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About this Poem 

“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

poem

There comes a time when the story turns into twenty
different stories and soon after that the academy of shadows
retreats to the cave of a solitary boy in a thriving

metropolis where no one remembers the original story
which is, of course, a sign of its great success: to be
poem
He wrote the whole novel in his head,

Sentence by sentence. It took him all day.

Then he took out a wide-ruled yellow legal pad

With three pink vertical lines marking the left margin,

And from his breast pocket he extracted

A disposable plastic fountain pen,

And near the top of the page he wrote the word
poem

They were cheap but they were real,
the old bistros. You could have a meal,
drink the devil’s own red wine, and contemplate
the sawdust on the floor, or fate,
as the full-fed beast kicked the empty pail.

The conspiracy of the second rate
continued to reverberate.
Everyone wanted