December 2, 2014

POETRY BY OLIVER RICE



Oliver Rice’s poems appear widely in journals and anthologies in the United States and abroad. Creekwalker released an interview with him in January, 2010. His book of poems, On Consenting to Be a Man, is published by Cyberwit and is available on Amazon. His online chapbook, Afterthoughts, Siestas, and his recording of his Institute for Higher Study appeared in Mudlark in December, 2010.


                   
THE AWE, THE LURE

The awe, the lure, this morning, is not of the old town,
nestling by the Danube, the remains of Roman walls,
palatial spires of medieval merchants, the dark alleys,


nor of the modernistic lifestyles, the sleek suburbs ,

but of a sudden idea, here in their Historical Museum,
among tantalizing artifacts from the ten thousand years
since neolithic tribespersons, first denizens, perhaps,

settled within hiking range from where I am transfixed

by the vision of a perpetually evolving zeitgeist,
deriving impartially from its ephemeral protagonists,
proportional to their impacts, positives and negative,

altogether heedless of their wits and vital signs.


               

FROM THE SOLILOQUIES OF DEAD FATHERS


balmy night on a roof in Algiers
        In the end, the self is left unfinished.

shotgun seat of a prairie schooner
Illusion loiters at the back of the mind.          
                                Choices have long memories.

                         submerged city of Dunwich
                                 Politeness is the first form of politics.

                         Dublin pub
                                 The unenlightenable have a sociology.
                                 Truth and language await each other.
                                 Do not attempt to stare down a goat.

Mongolian, Bulgarian, Bermudan gusts
        It comes out of darkness telling a story.
        How idiomatic are the fallacies.
                                 We are descended, all, from pagans.         
                                 Civilization devolves also on the vapid.

hut beside a lagoon, a rice paddy, the Nile
                                 Whatever, it is the world.

                         subterranean strata of Delhi
                                  Everywhere there are clues.
                                  The earth wants to be left alone.

                         Black Hawk retreat from Madison Lakes
                                  The grounds of wisdom tremble.   
                                                                                        
       THE THIRTY-NINTH HUMAN SITUATION

1

Boston.
Waiting in his early thirties for a dental appointment.
Skimming an article on Greece. Peloponnesus.
Hotel Byron in Corinth. Wrote The Siege of Corinth.
Also a famous Greek partisan.
Interesting.

2

Later. Next day. And next.
Fantasizes of anniversary vacation in Corinth.
Discovers online other historic sites nearby.

3

Proposes trip to wife. She delighted.

4

Hotel Byron.
Taxing uphill stairs to entrance.
Park on waterfront, walk five minutes to hotel.
No lobby seating.
No elevators.
She pleased with the frugality.
He unaccountably elated.

5

Marble floors throughout.
Room comfortably plain.
He unsettled, he believes,  by the air,
puzzles over words for his feelings,
extravagant, erratic, satiric,
she exclaiming over the views of the sea,
of the night-lit fortress,
an orange tree in bloom near their window.

6

They visit Ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus,
she a genuine tourist, earnest, untiring,
taking snapshots for an album of their trip,
he tormented by images from his dreams,
fragments of amorphous, vacillating scenes
among licentious poets and decadent aristocrats,
he neither quite party to nor observer of
the romantic auras that surround them,
their erotic plights, their vain exploits.

7

They depart two days early.

8

Boston.
Each enlightened.

~Oliver Rice

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