Category Archives: Metaphor

Preposterous Vision

“Peyote Dream” Painting by Jesus Lopez Vega

Preposterous Vision

My friend Chuy says
it is peyote leached into the soil
the corn grows from
that gives Mexicans
such a remarkable sense of color.
The bright pigments of imagination
flood his canvasses.
His peyote dreams leak out into the real world
and wed it to create one world.
“Peyote dream” becomes its opposite—
a freight train taking us into the universal truth.
A larger reality.
This stalk of corn, this deer,
this head of amaranth,
all beckon, “Climb aboard.”

So when you bite into a taco
or tamale, when the round taste of corn
meets your tongue, and pleasure flows
in a lumpy river down your throat,
look up at what is standing in the shadows
and see that it is light that creates shadow.
See the many colors that create the black.
Follow where the corn beckons you to go—
into the other world of poetry and paint
and dance and music. Hot jazz with a mariachi beat.

Chew that train that takes you deeper. Hop aboard
the tamale express and you will ride into your
new life. It will be like your old life magnified
and lit by multicolored lights and the songs of merry-go-rounds
and when you bite into your taco, it will taste
like cotton candy and a snow cone
and your whole life afterwards will be a train that takes you nowhere
except back into yourself—a Ferris wheel
spinning you up to your heights and down again, with every turn,
the gears creaking “Que le vaya bien.”
I hope it goes well with you
and that you see the light
within the shadow
and the colors
in the corn.

For Fandango’s prompt: preposterous

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.