag, retortmag, tryst3, readingdivas, onefortytwo, eye-shot, deepcleveland, webdelsol, (The Potomac Journal) and will appear in the Winter/Spring 2003-4 issues of Holy Ignorance, Stridemagazine(UK),, and Spitjawreview. He presently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he is a private tutor.

Capital Asset

enlightened by its experiences and
a voucher that makes fantasy edible
green eyes rejuvenates itself
tricked out of death pop-glossed
into clear cool direction
this diamond jim of full erections
grows in strength spreading
into every unengulfable space
in unsubstantiated stories
of face lifts becoming more than
just another cinema-warmed cliche
until in omnipresent black glasses
in stars in the bulldozed sequel
capitalizing on a nonchalant remingle
of high-priced cowboy-chic later
wearing kabuki-white makeup
& a five-hundred dollar silk
hawaiian shirt it remembers
to thank all the little people
on stage at the very end
of the acceptance speech


Minimalist Histories

passion begins here
a random parade is all
in imaginary lines this
landscape a study
in relief through space
crumbs of jasmine
blossoms on the asphalt
reveal autobiographies
all afternoon as snails
travel slow hunched
in their glimmer such
armory is shells small
and real in stained
sunlight armies mass
the swallows the crows
too sweeping circles
of winged fleets
edge the green this
temperate zone a
tumble of concrete
cleansed of people

Verbal Stimuli

kind of tough velvety
and foul tasting in
scenes that duplicate
a substance relying
on any surface
lichen is one example
moss another this
vanguard thrash-heap
painted like the stuff of
technicolor bulbous
in indifference invisible
in the mirror never red
on flat black colloquial
verbs adjectives nouns
spill into a silhouette
almost audible throughout
this part music part comment
infringes with neighboring
dialects spasmodic gait
and in an extreme sense
is progress in the making

Paper Daybreak

in slowly chased roomfuls
of a cold crackle theory words
meant to be worn like whistles
become the basis of scarcity
and merge in the cellular
as technology dares a fist
to box a kangaroo for money
or flat facedown east-west
like a celestial dream basking
among so many boatless ruddles
on the big blue wide open
of names dates & serial numbers
tattooed to eyelids greed
completes the cryptic exchange
& mumbles into a broken microphone
over the heads of the audience
like some weird horror flim of
mitigated gore while ego comrades
at a reception polite revolution
so start all over resolved
never to be tomfooled again.


Copyright © 2004 Maurice Oliver