Ten Metaphors

What was a blister,
this hole in my arm
that crusted over,
pleading to be picked
again, grist of this
oozing popped up
healed over redness
that I cover
only to have it lift up
again. This cyst
is my weakness,
my sins, the truth
inside me that cries
for release, for clemency
every time I squeeze.

The white awning
shakes off the sun,
allows it to slit
a crisp landline
the albino of my heart
dare not cross,
that pink, untouched
muscle passing a beat
down the long veins
of highways, delivering
blood to the edge
of the skin that cuts
and begs to burst
itself onto this bright,
untapped evening.

The panes of glass
we have tapered
to keep the bugs out,
keep the heat out,
to move down the highway
at unreasonable speeds,
these panes to squeeze
blurry oblong eyes
into crisp lines.
In a prior world you would
have called him seer
or shaman, but here
four eyes, an outcast
for needing science
to make sense.

Our work, scant more
than a toy to toy with,
a tryst with plastic,
our food and our houses
built by another,
maintained by another,
others keeping out
the trees, keep us
out of the branches
of banks wearing masks
while our wealth
accumulates, lies we tell
ourselves to give rise
to self worth and honor
the thieves of the moment.

The call of the bird
in the branch
nearest the house,
the one by the open
screen door, cooing
in time with the music
playing, with the game
being played, swearing
like a sailor, bawling
like an mother
who spends her day
chasing after ungrateful
children who waste
good time stomping
on her good graces.

Do not hiss at me
for loving you,
for following you
on a leash, but too,
do not fault me
for eying the next
jogger, the mailman,
the next piece of kibble.
I don’t love you less,
nor dismiss all
you’ve done for me.
My wanderings lead
me, sometimes at night,
to bark about leaving,
but not at open doors.

The lisp of the chicks
in the nest, not food
they call for, the early
bird brought that worm,
not love, that dance
they will learn in college.
Like any newborn
they sing themselves
to prove no one
in the world could be
more important, a song
because the bear and ewe
and lion have horns and claws,
songs so no one needs
rutting or pissing.

What we’ve watched
slip by, miss us, we call
the passing sun, melting
candles, whatever
is a flickering light,
one we face each day
knowing we are wax
or the horizon, the leftover
scraps when the diners
are done carried out
to the back. Trash.
Though we are mountains
we will not stop
the always rising light
or the darkness.

Fish, who moves through
what he breathes, lives
where he shits and eats,
through the den of buoyancy,
never a victim of gravity.
Fish never took a leap
off the edge. Here I am,
a short walk to the bus-stop,
to the garbage bin, to the mall
and all I can breathe
is stale air, feel it filling me.
My feet on the ground
on the corner
of the fast moving street,
my lungs like fins.

In the club, the darkness
is a metaphor. But what for?
For what we can do
with our eyes and our
bodies when we are just
a shadow, when the bright
lights of the delivery room
have dimmed and left us
in our dive, thumping.
The fool at the bar,
the ballerina, the dance
floor sweaty and sticky,
the long light that glows
from inside, the dark
rhythm that burns.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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