Oliver Rice

From the Eras of Washington Square


Late in this abstract expressionist night

he roams the ambivalent streets,

pondering dialects of modernity,


wanders into Washington Square Park,

willfully possessed by Picasso-like reveries,

objective correlatives for his exclamations

in shapes, tones, textures, affinities, scapes,

instantaneities, contrarieties, autonomies,

sits on the nearest bench, electing to ignore

the shadowy figure at the other end,

to savor the quietude, the solitude.


“Nice evening,” says his neighbor.


Following some polite exchanges,

the stranger asks, “What do you do?”


“I’m a painter.”


Oh, you’re a painter. So am I.

What’s your name?”


“de Kooning. Who are you?”


“I am Rothko”

Earths Memory                 


From a tumultuous conception and incubation,

            she oblivious to the universe,

her intestines congenitally traumatized,


her physiognomy wracked, scarred,

denuded, submerged by restless waters,

she oblivious to all cause,


her exteriority incoherently stratified,

littered with the motes of all time,

residues of all death and destruction,

burrowed, excavated, blasted, drilled,

she impassive, insensate,

utterly true to her fundaments,


oblivious to all life forms,

Huck Finn and hydrangeas,

the Ford Foundation and yoga,


the Moonlight Sonata or Zeus,


Picasso’s blue period, lice,


the gold standard,



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.



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