Saturday 3 June 2023

Three Poems by John Harold Olson


Shore Patrol


I  gather Swee’pea was 

Olive Oyl’s  baby with Bluto.

This would explain Bluto’s rage

When he came around and found Popeye.


Could be a nice life, I thought.

Ships with swept down planks, 


Navy beans

Popeye  shuffling over to see Olive, Swee’pea and Gramps whenever he felt like it.


The Bluto shows, like a drunk dad, and brings hell with him.

Popeye, turned into a human windmill,  

can’t quite

Reach the can of spinach in his pants.


Let’s all sit down.

Bluto, you’re under arrest.

Olive, you can’t have both 

Popeye and Bluto.


Popeye, you’re coming too, because

You don’t have a pass.

Gramps, he’s terrified. Someone go 

Get the old man out of the sun.


Swee’pea, you’re going with 

The Shore Patrol lady.


Now, everyone just calm the fuck down.



El Cajon Boulevard


Evening at Campus Plaza

purple, aqua and pink neon,

ocean balminess

bean and cheese burrito,

what else?

Laundromat you could bowl in.

Made of wreck of my life.

Not drunk, nor a gambler or

a junkie.

Just me and my choices.

Shiny stuff 

and I follow

the pinwheel off the edge of

Queen Isabella’s map,

where the dragons are.

But, it’s alright.

Trust me on this.

God wears overalls

And motions for you to help

hoe the melon patch.



Cornelia and Portia


“Why was there 

such intense precognition in Ancient Rome?”

                                                       -a traveller


She looked at her man just down for the table. 

Seated, head in hands, elbows on table where there was only a pitcher and tumbler of cool water.

The howling dogs were not menacing him,

no, he was tired and worried. She knew at a glance. 

“You look,” Cornelia said, “like your own son.” He smiled like Sol in the old days.

“Don’t go in, Gaius. I saw it all in my dream.”


In the same neighbourhood, on the other side of the Palatine,

Brutus considered his own dream. And he didn’t make it out of that one either. The sky churned like molten lead.

“Didn’t we talk about your secrets in another poem?” Portia came near, but took care to be clear of, her husband.

Brutus spoke as if chatting over a garden wall.

“There was a time when your concern

was sweetness. But things run their course,

break down,

become a rotten fish on the shore. 

Full of stones and shunned by the gulls. (Suddenly)

“Portia, stay in,

Stay in today.”

“Of course,” Portia said, almost sickened 

by what she divined.  

“Don’t go,” she countered. “Stay in. Don’t tempt the Ides of March. 


He raised his eyebrows. 

“It is too late,” Brutus said , leaving.

John Harold Olson - Is a retired Special Education teacher in Las Vegas. Transitioning to being a hospice volunteer.



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