Tag Archives: metaphors and similes

Regular Poem: Nevermore

30 Nov

it’s common enough
common is uncommon

what one sees daily
still holds

no solid definition

one sees hears a word
and the word is solid with meaning

but the description


there is no understanding

but i understand
and you understand

the understanding is



ds al fine
round and round and done

a tag


the pain of it
one to ten
ten to one

food and fury


ds al coda


she’s a good girl thinking bad things
i’m a bad girl thinking bad things
with her

coda tag eight bars and out


i don’t know the meaning
of a lot of words
i see and hear

but i see them and hear them
so often
that i pretend


quoth the raven

is a raven just
a black bird

or more


Regular Poem: Liminal Spaces

8 Oct

it’s one of those


that means something
and you know it in jolts and spasms but not in


you have to look it up every time
before you use it for real

but you think it
feel it
all the time


a corner to turn
and you double check the street sign as you do it

a door to open
and you double check the address as you do it

a pond to jump in
and you double check the depth as you do it


certain spaces are heavy dense

of something not themselves
but what they’ve been before
and what a sense of them is
or might be
or could be

a hot car on a rainy night
fog and shadows and smears of reflection
thoughts jittering and skittering

a rainy night four years ago
drunk and upset
same car
different roads
same person
different different same same

a rainy day ten years ago
same car
same smell
a passenger who said
it smells like mocha
maybe it did
maybe it does
maybe that’s just cheap leather seats and smoke and

surreal encounters
a wet sheen over everything
hazy and hopeful faint and foreboding and on the cusp of something


she and i
talk about a lot of things
but it always
sooner or later
turns to murder
theoretical hypothetical intellectual

an exercise of wits
but still

she knows

my preference is
(would be)
physical intimate
rage and release

i know

her preference is
(would be)
tactical efficient
clean and clinical

we run on parallel tracks
but one of us is freight the other passenger
i don’t know which is which
but the coal is burned the same


she and i
talk about a lot of things
but it always
sooner or later
turns to how brains work
how we think what we think when we think
of certain things we think of

i pry into her mind pick apart question analyze
her mind is such a mine
coal copper silver gold
all stunning and worth so much

if i could live in someone else’s brain for a day
to experience the cogs
to calibrate the gear ratios
it would be difficult to choose
i’ve known so many bizarre individuals
but i would ultimately choose her

it wouldn’t be as much of an adventure
so much as an equal and opposite force
we come to the same conclusions different ways
love the same things for subtly different reasons

a dining car on a train
a mess hall on a battleship


i wouldn’t know how
to exact revenge

i am a woman bound to temporality
i know the now
and have vague feelings about the then

sharp pangs of acute memory
encased in murky impressions
and then
a lightning flash of something stupid

i read an article once
about a woman who
survived a lightning strike because of the underwires in her bra

of course i don’t remember the details
the how and why

i remember deciduous and coniferous trees
i remember adverbial objectives
i remember bogs and fens
i remember a certain kiss

but i don’t remember all the specific slights

i exist in a temporal plane


joke’s on you
she laughs

she uses my phrases

we’ve come to be

i’ve always thought
in spite of myself
her hands were sexy

and now
even though we were meant to hate each other
even though they wanted us to somehow balance each other

see each other
match each other
protect each other
care for each other
know each other

love each other

we exchange words that express this
but we also
and more offen and importantly
exchange actions

i wouldn’t care to spend time in her brain
she ought to have something that’s hers alone

i don’t wonder how she thinks

i know

she’s smart
and thinks things i think and things i don’t

i simply
love her for all of it


i’ve been trying
to tell people

i’ve been trying
to show people

i love you
you’re worth something

i say to him
you can share the gospel
without sharing The Gospel
if you don’t cultivate a relationship

you have to care for and love a person for that person
to wonder about
the care and love inside you
where does that love come from
why do you care so much

he likes it
but it’s platitudes

i wish i could be as good as i sounded


it’s one of those


it’s one of those


i heard you want to buy a houseboat
she says
but that’s not here
she also says

perhaps she would miss me if i moved away

but that’s so fake and fantastical

it’s just
one of those things
that engenders that sort of reaction

it’s just one of those



dictionary definitions

i have a lot of feelings about dictionaries
i have a lot of feelings

i have a lot of words

i have a lot and so little

Regular Poem: Pipe Organ

1 Oct

a pipe organ:
the flaps open fully
the sound blasts
fills an auditorium
reverberates and resounds
vibrates against molars
sonic energy palpable in the pulmonary muscle, arteries, vesicles

