Aught, no. 14 (2005)

Maurice Oliver

"Call It A Mystery Novel" Sonnet

-Imagine a hotel room facing Niagara Falls.

-The mobs of tourist buses at stoplights.

-The cones of shaved ice in several colors.

-A balloon-seller wearing a beret.

-Or a blue sky you never dreamed possible.

-The shipped-in lobster claws on a platter.

-Twirling the weapon carelessly in his hand.

-Until the ringing phone begins to annoy him.

-Or a staggered scream echoing off granite cliffs.

-A deadly ball humming through an unfamiliar tune.

- Almost like the sound of a paper bag bursting.

-To leave only teeth & toes as clues.

-Like when summer becomes an all-consuming furnace.

-To wait until there's no longer a twitch.

-Or the flakes of plaster around ceiling lights.


Expect Some Harm

Nor sunning one's selves among the bald in hell.

A deserted playground at twilight. Counting the
stars that bless this voyage. Hands that get in
each other's way. A church bell ringing in some
foreign tongue. River bank or mud flat. Pines
that know they'll one day be homes. Until one
thinks of snow. "Safest is to follow the footpath
leading nowhere", she says, as her fingers trudge
through the hair on my chest...

a child's lost mitten
a snow cap seen through binoculars

Later, the man whistles for his dog.
Or a plastic ball napping in the weeds...

once a canal
until blue is the ragged wind

O come, memory, whose very name we forgot.

And pieces of the sky, that goes on falling
for several days.


& Not Without Adornment

Let's assume we agree the whole thing should
be in a minor key:

for argument's sake, we'll say B minor is best, only
because B can more easily pass for royalty and never
gets a five o'clock shadow. We'll let the strings
play my part so they'll never have to apologize for
being late. We'll re-write the score eliminating the
oboes completely. They sound fat & haven't had a real
job in years. The flute part can enter dressed
elegantly in black & prepared to flirt. On the other
hand, the cymbal should sit in a corner sipping wine
until someone approaches, acknowledging it by name.
Who else. Oh, the violins! They may want to consider
smiling through the performance & plan on sticking
around to pickup any programs left on the floor or
under the seats. You see, the whole idea is to find
a shaggiest middle-ground where the melody beguiles
spirit in a bow tie. We want the patrons to think
"much desired". Otherwise, they might dine forever
& if they choose this option, then they'll be stuck
with having to cling to their forks, just in case.


Copyright 2005, by the author. All rights reserved.
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