October 23-29, 2000: Robert M Oliva and Lisa A Smith


week of October 23-29, 2000

Robert M Oliva and Lisa A Smith

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Robert M Oliva

Bio (auto)

I’ve been writing poems for a few years (mid-life crisis?) I wrote poetry as a young man in the 60s and 70s but got distracted with careers and family and other things But once I passed fifty it seemed that my creative sense reemerged, in fact, it exploded I’ve had a number of poems published on the web at Pale Forest, Sea Cove, The Writer’s Corner, etc I’m a resident of Floral Park, Long Island in New York State I’m married (29 years) with two sons As a professional, I am a director of the counseling center at Brooklyn College and I’m studying to be a traditional naturopath (talk about life crises).

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Robert M Oliva and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Visit

It was the god of the earth, not of the sky, 
That pierced your parched ghost,
Trodding bones and lost skull dreams,
Meandering in nearly forgotten, lingering memories

Mom told me you appeared in Florida
During the evening news at twilight,
Not dreary, but speechless,
A mere presence, anointed

It was the hiss of modern times that left you transparent,
Neglected in the bedroom corner, an unearthed root
Exposed to ambivalence, limited by the portals of disbelief
She said only that you stared, without reproach, 
Looking curved and wobbly, but unaffected, 
Standing as you always had, touching the earth, 
Dry and drought stricken,
But softer now than she remembered you
It was the lost tongue of ignorance that spoke to you, 
Demanding love’s lost hunger, relinquished
To hollow appetites hidden within judgment’s view

I wondered if you would visit New York
To see your grandkids, to hover over your beloved
’91 Chevy Cavalier, obsess over postal hieroglyphics,
Remembering Lower East Side pizza,
Touting the souls of Verdi, Pavarotti, and Rossini, 
To sit in Renaissance simplicity in Glendale, Queens,
Drawn to the pasta fagoli left simmering in the kitchen.

Post-Brunch Poem (after eating steak fries and hash)

Alan Ginsburg dances on his father’s bones
We sit with muffled sighs under ancient picnic umbrellas,
My blistered hand fleeing your affection, 
Seeking instead a ticket to the Pure Land, to Jesus pointing
To the white pearls of basement walls, 
I Jump the Express to Thailand, waiting…

Livia’s bony finger pokes the dead cheeks of her divine Augustus
I am your consort, your betrayer,
Our love’s illusion sticking in the throat poems of Ferlinghetti, 
I migrate through your memories circa 1957, to beat Zen, 
To Freudian hobgoblins beyond the sunsets of mind,
I allow you to become a sandless beach, waiting…

Buddha lifts a dusty finger, pointing toward the moon
Our ghosts languor like soul-less dancers, poised,
Chanting the whispers of naked opportunities lost I dream dreams of you in holy unconscious worship, longing,
Searching through Asian landscapes, 
I seek you in a wilderness of shadows, waiting…

A Story of Mishap and Possibility

Nude horizons blanket Socratic discussions of life’s
Transience as you gulp down soggy Cherrios
In home made ceramic bowls…always looking for
Virgin distractions, deflections that move
Along a narrow ledge peering downward, 
Catapulting the caress of love toward a distant
And inarticulate fantasy
You came to tell me about

.Stories of infidelity

But you digress, as the night/day
Callously moves forward
The history of a kiss dawdles like a fraudulent
Autumn rose…a Faustian bargain of Longing
We look to the sky, constrained Hadn’t you said today was a new day, a new hope
But we clutch blindly, sitting and waiting for Liberation, 
A quantum leap, a geometric progression into love’s poverty
Now you’re fixing the wrinkled bed sheets, 
Speaking alchemical syntax reserved for tribal shamans
The floor boards squeak with the longing of love entangled
We gravitate upward not expecting
The sweet aroma of gentleness sweeping through
The cracks of perception and awe, 
Pulverizing our triviality, uniting our breath
In silence and touch.

Lisa A Smith

Bio (auto)

Lisa was born in raised in New York City, now hails from the Boston area, and she still stubbornly refuses to lose her NY accent Lisa wrote her first “story” at the age of 10, and has been writing on and off ever since She is currently published in both The Red River Review and Lovewords literary magazines She writes in her spare time in a brokerage firm (no small feat) and loves reading both Sylvia Plath and Charles Bukowski.

The following work is Copyright © 2000, and owned by Lisa A Smith and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Loss In the 3rd Month

I still recollect
the poignant sharpness
of that telling pain
the warmth behind my eyes
how I folded up inside
betrayed by my own body
I bled in my 3rd month

The empty red vessel inside me
open wide pulsating
wound and aching hollow
vacant space
inanimate puddle
of bloody loss
between my feet

You didn’t cry
you couldn’t mourn for what
was conceptual to you
a shadow on a
computer screen
the sound of a
galloping horse

While I laid there
in catatonia
your eyes were dry
you held my
frigid hands
and soothed to me
how we could
have another

Your indifference
angered and
astonished me
my hate for you
at that moment
as raw and
as crimson
as the
blood stained linoleum
on my bathroom floor

Babies Breath

Your room was an ocean of flowers

In your wedding picture
daisies decorated your dress
and wedding guests

Your walls were abloom
with pink cabbage roses
and summer green ferns

Scents of English gardens
permeated the room from
your crystal perfume bottles

Fresh cut freesia, daffodils,
lavender your constant
vase laden companions

You slept each night
upon rose oil scented
sheets under a Queen Anne’s
lace coverlet

Outside of your blossom
abundant bedroom
your babies barely
kept their breaths

Your children were
the barren stems
that never bore fruit
or blossoms

You withheld moisture
in the form of kisses
that barely brushed
parched lips

they would yearn
on thin legs towards
your warm arms
but you would rotate
yourself away from them
till they were in
cold shadows

you would walk
over glass for the
perfect hothouse orchid
while the seeds of
your own womb
into certain madness
under your careless
green hands

Shocking The Tourists

Sleepy sea salt mornings
when we lived in the little
matchbox apartment
on the beach

our bed positioned
under the bay window
I would put my
head against the screen
as we made love
to feel the sun on my face
smiling to each other
as we shocked the tourists

we would sit on the sea wall
during hurricane season
drinking cheap wine coolers
and daring the waves to take us
dripping wet and sharing
a smoke, we talked about
the house we would
someday have and the
children that would one
day fill that house

but eventually we stopped
making love on in the mornings
(or ever)
the hurricanes suddenly
seemed to storm inside of us
coming out in raging
words that would crash
upon my ears
then your careless
flirtations with your bank
teller melted in the sun
into something more

I packed everything that
was yours alone in
plastic garbage bags
and as you can up the walk
that final night
I opened the bay window
and shocked the tourists
one last time as I tossed
your belongings at you
out of the window
where they lay
like large black
at your feet



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