from ‘Metaphor and Simile—24 poems at year’s end'


 Day 1


             A metaphor appeared,

    a form of action, while we were reading

just below the trees. It made

             a human & nonhuman meaning....

      (not sure what nonhuman meaning means)

So, here we are now.         Unknowing beauty among

    the brutal days.   All year they sat out

reading, each to the other, in their skins.  Days

                                          of             drought in the west,

                            written    of.            Writers

   are stressed most            of             the time, trying

with many forms                 of             life to make energy among.

             Dry months           of             people reading, greenshield

              lichen reading                       to the fence. Indicator

species. Indicators              of             health, in the twilight

                                          of             a terrible year, crepuscular

a Stevens word.   Acts        of             gather & burn  (what now

       is called                       the          undercommons). Rosa Parks &

Róża Luxemburg,                the           violence they endured

             amid                      the           infinite failures, unbearable

             if you read             the           histories.  To keep a little

 hope but how:                    the           young. Not to drown while

trying to register                  the           forms of suffering beyond

             or in                      the           the, as Stevens wrote,

   the mixture of                  the           dump. To love, despite

             collapse,               the           life forms

             reading to             the           wood... frayed ends of

         days. Days in            the           mind. Wood mind. Science

      also  reading to            the           dream—

           ,    , , ,     , ,    , , , , ,


========================= (log)

Some people think lichen looks dead but it is alive in its

dismantling. Some call it moss. It doesn't matter what you call

it.  Anything so radical & ordinary stands for something.



Day 2


              A simile sets up space for you to doubt

          ever getting past the suffering...Rilke

    Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn staying mostly

                       in his room          & where if they cried out,

                Who, if i cried out could hear the children killed...

    A figure of destruction came to us & said,

such admirable life forms on the street as if love

                grew black threads... To be with friends

   you finally see, inside the grief year,

class grief, race grief, loss of love & rain. Ruffle lichen

   spreading near the lake like similes.

                (~i~ had not checked my phone...)

  We need to talk. Wood mind. It’s not just about your

own little darling, the wife of the decomposers said...

                Remember summer the poets

read aloud inside their skin where the undead meet the dead

                 Voices sliced across the dusk,  black cilia,

                                           to            read to each other

in beauty in the dusk.           to            see black-edged

life forms on fences              to            lean against

                                                          ovals of energy

while people said listen in the modest dusk,

                                           to            register the horror

                                then     to            pass energy across.

Cortex K+ yellow, medulla K-, KC+ red to orange,

  looks like punctuation while growing along, knowing

                almost nothing, there are twin

                sides to everything  & the beautiful

wrong side is always listening...


 A photo of a specimen of lichen sitting on a light grey surface.

These two 'journal poems' are from Brenda Hillman's series "Metaphor and Simile—24 poems

at year's end." You can read more from this series in Lana Turner here. That Lana Turner page

also includes several intriguing epigraphs and dedications for the series as a whole.