Tag Archives: metaphors and similes

Regular Poem: Perpetually Training to be the Middleweight Champion of 1944

8 Mar

A sequel to TKO in the 4th

You’re packing
quite the wallop today, toots.

She says
leaning against the doorjamb
idly adjusting her seams.

I’d let you see firsthand
if you got out of those stockings
and put your money where your mouth is.

Jab, hook.

In a blink
she’s sashayed over
with a scowl on her painted face.

I’ll do you but good
pumps and all.

I laugh
and there’s a lot of twist
in my torso,
land a left cross
(I’m not a southpaw
but I dabble).

The truth is
I haven’t seen her
in a while,
haven’t needed to.
I’ve taken to
reciting states and capitals
instead of fantasizing.
I don’t know
if that’s a win or a loss.

But I ran into her again today–
that is I finally agreed
to meet up with her again.

(I’ve been running into her a lot–
just in the hallway, in the elevator, passing in the breakroom,
when the siren screams for shift change–
she passes me a note,
gives me a glance,
whispers so only I can hear.

I finally capitulated.
I told her so.

she said.
Probably learned that word in charm school.
But fancy ain’t gonna get you too far tonight.

I’m faster
or perhaps
less slow–
been practicing my shuffe,
exhaling at just the right moment.

Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, shuffle back.
I look over,
and she looks a little impressed, but
then the grizzled old dockworker
is there, too,
cigar in his mouth,
smoke and sarcasm billowing:

Your parents wasted their money
on that charm school.
Didn’t even teach you how to dance.

My feet get lighter,
but my arms are stiffer.

Jab, cross.
Jab, cross.

I know I’m thinking too much.
He cocks his head to one side.

Punch like you’re
punching something
instead of like
you’re pretending
to punch something.

He’s right.
I have no follow-through, no follow-up.

Hook, hook,
uppercut, uppercut,
shuffle back.

He steps up to the bag,
inspects it,
turns to me with an
old-guy twinkle in his eyes.

You know this thing
don’t have hair, right?
No reason to have some
sissy slap fight with it.

You’ve obviously never
had your hair pulled.

I say (or perhaps
she says),
shoving the feminist rage
into my pocket for later.
It ain’t no joke.

And it isn’t,
but he laughs anyway.

And my face–her face–is melting;
the lipstick is gone,
the mascara is pretending to be black eyes, but
we know it’s not that
because sweat is saltier
than tears,
and who has time for tears
when you’ve got
a heavy bag in your garage?

Regular Poem: Fantasy on Garage Cat

19 Jan

current impetus for self-loathing:
garage cat

she’s nuts
and i’m nuts
we’re all nuts
except the dog
she seems to be holding up all right
but dogs are hearty stupid creatures
idiotically loving and joyful
happy to chew on a piece of bark for hours
or just stare adoringly at you
until you say something to them
will do
and the tail wags and the eyes are alert
and whatever you’ve said
the dog heard
i love you we’re going on a car ride

cats have too much pathos
for their own good
for anyone’s own good
some subtle shift
in the wind or cat hormones
sends them on a sentimental journey
except with less saxophone and Doris Day’s mellifluous alto crooning
and more
pee everywhere
mournful yowling at nothing

she might as well
be dressed in a silk robe
smoking a cigarette
sloshing her bourbon
as she gesticulates a little too forcefully
accusing me of cheating on her

i haven’t even looked at another cat
i swear on my mother’s grave

your mother isn’t dead
you two-timing so-and-so
she says dangerously close to my face
i can feel the sizzle of the slap before it happens
and it doesn’t happen but i still feel it
and she turns
to pace and pounce
to wait and play games
to goad me
until i’m in my own silk robe
screaming and pleading
and i swear she’s smirking

am i george or martha in
who’s afraid of virginia woolf
there’s no way to know

all my clothes are out on the lawn
the next morning
the locks are changed
you mighta took my car keys
but you forgot about my old john deere

