Saturday Poem

Rhetorical Figures

When a sentence is composed of two independent
clauses, the second being weaker than the first,
it is called One-Legged Man Standing. If it
purposefully obscures meaning, it’s called Ring
Dropped in Muddy Creek,
or if elegantly composed,
Wasp Fucking Orchid. There are words behind words,
and half the time our thoughts spraying out like water
from a hose, half the time banging inside our heads
like a wren in a house. When a sentence ends
unexpectedly because someone has punched
the speaker in the face, it’s Avalanche Sudden.
When instead the speaker is stopped with sloppy
kisses, it’s Dripping Cloud. Not to be confused
with Dripping Cone, when someone overturns
the table, or Bird Pecking the Mountain, when
the sentence goes on for an hour and a half and ends
in a shaking death. If the speaker lies in the driveway
so drunk on cheap wine that one listening cannot
get close to the meaning and thus runs away again,
claiming, “For the last time,” it’s Pregnant Dog
Cooked in Sun
. If the speaker sells everything for
an old convertible and drives out into the desert
with unintelligible shouting to the pissed-off stars:
Aching Stones Laughing. Forced incongruent words
are Fishes on Fire, and are beautiful but bring us
no closer to the Truth or the Cosmos or the All,
so either we tour Europe looking for the bodies
of saints or drink all night playing Johnny Cash LPs.
Everything we have said, we have said all our lives.
Same for what we haven’t said. Learning the terms
doesn’t help, we’re still filled over the rim with longing.
Already in the poem there is Clamshell Moon, Barn
House Burning, Cow Lowing the Field, One Hundred
Village Bells, Moth Flurry
. Somewhere above, a Torn
a Peasant Girl Crying, a Baby Dropped Through
Smoke to Voices Shouting.
Not much further a Cat
in Heat
, a Wailing Street, and in the end Tree Frogs
Blazing Reeds with Sound.

by Tom Christopher
Haydens Ferry Review