open and breathing
breathing such wind
as to blow through
such pipes
yards tall
to the ceiling
every wall

i don’t know how it works

i know the fundamentals:
air and vacuums and
vessels air moves through to produce pitches

i don’t know how it works
but i know
it works

it works aesthetically thematically musically

i know who plays it
but i don’t know how

(the organist gave a concert
she didn’t play organ though
she played piano
she said
she didn’t want her glory to surpass His in our eyes
she merely
wanted to play music
that would induce us to praise Him
she also said
it was easy for her
her hands were so big
she could span an octave and a third without even stretching
so it was inevitable she would be proficient at keys)

the valves open
and the organ blows
its notes
the organist taps keys
and the organ organs itself somehow

but before that absolute fortissimo
the choir is mezzo forte
just a soft regular before

to be cliche
a calm before a storm
a humdrum before a THE MOST

“did you see all your shout-outs in the company newsletter” (2.5 compliments, to be precise) a coworker says
“yes,” i say, pensive, tentative, suspicious, “but
i’m wondering why everyone’s extolling my virtues
the coworker laughs, says,
“maybe because everyone’s been so shitty to you lately”

i laugh, baffled,

“but everyone’s been shitty to me for years; why should anyone like me now”

we all shrug
and laugh

“i feel as though i should print this out and get your autograph on it” another coworker says
she’s a coworker but not
similar frustrations
similar reprimands
different circumstances

same rage

we laugh
we scowl
we carry stress in our necks
get migraines in the same season
for the same but different reasons

i get a text
and then i make a call
“you’re a tough nut;
you’re so confident;
you know yourself”

it’s all the same validation:
so true and also
so useless

what i don’t say to all these people who believe in me
is that

this validation feels good
and right
and true


this validation
is valid


but fruitless nevertheless
i ought not
revel in these revelations
as soon as i feel good
people tell me i’m bad

we are a postmodern society
truth is meaningless

what is forte
if not tried against piano

the pipe organ blasts
but is it loud
if not compared to
when it doesn’t

Regular Poem: Is Your Unlikeability Holding You Back at Work?

13 Sep

these ads
i swear
how dare they

how dare they cut into me
with such a precise y-incision
hidden so easily beneath the blouse the mortician will slice in half and drape over my corpse

how dare they
see my insecurity of the week
and slap an attractive woman on it
just for spite

use my search history all you want
but stay away from my barely voiced anxiety
i beg you
a girl can take
only so much

“is your unlikeability holding you back at work?”

fuck you and the algorithmic psychic magic you rode in on

of course the answer is yes
but to my credit
my unlikeability holds me back everywhere

“you called me a
the other day” he says
“well it sounds like me but i don’t recall saying it”
“did you black out lmao” he says
“i talk constantly
i can’t remember everything i say”

“i know” he says “and you’re not subtle”
“i’m a loud bitch all the time
that’s why i can’t get anywhere in life”

this conversation
occurred way after this ad
but the ad is just so true
whether spoken or unspoken

a lot of versions of me exist
an infinite blinding stream of different same mes

earth 2 me is into bdsm
earth 17 me is a vegan health nut
earth 40 me is a nun

but even earth prime contains many mes
all the mes i am to myself
and all the mes i am to everyone else
all making the same jokes
with different people laughing or not laughing at them

“is your unlikeability holding you back in the theory of the multiverse?”

why shouldn’t it be

my unlikeability
is often my most memorable trait
so why shouldn’t it
carry over to any version of me

“i need you to be on your best behavior” she says
but there’s the rub right
all my behavior is pretty much the same
a baseline of
aggressiveness frivolity efficiency excitement excess

my best behavior
just isn’t the best
it’s not
nice enough
soft enough
accomodating enough
linear enough

i’m gaslighting myself
i really am as terrible as they all say
as evidenced by
memory 16b
intrusive thought 184
reaction 93 from trusted friend

