Red turns out to be a dreadful thing
hanging from an ornate lamppost   changing
into keys on a brass hook beside the door
arched in the sweet heels of possibilities
then hinged by the forces memory may alter
it tethers in the shade   at the lips of yes
where april appears in thin glints of light
seeing the works of the world in hard curbs
a brief exchnage is made by the pond
of inscriptions left open   to wade across.


Whisper stumbles awkwardly upon the ear
in a real landscape someone has invented
where aliens sweep down from painted skies
wearing hero smiles   edged in palest blue
they whoop   & poke   & harass a forest
sealed in approximate light   pine-scented
between colored stones that have no value
the monkey is allowed to speak in its place
while acrobats reappear by the letter "B"
to perform before viewers   all expendable.


The normal dream includes bruised things
as events are conveyed by a spirit shuttle
firmly glued together   in rows on strips
with all accounted for   except pure purple
excused briefly for a red raw storm or worst
as chairs grow from the floor   missing arms
along with a wooden table of varying dents
where an orange peel lies   in resignation
as the accelerator presses to full-steam ahead
in a recklessly dangerous response to movement.


By playing slow the music remains in place
fixed between an arch   meant to be erased
it is propped-up by a winged figure in tails
after being pressed to the vinyl disc of now
on an elbow   vintage from the wrist down
the tune blossoms into a three-quarter note
sparking polite applause from the gardenias
& is scaled-down to fit any shirt pocket
in a vertical form that also measures tilt
& accurately accesses any head movement too.


Life licks its small box adrift over dresden
and suddenly everything mushrooms after that
as motormouth shatters each known adjective
in clouded words that stain the lining of love
dressed in the wrong costume for the occasion
before a cast of real people cut from magazines
li list culprits   in tiny bubbles of spit
at two separate acts followed by intermission
then finally the postcard from nowhere arrives
to replace the horizon after just one take.

            Maurice Oliver 2004