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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

poem
We were smoking some of this knockout weed when
Operation Memory was announced. To his separate bed
Each soldier went, counting backwards from a hundred
With a needle in his arm. And there I was, in the middle
Of a recession, in the middle of a strange city, between jobs
And apartments and wives. Nobody told me
poem
I was in a French movie
and had only nine hours to live
and I knew it
not because I planned to take my life
or swallowed a lethal but slow-working
potion meant for a juror
in a mob-related murder trial,
nor did I expect to be assassinated
like a chemical engineer mistaken
for someone important in Milan
or a Jew
poem
There comes a time in every man's life 
when he thinks: I have never had a single 
original thought in my life 
including this one & therefore I shall 
eliminate all ideas from my poems 
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain 
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants 
red brick houses where I shall give