Thursday, October 03, 2013

War of Words, A Poem

War of Words, A Poem

Steven Torres

From behind a rampart made of books

I fired my volley of screaming adjectives.

Down to my last hooked preposition

And a knife made of gerunds.

If the quartermaster did not soon pass by

To resupply, it would be caesura for me.

But here he came like a stalking Jove

Or talking dove or like one true love or whatever.

“Whadaya need?”

“Whadaya got?”

“A passive voice rifle with –ly attachment.”

“Oh,” I said disappointedingly.

“Or a metaphor cannon loaded with roaring lions, noonday suns, and hearts of gold.”

“Stale ammo.”


Something like a rocket-propelled simile twanged off a brick of Tolstoy.

“Or an allusion grenade,” he said.

I took that, pulled the pin and threw it over the heads of so many,

Past Dickens and Austen, Shakespeare, Chaucer and Beowulf, both Testaments and Aeschylus.

It landed between Homer and Homer and rolled to the foot of Gilgamesh.

And exploded to no effect whatsoever.

“Anything else?” I asked.

“A slingshot for pebbles of plain speech.”

I laughed a bitter laugh – war with jokers at your side.

The metaphor cannon loaded with dull ammunition

Is all about the rate of fire.

Keep it up and the enemy runs dazzled from the field.

Mix it up and they run the bases for the touchdown –

a rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick.

Then it was hand to hand – face to face, eye to eye and toe to toe.

Just me, the gerund blade, and the preposition.