Tag Archives: metaphors and similes

Regular Poem: Throwing a Rug Over It

18 Sep

i’ve been throwing a rug over it
for years
literally years
all the chances to fix it
fell through
all the windfalls
burned up in emergency vet bills
all the months i could’ve saved
i went to the casino instead

i’ve been avoiding it for months
keeping a quart of oil in my trunk
to slosh accidentally onto my
black patent leather pumps already late to church

i’ve been using a different mirror for weeks
the light fixture barely worked in the first place
half of it crapped out years ago
but an electrician would take one look
at my hobbled together ’50s diy circuitry
and give me a million dollar estimate
and i’d rather use a different mirror
and go to the casino

i make my bed
i sort my mail
i floss my teeth
i pick out my clothes for tomorrow the night before

easy
small
ritual
order
agency

if the train moves forward
always forward
always on the rails
always the same direction
all the cars go too

if the ship is sinking but can limp home
you throw stuff out
barebones
keep the sails up
prayer and fasting prayer and fasting

ignore tolerate hope
grin bear it
longsuffering forebearing

agency
order
ritual
small
easy

i run the dishwasher
i make my lunch for tomorrow
i vacuum
i keep fresh flowers on the dining room table
i set my alarm

and i don’t wake up the next morning
a different person in a different house in a different life

i know because
there’s that rug over that ruined parquet
there’s that change engine oil light
there’s that lightswitch that switches on nothing
and
there are those clothes i picked out that lunch i packed that same
face in that alternate mirror

time and money slip through fingers
dreams and ambitions slip just as easily
one foot in the grave the other
on a banana peel

so i’ve been throwing a rug over it
for years

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Regular Poem: A Rosebush for Emily 

10 Jul

there’s a moth
that nests in walnut trees
makes a web
in which its numerous young cycle through
their nascence and adolescense
and then sneak out in adulthood
leaving entire braches
silken and draping and drooping
with gauze-covered crispy vacated cocoons
the tree is no worse for it
but it has a look about it

it has a look about it
like the brick wall of a house
overgrown with ivy
the same ivy creeping
all the way around back
up the porch
engulfing like lava
slow and steady and so much

it has a look about it
like dead honeysuckle
which is itself
like a tumbleweed that doesn’t tumble
just a sad carcass on a wooden fence
instead of a ghostly drifter on a forgotten highway

it has a look about it
like a gnarly rose bush
all briar and no beauty
the red seeping out of the flowers
into the vine
or maybe the blood of its victims
pricked on its cacophony of thorns

it has a look about it
like rusty lawn ornaments
and gutters full of accidental compost
and faded furniture
and dust on tile

it has a look about it
of abundance then neglect then decay

it has a look about it

but those moths never hurt anybody

it has a look about it
but don’t we all

Regular Poem: MVP: Mystery Soprano

25 Apr

there’s this verdi aria
i’m into right now

it’s so athletic

every time i hear it
i imagine the soprano
in tennis clothes–
you know
the visor and skort and sweatbands and all–
i don’t know what she’s singing about
(love, murder, or masquerade balls
if i know anything about opera
which i don’t)
don’t even know what opera
it’s from
don’t care

i just like hearing
her voice leap and hurdle
and put shot
volley and backhand
make a lay up

in my translation
she’s shit-talking her opponents
making grandiose claims
about her prowess
following through with those claims

she spikes it over the net
celebrates her victory
with a chest bump
gets gatorade poured on her head

there’s also a section
that’s like
the slow motion play back
of the winning touchdown
where she shows off her low register
and it’s just
that growl she does
on her lowest note
is her game face
you don’t even have to see it to know it

you know it’s serious
when a soprano
takes a dive

the whole thing
is just a feat
i’d be so tired just
looking at the sheet music

but i bet she’s got another two acts
before she gets to towel off
and hit the showers