“the way we grow is by self-reflection, taking responsibility” she says
i feel like a fucking kid as she lectures me
both because the things she’s saying are so basic and obvious
and because
my gut instinct is to protest that
those people who complain about me are just beyond stupid

what i actually say
is that once i’ve rubbed someone the wrong way
they’re rubbed that way forever
no right rubbing afterward is going to unrub them
because they’ve already decided
and they’ve already spoken
and they’ve already gotten me in trouble
no matter the severity of the initial offense
no matter the matter-of-fact apology i might issue

it’s not like i haven’t experienced it before
confronted myself
consulted myself
consulted others

and what i’ve ultimately concluded
is that we all sin and we all stutter and we all have flaws
but i’m so loud and visible
that some people just can’t forgive me the way they might forgive others
overlook me the way they might overlook others

i’m a hard woman
and an easy target

because who’s going to argue that i’m not hard

no one

it’s easy to believe i’m the way they say
the way they wrongly perceived
i’m not nice

i’m thoughtful
i’m pleasant
i’m funny
i’m truthful
i’m fair
i’m blunt
i’m sharp

but i’m not

and what i’ve ultimately concluded
is that it’s the devil

he wants me to feel this way
this bad way
this marginilized undermined mean unworthy
rather than the regular person i am

i’m a regular person
i have my own problems
why can’t people mind their business
and realize this
that their problems and my problems
are different and the same
and we’re all just trying to make a living
and also live
we’re all trying to just live

but of course
everyone reacts to stress differently
they made the best decision for themselves
and it happened to affect me adversely

they weren’t trying to hurt me

i wasn’t trying to hurt them

but we hurt each other

the difference is
(in my own fevered ruminations)
i was trying to ignore what i didn’t like about them
grow to like them eventually
give them a little room

but i don’t ever get any room
i’m not an acquired taste
just a taste you either like or don’t
black licorice cilantro quinine
it’s one strike for me

it’s the devil

when the sun’s shining but it’s still raining
they say
the devil’s beating his wife

i don’t remember getting married
but i’ve got plenty of bruises

Regular Poem: Masochist

1 Aug

it’s not that i like pain

it’s just so much more dramatic
to feel bad
a more interesting story
to end it in injury
a better punchline
to be the one punched

but maybe i do like pain
cherish it as a tool for sympathy
exert it as an implement for control

but maybe i do like pain
as a reminder of bad decisions
a delayed punishment
i inflict on myself

but maybe i do like pain
because it’s easier
to feel guilty
than to change

“i’ve been trying to write this poem for weeks
but it keeps getting tangled and stupid before it
comes out”
“maybe it’s the subject matter” she says
“you’re reacting to external factors you have no control over” she says about something else
but they go together
in my brain they go together
(because i want them to
but i think she means them to)

i’m listening to the old testament again
(when you listen to the Bible every day
genesis to revelation to genesis to revelation
[a duty a privelege {part of my daily walk that’s so lacking in so many areas}]
you find
there’s a lot of old testament
and there’s something new to that old every
and hosea was commanded
to marry a whore
(all very symbolic
[national identity, messsianic analogues, etc.]
of course)

but what was gomer thinking

did she love hosea
but kept getting drunk and re-downloading hebrew tinder
because she just couldn’t help herself

did she want to name her kids frederick and viola and robert
instead of
God sows and not pitied and not my people respectively

when hosea bought her back
did she barter for herself
hike up the price
play the odds

or did she know the whole time

did she know she was a metaphor
and did she like it
did she like the acts themselves
and the pain and shame and fun of them
knowing full well the ultimate
consummation and fulfillment of it all

did gomer know she was doing wrong
but that her wrong was a puzzle piece
a picture of the branch cut off but then grafted back in

or was gomer just an idiot asshole slut
who liked but didn’t like

Regular Poem: Pin-Up Girls

25 Jul

i never get a regular compliment

“you’re the most symmetrical woman i’ve ever seen”
“you’re giving off lynda carter wonder woman vibes”
“you can take a punch better than anyone i know”
“you’re so thug to me”
“you look like the kind of woman who knows how to sew”

“you look like the kind of woman who would be painted on the side of a bomber plane in wwii”

(that’s my favorite)

i never get a regular compliment
just bizarre comments on my clothes, my accessories
that definitely mean you were looking
at my body
but didn’t want to seem like it

