Category Archives: Metaphor

If I Were Water and You Were Air

The Prompt: For this week’s writing challenge, take on the theme of H2O. What does it mean to be the same thing, in different forms?
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If I Were Water and You Were Air

I used to be restless water—
only the froth and currents
of a moving life.

Now I am still water,
sinking down to where
I can be found
by anyone willing to stand quietly
and look.

Is it true that moving water never freezes?
Is it true that still waters run deep?
Is it true that we are wed in steam?

“What if, caught by air,
it never lets me go?” I ask.

“But even water
turned to air
must fall at last,” you say.

“And what if I fall farther from you?”
I say. “Or what if I never again find banks
that open to contain me?”

I used to be swift flowing water.
Now I am a pool that sinks me deeper every year.
So deep, so deep I sink
that on its way to find me,
even air may lose its way.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/ice-water-steam/

Two Poems from a Night with No Moon

This Night is Broken

With all of its sounds
spilled out,
someone else’s sounds
echo around it.

The space inside of it
is broken, too.
Only the constant rain
seeks to fill it.

————-

Falling Practice

Twice on the stairs last week
and once in the kitchen.
Lately, these falls
have been coming in threes.

Tonight in the dark, I tripped
over the low metal bench beside the hot tub.
Then a loud bang sent me searching
to find the heavy husk fallen from the palm tree.

I do not venture out alone again,
but sit on the patio
in the light of my laptop,
hoping to escape the third fall.

Your face on the screen turns green
from the reflection of the string
of Chinese lanterns
as we succumb to hard truths.

I fell in love with you so quickly,
but even all these falls
have not taught me how
to fall out of love with you.

 

The Prompt: Howl at the Moon—“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen Ginsberg  Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?

Away

Away

Written in the morning, long before the day
sneaks in like an intruder, intent to have its say,
words born in the nighttime flower on their own,
bursting into bloom as soon as seeds are sown.

Truth is there behind us before it ever shows—
in words before they’re spoken, in wind before it blows.
Once recognized, I free these words to flow over the world—
off on their own to have a life wherever they’re unfurled.

Sent swiftly to their different spheres to live a life apart
from one who followed after, like a horse without its cart—
I like to set my words loose to canter on their own,
to feed upon wild grass that also roots where it has blown.

The Prompt: After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

Reading

This post has been removed as a stipulation for submitting it in a poetry contest.

The Prompt: Middle Seat—It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?

 

The Brick Throwers

The Prompt: Reviving Bricks—You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?

The Brick Throwers

They were five in a chain from truck to rooftop,
each throwing the piles of adobe bricks
in stacks of four, from hand to hand
up from the bottom of the truckload
now nearly emptied.
Two of them waved me on
when I tried to park near,
my trunk full of heavy wall sculptures
to deliver to a gallery just half a block away.

And when I tried to park farther along the block,
again and again, they waved me away
until I was a block away and safe, I guess,
from straying bricks or errant cars that swerved
too far to the right to avoid the bricks or truck that held them.
They were a cheerful lot, and when I passed,
walking towards the gallery
carrying one sculpture after another,
they waved, and on my final trip back to the car,
again, the man second in the chain
who stood balanced on the highest level of the brick pyramid
that remained within the truckbed,
seemed to intuit my purpose, waving from me to them
as I drew my camera from my purse.
They all posed for minutes, miming their labor
as I tried to get them to actually throw, as before,
those piles of bricks, hoping to catch them
flying through the air between two pairs of hands.

Finally understanding, they threw and threw,
asking me for a prompt to help me catch that flight
I feared I’d never catch.

(more)

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Minutes later, I turned to leave
and they, cheering and smiling in their fame,
turned back to that labor which is an art in Mexico:
giving bricks wings before mortaring them
into a permanency that holds them rigid for lifetimes
until they crumble back into that soil that was their nativity.

This poem should be a metaphor for something
and probably is.
Some future day, when I am moldering in my grave
like some lesser Ozymandius,
some graduate student or scholar of mediocre
Twenty-First-Century poetry might publish a treatise
revealing it.
And they will dig this website from the rubble
of the Internet and find
I wrote it as a daily prompt
and if such records still exist,
find how I hired those men to build a monument
from that crumbling manse of brick
that was my prompt on the Daily Post
and tell how they spent their lifetimes restoring it
and how their children and their children’s children
have benefited from catcalls
and instructions to move on down the line
and the clicking of a camera lens
and from one who follows blindly
where each prompt leads her.

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Changing Lines

Changing Lines

Would passion carry the same voltage
or heartbreak the sting
if from the beginning we knew
that every extreme
brings us a step closer to its opposite?
It is that great pendulum of the I Ching—
that flowing from the yin to yang—
that foretells the fall of great regimes
glorious in their altruism
who, reaching their apex,
must head back again
towards cruel tyranny.

If we’d known this from the start,
each Summer Solstice would become
a day of mourning,
knowing that having reached one summit,
there is no further height to climb to.
And tomorrow, the start of our slow descent
will bring us closer to that other summit
where dark will reign.

Part of the power of youth’s sweet ecstasy
as well as bitter heartbreak is that it seems as though
they’ll last forever.
This is the spice of life.
Its bread comes later,
as we recognize that
everything,
everything                   everything
changes          into its
opposite.