Regular Poem: Myths and Legends

16 Apr

a good cry
is a myth
or maybe a legend

i’ve had a lot of cries
all dissatisfying

i cry
and i want to cry more
or

i cry
and i want to throw somebody
off a building
take a chainsaw
to somebody’s BMW
storm into a wedding and
pitch the cake into
the pinterest birdhouse card receptacle
call my congressman and deliver a long diatribe
take a nap

i’m never
cried out
and it never
is cathartic

but maybe it’s just not
within the capabilities of my personality

crying turns out
to just be another way
to rile myself up
my tears are vinegar
my face baking soda
and it’s all just a third grade volcano
the science fair
gives me a participation ribbon
sends me home until next year

crying in the shower
is all right
but that’s probably
more to do with steam
the cleansing of sinuses and skin
that transfers accidentally to soul

crying in the car
almost always a terrible idea

while somebody strokes your hair
and tells you you’re justified
really the only way to go
but that’s a luxury not often available

while you punch your heavy bag
8/10 recommend
can get messy, turn into
drinking a little too much bourbon afterward
but much better than standing over
raw chicken you’re trying to freezer package in individual servings

overall
a good cry is a myth
a necessary cry–
an overflow of garbage feelings
that manifests
sometimes while you’re taking a sledgehammer
to a shop vac that doesn’t achieve ample suction–
is
well
sometimes
necessary

Regular Poem: In Medias Res

12 Apr

They say
good stories
start
in medias res.

Almost all stories in real life
do.
You’re talking
to somebody you’ve just met,
and she’s telling you
about Brian
and the dog track,
and you don’t interrupt
to inquire about the identity
of Brian,
the location
of the dog track.

You listen with your binoculars
and telephoto lens
in your ’90s Firebird
on the stake out in your mind,
spilling stale brain coffee on yourself
as you investigate, put the pieces
of this person’s puzzle
together.

It’s even better
when the story has a lot of exposition
but the kind that only adds to the mystery.

She’s telling you something about Brian
and the dog track
when suddenly she’s
also telling you

every detail
about why the dog track
is no longer operable
and why it was not converted
into a casino.
There are dates and figures
and conspiracy theories.
You still don’t know
who Brian is.
Or how all these loose ends
will ultimately be woven
into cohesion.

In the Law and Order
episode in your mind
where you’ve moved on from the
stake out scene
to the interrogation scene,
you’ve got her behind a two-way mirror, and she’s spilling, and
you’re waiting.

But it’s not like that.
Not really.

The assistant district attorney never
shows up.
You flip the channel
before the concluding
court scene.

You leave
with a piece of somebody–
that piece
perpetually
in medias res–
somebody somehow decided
to bestow upon you.
And you also know
a lot more
about the dog track.
Wherever it is.
And you still don’t know
who Brian is.

Regular Poem: nothing to say

9 Apr

i don’t even have
anything to say about it

sometimes
it’s all clawing its way out
violent and heaving
vomitting ideas and sounds
the dog of me
returning and returning
to that vomit

sometimes
the metaphors
are condensation on a glass
the similes
like a magician’s scarves
seemingly infinite

but i’m just broke and broken
pissed off and pissed on

daydreaming about destruction
and escape
fights i can win
minds i can lose
skins i can shed
towns i can skip

no specifics just blurs
through streaked mascara
and streaks of blurred lipstick
my hair leaves
as i drive away
with my top down

Regular Poem: On This Edition of Hangover, Migraine, or That Weird Illness That’s Going Around at Work

8 Apr

It’s the worst game show
for so many reasons.

For one,
all of them can turn into each other–
so many similar causes and effects and symptoms is what
makes the game worth playing,
after all–
at any moment
under the right circumstances
under the right wrong moon
like a werewolf
who can transition at will
at the small price
of her sanity.
Even if you have the right answer
it could be the wrong answer
the next second.

For two,
it’s so depressing
buzzing in–
and the buzzer
hurts your ears and
eyes
somehow–
and knowing that
you’ve at least partially or probably fully
caused it yourself
and whatever it is
may or may not dissipate
before you do something
that might cause the next thing
or force the current thing
into being the next thing.

And for three,
even if
by some miracle
you guess exactly right
in exactly the right instant
lock in your answer
make your final jeopardy wager
and you win,

you do not win.
Everyone loses this game.
Even the house.
Especially the house.

Book 'Em, Jan O

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