“oh? you carry two phones?” (you were looking at my butt)
“i like the way you cuff your pants; do you have to wash your jeans inside out to preserve the color?” (you were looking at my legs and butt)
“you’re tanning well” (you were looking at my tits)

i never get a regular compliment

every partner
i’ve ever had
has insisted

on my nudity

whatever they’ve thought of me
i’ve been better
to them

girls boys whoever

the first thing they do

undress me

they think
this is how they
strip me
of my power
if i won’t be emotionally bare
at least i’ll be bare naked

but there they are

confronted by my body
the body they wanted
to strip
the body
that is still there
the body
they’ve thought about all along
not some fantasy body
but the body in some fantasy
they’ve had

(i gave a strip tease once
she said i smiled too much
but it was so silly
why wouldn’t i
smile? [also
i was happy
and i learned to dance
from busby berkeley numbers

i was wearing
red lace,

and when i was finally in her lap
she didn’t seem to mind)

he says face deep
and it’s jarring to hear
something so ordinary

i don’t want beautiful
i want something weird

i’m accustomed to

my locker at work is adorned
with bad poetry
animals i don’t like in costumes i do

when my dad was alive
he had displayed in his kitchen
a lawyer he didn’t like
in a


position (a place one might place
a pin-up; she wasn’t in thigh-high stockings or anything just
an advertisement with an
outdated portrait) as if
he really did
like her

because i did really
like her
or like the
idea of her

execute so many functions

a laugh a lark
but also

i’d totally bang that lawyer
i would not bang the rabbit in the nurse costume
but maybe if the lawyer wore the nurse costume…)

but mostly they remind you of things
i guess

not like a string tied around your finger
but like
that spot in your ribs
that warms up at certain thoughts

i’m a woman painted on a bomber plane
i’m an advertisement pinned to a corkboard
a poem taped to a locker
a body disrobed and mapped by eyes and fingertips

it’s not all exactly the same
but it’s not not the same

we’re all
looking and not looking
looking and pretending not to look
not looking and accidentally looking

clear coat nail polish
highlighting and glistening
and chipped the next day

tight pants

what if i did appear
in leather pants
one day

no one
would be able to
handle it
it’d be too close to nude

i never get a regular compliment

Regular Poem: Gold Standard

10 Jul

buying flowers online always
seems like a scam
the site is always
shifting and trembling
pixels appearing and disappearing
shudder shudder stock photo
stock photo with shitty photoshop ribbon announcing

Next Day Delivery!
Florist’s Choice!
Summer Delight!
Robot Catchphrase!

i throw my money anyway
bind it up on an arrow light the arrow on fire launch the arrow
you hear tell of money buried
in coffee cans
money under beds
money in washing machine basins
i have $200 cash in my wallet
and the rest tied up in shady electronic florists

we’re off the gold standard so who cares

“‘you wanna bang or nah'” she says i should say
“that would probably be ineffective” i say

but we’re off the gold standard so who cares

there is
shoulda woulda coulda
but all we can really work with is
did do gonna

on second thought ought is not
a perfectly good modal auxiliary
requires an infinitive to get its point across
is old-timey and wishy-washy
i love it though

i love you though

efficiency vs expediency vs functionality vs sentimentality
a cage match no one wins

are you an appositive or an adjective clause
do i know the difference anymore

i used to quiz myself
but now i’m too stupid for that
the older i get the stupider i get
or maybe

i’ve been acclimating myself to it for years

(i’m a piece of shit
and i live laugh love that

first it’s a faraway criticism
then it’s internalized
finally it’s an identity

i can’t say i’m happier
but i’m truer

(but that’s nonsense
true is an absolute adjective
an adjective that can’t be compared it’s either
true or not

[but where did i unearth that artifact
from my ancient storied past
{that grammatical ruin of a rule unpracticed and mostly forgotten except
in tales of gorgons and mermaids and me–
the me i am when i am
the mermaid of the year
and not just regular stupid me of tithes and tides}])

i don’t know how we got here

you say you know but i don’t really
believe you

we’re off the gold standard
and i wish i knew
what that really means

we’re off the gold standard
but i can’t believe you’re
not the gold standard
if the gold standard
means anything at all

do economics students forget as easily

who’s got the worst memory and the best

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