Sunday, March 6, 2022



What is the real

And what’s merely metaphor?

Everything is just a received signal

From something else, after all;

Olfactory, audible or visible.

Is the signal just a symbol

For something hard and unchangeable,

Imperceptible as itself, at best bridgeable

With words and conceits

Like a ghost that shows itself as a sheet?

Even the word metaphor is a metaphor.  

I’m proud of you, my son is a metaphor

On call again, working a double shift again 

Making good use of my talents and gifts  

Not wasting a watt of energy 

Grinning and bearing

Showing up on time

Having a nervous breakdown

Having a good cry

A bowl of vanilla ice cream,

June, summer evening, 1984, alone,

Watching the Celtics and Lakers.

These are all metaphors too

They don't have to be beautiful or clever.

Not even cute. 

They only have to be true.

Maybe metaphor is just the real

Blossoming into beautiful

Which would be nice but, see above, 

I just said it didn’t have to be.

Which is something I sometimes regret.

Try this:

Metaphor shares a soul with the real.

This metaphor, that metaphor

Two sides of the same coin

Flipping interminably through the air

Without ever actually landing.

Yeah, no. Good try,

But that’s not for me.

What about this one:

A metaphor is when the real

Reveals itself as something

We already know to be true,

When it bursts into being

When it becomes me and you.

Now we’re getting in too deep 

Trying to breathe in rarified air 

A metaphor of non duality 

Here’s one I kind of like:

Metaphors weave the new

Into a blanket of the already known

Like when two broken hearts

Inexplicably fall in love again

And huddle in its warmth

It’s nice, I'll admit, but not quite it.

One more attempt:

Metaphor is just the sound we make

When we want to hint

At all that cannot be said

If only we could 

Keep our mouths shut 

But we can’t keep 

Our mouths shut.

This is the metaphor of silence

Which means, I think, we're

Finally starting to get close 

Because metaphors never last,

Being of smoke and mirrors

Which are metaphors themselves.

A quiet empty church is a metaphor

A man hanging on a cross

Recitations with angels in the clouds 

A covenant branded in the tips of penises 

Metaphors of religion.

A religion, by the way, is a metaphor

For a good place to stop

Even though the road goes on and on

Mine is very simple

And requires no theology

No scripture no ritual

It isn’t really a religion

Barely even a metaphor at all

Let's call it an idiom

It goes like this:

We fall in love with the metaphors

And live with all that’s real


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