Oliver Rice


Now, as to the persistence of matter,
its elements — adamantly discrete,

as displayed on the periodic table —
and their properties,
Here are indicative drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.
They are replete, as you may perceive,
with implicit exclamations.


You may concur with Leonardo's insinuations
that the particles of materiality,
profoundly detached,
are yet indiscriminately inclined to merge,
as happenstance and affinities occur,
which Leo devoutly represents
in charcoal, chalk, and ink —
cathedral domes,
the tendrils of flowers,
the inner and outer anatomy of man,
scissors, a machine gun,
clouds, rocks, forests.

As all substance apparently bonded,
a superorb,
before hurtling apart in the Big Bang,


the ultimate instance of the fatal flaw **
innate in every compounding of elements —
a compulsion to disintegrate,
decay, erode, dissolve,

latent in Leo's every stroke,
the wilting and rotting of lilies,
the decline and demise of swans,
the wasting of pigments.


Cycles vastly suggestive of perpetuity.
Eh, Big Science?

** The Japanese, you may know,
    say a thing to be beautiful
    must contain a small imperfection.

** The Hindus, you may know,
    say without a spot of filth
    the soul cannot cohere.

** And remember Shiva.






Here in midmind, Justice, Your Honor,


ruminating on the politics of mating,

on the appreciation of our equities,


we sense, Justice, Your Honor,

that we are incessantly monitored,

randomly prompted, ambiguously rebuked

by overmind, by undermind,


gliding down over the tin roofs of Freetown,

exploring a cave at Altamira,


telling stories of spite and yearning

in the partners' dining room,

in the homeless shelter,


walking the evening streets.

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 United States, as well as in Canada, England, Austria, Turkey, and India. His book of poems, On Consenting to Be a Man, has been introduced by Cyberwit, a diversified publishing house in the cultural capital Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Alice Friman

Elvira Bennet

Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Cliff Bernier

Nancy Naomi Carlson

Michael C. Davis

Brent Fisk

Martin Galvin

Taylor Graham

John Grey

Clarinda Harriss

Nellie Hill

David Hornibrook

Jacqueline Jules

Rose Kelleher

Robert S. King

Ann Knox

Judy Kronenfeld

Lyn Lifshin

Diane Lockward

Donal Mahoney

Laura Manuelidis

Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely

Julie L. Moore

Judith S. Offer

Roger Pfingston

Oliver Rice

Lynda Self

Ellen Steinbaum

Karen J. Weyant

Edwin Zimmerman














Last Updated: Mar 10, 2021 - 2:35:35 PM

Copyright 2005 - 2021 Cook Communication.