and i mow and mow
and now
she’s garage cat
and i hate everything

Regular Poem: The Arpeggio Conspiracy

30 Apr

an arpeggio’s
an arpeggio
they’re all the same
except they’re not of course
especially when
one of them
is so ugly

so ugly
it’s arresting
in its ugliness
and you look at the sheet music
and the chord it’s
ripped up and scattered from
isn’t ugly–
just regular–
not even like a suspended fourth
or anything

it’s ugly
like the drone string
on a perpetually out of tune
appalachian instrument

or perhaps more accurately
it’s ugly
like a transmission
that won’t shift
to the next gear
without a lot of
complaining about it

it’s like
watching a wobbly ceiling fan
and wondering
when the whole unit will just
fall on your head
and put you out of your misery

it’s either
too fast or too slow
this ugly arpeggio
and lilting and limping
into and out of chords
like a drunk with a bum leg
and it sets your teeth
to grinding
like when you have an aversion
to a certain tactile texture
except this is a sound texture
and it goes on
for measures and measures and measures
sometimes the whole song
it’s there
bubbling beneath the rest of the accompaniment
swirling and bouncing and tickling
your gut
as though it’s seeped in
through your ear canal and somehow
punched its way all the way down
and is now clawing to get out again

and you look around
with your neck stiff from
the anxiety of it
and either everybody else
has a better poker face than you
or it’s not as ugly as you think

but it is that ugly
it’s so ugly

and you have a thought
that this ugly arpeggio
is gaslighting you
you don’t know how
but you know
if any insentient thing
could make you think you were crazy
for fun and/or profit
it would be an arpeggio

Regular Poem: The Clothes May or May Not Make the Person (II)

24 Apr

I’ve always been
this way.

It seems to become
more intricate
as I age–
as I gain
more insight into
and other
equally bizarre

I had a hat
I always wore when I played Clue.
It was my detective hat–
some tweed fedora affair,
and never worn
at any other time,
thrown on
as an 11th-hour accessory
when the occasion arose–
kept in a specific and secure
But now

I cull pieces
and rearrange
push together and pull apart
for every attitude
is a good word
and so is
fits better:
It’s assembled
or disassembled
from parts
meaningless on their own
ambiguous in the laundry
taking on
new connotations
new shades
old connotations
old shades
different connations
different shades


The same
is suddenly

the attitude
outfitted costumed
in a different

that ensemble
merges those
disparate pieces

a solution–
the solute
the individual article,
the solvent
the character
(or proto-character
for it is unformed
until each molecule 
rests squarely on
the one beneath it).

Or perhaps
the solution
is more mathematical
than chemical
and solves for x
and the x is
how to walk
how to talk
what to do
where to go
how to

I try
not to forget
what manner of woman
I am
and could be
should be
have been
am being.

Clothes never forget–
they may obscure
they may suggest
they may thread ideas
they may weave accounts
they may and
they may not
and they sometimes
what I tell them.

Regular Poem: There’s Plenty

23 Apr

there’s plenty
to be said about
a full moon

but a waxing gibbous
has its charms

a yearning
an expectation

and a waning gibbous
that hint
of loss and regret

and even a new moon
is sexy
with enough fog
on those nights
you can see an outline
a shadow of a shadow
a silhouette
of the moon dressing
behind her chinese curtain

and in a few days
there’ll be enough of a crescent
to call it a first quarter
and the name sounds too much like football
just like gibbous sounds too much like a monkey
the moon phases
ought to be called
by gemstones
or greek gods
or old movie stars
or even mathematical theories
sexy and mysterious
and flowing off the tongue
like an ancient language
mystical and gutteral and silky
a velvet evening
in soft rays and whispers and muted trumpet
or the sensual scratch
on the low strings of a violin
that never see much action
except in saint-saens concertos
and reverberate in your gut
and make your hair stand up
in excitement and longing
for something you wouldn’t even want to name
as the longing
is a restless desire
and exciting because it is unnamed and unknown

a full moon
is only
for a few minutes
after all

and it dances from waxing to waning
in a day or so
pulls veil after veil
aligns fan after fan
always hiding and revealing
a burlesque
a tease

