‘The Limits of Metaphor’ and other poems
By: David Francis
The Limits of Metaphor
People get off the bus
that’s lit up like an ocean liner
in front of the neon burglar-barred
food store-tattoo-modeling studio
and they disperse in all directions
they might be going to apartments
or places of business
open on a Saturday night
or they might even be changing
to another bus
which is one thing they probably
wouldn’t be doing on an ocean liner
You will never see
do the breaststroke
or the dog paddle
in a fountain.
The pollution is getting so bad
in the hometown where I was a lad
that a breath of fresh air
simply reeks of despair
unless you’re an industrialist cad.
Glaucous surface of black grapes—
the most convincing of the lot.
The banana, pears, orange, and apples
are false-colored, and the basket
looks like Bathsheba’s crown
In a Sunday school pageant.
Next to them is a glass-petaled platter
with a plastic-brown container,
sized in between a pencil holder and a large mug,
holding an eggbeater, two wooden spoons,
and a batter whipper of vanilla hue.
Something else sticks out and is blue.
The display case is about as long
as a casket, a magic one cut in half.
I have described one half. The other
showcases four instances of floral
elegance: off-white, mauve, peach in little
nests; lime in a mug of heart-rows.
Like amateur poetry montaged onto
posters of Op Art are these hearts.
The siren charm of nostalgia—
a lotus flashback: whoever arranged
this must have been blind.
As a child I tried to eat this fruit!
The one-winged bug
marching across the blue bedspread
to the land of plaid.