IN THE CUSTODY OF THE FOLK
The sixth car waiting for the light in his lane
is driven by a clerk of the court named Albert,
whose hair is beginning to gray.
He has a cowlick
just at the end of his part in the back,
a small dent in his right front fender,
and ascetic tendencies
as well as immoderately ethical views
of those who litter sociology.
Sometimes has afterthoughts like shattering glass.
Squints, owes his mother better,
does not dance.
In the other lane and up ahead
is a girl in a blue Ford sedan,
rather hefty, big bosomed,
who has miserable dreams,
a mother all sighs
and a father with a sour mouth
and feet on the coffee table.
This is not her necessary place.
She might go be a hedonist
or a figure skater or a beautician
or give a screech that, like a siren,
will not stop.
Ten cars behind her is a fellow in Texas boots.
On his radio a fiddler is hurting the tune.
He has a wife somewhere,
is part Cherokee, and is thinking he may get into the FBI
or go to Australia.
The west is all casinos now or ski resorts.
Be steady, he is saying. Never give up.
A nerve in his head reminds him of his brain,
which weighs three pounds, he has read.
Whose dog has infinite reasons to bark.
The old elm
has been pruned
with a ladder,
a chain saw,
and great care
in the shape of a cross,
for some time,
since it is now
in an extremely bedraggled condition,
part way to recovery
of its natural state.
OR AN EXTREME SELF
On the checklist of the inconceivable are:
a midlife crisis of a sparrow,
the horoscope of an astronaut,
a thinker’s day off,
the female principle,
the human average,
tablets containing the human agenda,
and of the conceivable are:
an impalpable dust settling on everything,
a saxophone seizing the night,
ironies out of the double helix,
a mask with eyes bulging inward,
a man teaching his son to be a fool,
the perfect center of a mirror,
a trait millennia back in the brain,
a new shadow on the earth,
a sociology of reciprocal predators.
Oliver Rice has received the Theodore Roethke Prize and thrice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Argentina, England, Austria, Turkey and India. His book of poems, "On Consenting To Be A Man", is offered by Cyberwit, a diversified publishing house in the cultural capital Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon.
His poems have appeared in Offcourse #39, Two Poems, #37, Three New Poems , #36, Of Frank Lloyd Wright and #34, Four Poems.