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“I am completing a book I began back in 2002 called ‘Poems in the Manner of.’ ‘The Matador of Metaphor’ is from this manuscript. It is an homage to Wallace Stevens that appropriates certain of his techniques.”
David Lehman

The Matador of Metaphor

The grapefruit in the Florida orchard
has ripened into a globe in Hartford
for him to look at, not to eat.
If he had a tin can he would beat
it as a drummer in a band beats
his drum and steadily with a swish
and sometimes a gong. It’s his wish
to escape from gray walls and sky
into a Denmark of the inner eye
or a bullring south of the border
or a sky espied from the trenches
of a battlefield in Flanders. Wenches
wander into his wonderland. Order
is disorder squared. We are nowhere
else but here, yet live we do in metaphor
like that elegant square-shouldered matador.

Copyright © 2015 by David Lehman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 30, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by David Lehman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 30, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

David Lehman

David Lehman

David Lehman is the author of several collections of poems and books of criticism and is also known as a prominent editor, teacher, and literary critic.

by this poet

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When she says margarita she means daiquiri.
When she says quixotic she means mercurial.
And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again,"
she means, "Put your arms around me from behind
as I stand disconsolate at the window."

He's supposed to know that.

When a man loves a woman he is in New
poem

Today in 1862
Claude Debussy was born.
I remember where I was and what I was doing
one hundred years and two months later:
elementary algebra, trombone practice,
Julius Caesar on the record player
with Brando as Antony, simple
buttonhook patterns in football,
the

poem
(after Holderlin)

The yellow pears hang in the lake. 
Life sinks, grace reigns, sins ripen, and
in the north dies an almond tree.

A genius took me by the hand and said
come with me though the time has not yet come. 

Therefore, when the gods get lonely,
a hero will emerge from the bushes
of a summer evening