even when it’s full
one hundred percent illumination
there’s always the side you can’t see
will never see
that’s her real ace

there’s plenty
to be said about the dark side
of the moon

but all of it
is supposition
rumor hearsay gossip myth
romantic notions
and grand tales
metaphor and magic
a few people
have been there
but none of them were me
i wouldn’t want to go
i prefer the intrigue
i refuse to even do the
tennis ball and lamp experiment
for fear of losing mystique
and wonder
don’t you just love wonder
a good mystery
is only as good as the investigation

there’s plenty
to be said about the moon
and there’s plenty
not to be said

Regular Poem: Games For One

22 Apr

It’s a game
with no winner
just a game
playing to play
itself out–
that last screen
on computer solitaire
where you win
and the cards
they’ll fly from
their neat digital stacks
as long as you’ll let them
until you click new game
and start again.
No one remembers
a specific game
of computer solitaire–
it’s all
just black and red and numb
no home runs
no shooting the moon
no 11th-hour three pointers
no reusing the same ridiculous drawing for several rounds in Pictionary.

It’s a prank
the brain plays
on itself
like tp-ing
your own yard

to have a dream
that haunts
that melds elements
in such a bizarre way
as to
linger and color
your entire day–
a tattoo
you didn’t conciously choose.

Regular Poem: I Haven’t Been Feeling Like Myself Lately

17 Apr

but who even is this
i’m always claiming
not to feel like

the more i think about it
the more it just kind of
seems like a convenient lie
a shorthand
that surely someone
although that someone isn’t me
or even the me i allegedly no longer feel like

maybe she never existed
and the thing i don’t feel like
is something
i’ve never felt like
a ghost
of a person who never lived

i didn’t kill her off
in a drunken rage on my sailboat
after prom four years ago
my old pals who attended the party aren’t covering up the accidental murder
because of fear and hush money

i didn’t steal her haircut
and her credit cards
and her boyfriend
and masquerade as her for a while
until her nosy sister came snooping around

no she is me
on a rainy day
coughing into a dainty white handkerchief
talking to herself
in a southern accent
feeling romantic
and restless
about nothing
but the moisture in the air
and the amalgamataion of vaguely glamorous clothes we’ve somehow decided to put on
feeling like a character
rather than a person

i’ve never had an out of body experience
unless you count every day
thinking i feel different
when i probably
just feel miserably the same

i’ve said it so many times
“only boring people get bored”
and of course i’ve always meant it
i always mean what i say
in some kind of way anyway
but that was because i’d never been bored
but now i always am
bored that is
but i still believe it

maybe i used to be
not so boring
just as sad
just as angry
just as excitable
just as romantic about nothing
just not so old
and boring

i compensate
like any good boring girl who used to not be so boring
indulge myself
in any
that might prove
not so boring
spin a tale
to sound
like an adventure
any adventure

any adventure will do
i think
to bring her back
but did she ever adventure
or is that the current me
remembering a false memory

maybe i’ve always been just as
and just as

maybe i’ve just
had different thoughts
to think
and those made
the same feelings

ain’t my hair still curly
and my eyes still blue

i laugh at myself
and the classic country lyrics
flitting through my half atrophied brain
surely i used to have better
thought exercises
i haven’t diagrammed a sentence in months
haven’t analyzed anything
found symbols and motifs

do i even remember
the fifty cent words
i used to know and love

i hardly remember

i hardly remember how
to be the person
i might have been

some people do though
i ran into some people today
and they had known me
and i remain
their favorite
quasi intellectual
i ammend for the sake of my own pride
but there is no ammendment
for them

i don’t presume to know their thoughts
but they look at me the same
and talk to me the same
and defer to me the same
they respect and love me
for who i am
whatever that is
or whatever that
used to be
when they saw me last
and loved me last

it’s weird
not feeling like the person
who may or may not have existed
that may or may not used to be

and it’s weirder
you seem similar enough

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