Since today is June 21, today’s prompt was to write about the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Dreaming A Path

Dreaming A Path

Dream, Fri. Oct 18, 2013

We were at a booth in a café. It was a huge room with booths on every side and each booth had a clock, or at least I thought they did. I don’t think I ever looked. Our alarm started going off and there was no way to turn it off. It was by me and I tried and tried but couldn’t get it off. I said I was just going to unplug it, but Patti said perhaps it was timed with all the other clocks at tables and then it wouldn’t match. I said couldn’t they just reset it when we left? Someone agreed, but still we didn’t unplug it and it went on and on and on. Very annoying. Our booth came equipped with a little dog. It was tiny and light with long very curly white hair that was in loose corkscrew very long ringlets. It was so adorable and affectionate. I held it most of the time. It had legs like wires that went straight down..very skinny…and it jumped a lot. When the waitress came, we told her about the alarm and she said yes, she’d noticed that it was going off…but she didn’t do anything about it. We told her how cute the little dog was and she said yes…but then it seemed like it was the little dog who had the alarm that was going off. We ordered and afterwards I was wanting a dessert but thought I shouldn’t order one. Patti was to my right and I suddenly realized she was eating a very rich chocolate dessert—a sort of fudge flan or very moist slippery cake that was hot with a hot fudge sauce over it. She offered me a taste. It was a very small rectangle…not very big…but I tasted it and immediately said I’d have one, too. It was incredible. Still, the alarm went off. It was driving me crazy! Then I woke up and realized it was my own bedside alarm. I reached up with my eyes still closed and tried to turn it off, but couldn’t find the control. Finally I picked it up, opened my eyes and found the control. It was 8:10. The alarm had been going off for 10 minutes!!!!

My interpretation:

I found this dream in a folder on my computer. I have no memory at all of having dreamed it, and perhaps that distance makes it easier for me to interpret it. In a few weeks, I turn 67. For the past year, I’ve thought repeatedly about death and the fact that if I’m lucky, I probably have only 30 years left. For some reason, that awareness is very stressful. I feel a need to finish everything I’ve started and never completed. Earlier, that consisted of a lot of sorting, construction of storage spaces and weeding out of the contents of my house. That effort is ongoing. What also happened, however, is that I have an incredible drive to get everything published that has been lying around in file cabinets for many many years as well as a need to write new work and somehow disseminate it. My blog is part of that effort, as are my efforts to get all my books on Amazon and Kindle.

Seeing this dream as if for the first time, I clearly see that theme of time running out coupled by a sense of alarm that I need to do something about it. The little dog shows the attractive quality (adorable and affectionate) of finally dealing with all these loose ends—(note all his corkscrew hairs). Those wiry little legs that kept him always active certainly reflect the urgency I’ve been feeling to write write write.

One aspect of this awareness in my real life for a time consisted of my fear that I will stop breathing. This often gets me up gasping at night to run outside to try to breathe. For some reason I haven’t had any of these panic attacks since I started writing every morning. What I interpreted as a growing fear of death and a dread of ceasing to exist was perhaps a fear of not living and creating while I am alive.

I think the interplay between my sister Patti and me in the dream reflects a number of things. One is a difference in our approaches to life. I think in a way, she is more of a rule-follower and since she was my immediate pattern for most of my earlier life, I think a part of me feels this same need, but this is coupled with an equal and stronger need to create my own path in a direction unique from my two older and very competent sisters and to break a few rules to do so. At a very early age, much as I admired and imitated my sisters, I felt the need to prove myself. To find something to know that they didn’t already know. I found this route when I started venturing out at an early age to find new ground where they had not gone before me. It led me first into the homes of friends and strangers where I saw life being acted out in a manner entirely different from my own home. The road led further—to summer camp where I was a stranger to all and vice versa. I loved being the stranger. In choosing a college, I fell back on the reliability and comfort of attending the same school my sister had attended, but in my Jr. year I took my first big leap—a trip around the world on World Campus Afloat. That early adventure in seeing dozens of new and strange cultures set my life path. I’ve been traveling ever since and have been living in Mexico for the past 13 years.

I believe this dream depicts the sense of urgency I’ve had my entire life to “do” something with experience. My art and writing allow me to turn off the alarm for the hours in which I practice them. That small dessert might symbolize the rewards of doing what I need to do to do so.

P.S. An interesting insight I have had just as I started to post this: (And, interestingly enough, wordpress will not accept my blog entry. Perhaps it is insisting I add this P.S. before it does so.) I just got back to Mexico from a visit to the states wherein I visited my oldest sister Betty who is now in the depths of the world of Alzheimer’s. While I was there, she seemed increasingly distressed by the fact that she can no longer communicate, but one day as we were sitting in the living room portion of her small apartment in a managed care Alzheimer’s wing, she motioned to the middle of the floor and said, “Look a that cute little white thing there—that fluffy little white dog!” This was the first incidence that I know of of her actually hallucinating visually, and for some reason it popped into my mind in relation to the little dog in my dream. All of these images—of our dreams as well as our daily life—remind us to live while we can and to do what is most important to us. In my case as well as my sister’s—to communicate. Too late for her, although she continues to try. Not too late for me.

P.S.S.  By the way, the instant I completed the above P.S., the wordpress page that had continued to not allow me to post this blog entry flashed the message:  What do you want to post?  Text? Picture?  I chose text and and you have just read it.

The prompt: Freudian Flips. Do you remember a recent dream you had? Or an older one that stayed vivid in your mind? Today, you’re your own Freud: Tell us the dream, then interpret it for us! Feel free to be as serious or humorous as you see fit, or to invent a dream if you can’t remember a real one.

Note in response to this prompt: (When I think of dreams, I think of Jung, not Freud, and he continues to influence my thoughts and actions much more than Freud ever did.)