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jrlewis's blog

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On Losing a Sun Tan

Batter bold,

Fried golden woman behold.


Fried is only a letter away from friend

Friend when a letter?


Fat and meat must refrigerate; I was told.

You are fat and meat; I was told.


“The thickest skin is fried chicken,”

Thinks this chicken woman.


“Sexy isn’t crispy; it’s cold

Real cold.”


Out I slide the metal refrigerator shelves,

Feeling metal my selves.


I fold heels to butt, knees to chest,

Thighs to my stomach fold. 


What butt?

But nature at her joints cut.


Mycology cries for attention, “Mold!

Come mold!”

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Iowa welcome

Melting my emergency

Car deodorant

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Island Girl


Habit       habitat

Serendibian brown

I imagine my aquarium Sri Lanka.


Green crickets,

Right orienting left,

Superficial optic tectum, tacoform,

Experiments are your measurements altering me

From head to heart.


You croak.

I prove interspecies

Stockholm syndrome exists

Eating lonely Block Island black crickets.

Truly yours

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Tiger Striped Crescent

Your raw words: butter,

Flour, eggs, salt, yeast, water


Into the oven

Sacrificing small lives for art at 400O

In the heat, butter creates air

Texture is born


Air             Pastry

Air            Pastry                        Air

A pastry of a poem

Good morning moon

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In Defense of Metaphors

“Metaphors are a bad habit,” the professor says.  “We are chefs throwing bacon in bad recipes,” I write in my notes.  “I think in metaphors,” I think.  I’ve read papers on the pedagogical importance of metaphors.  I wrote my senior thesis on the power of metaphors.  It is such a shame Susan Sontag is dead.  Dear Susan, are you turning over in your grave yet?

What is a metaphor?  Or are we talking about all figurative language?  Similes are logically weaker than metaphors, does that make them better or worse?  Then, there is metonymy defying a definition stronger than association.  Synecdoche is a kind of metonymy; the part representing the whole.  Chemistry is the study of synecdoche with respect to any other field.  I think metonymy is the fast lane of thought.  The height of poetry is the wild linking croissants and my imaginary older sister. 

Function follows form is the lesson of the semester, I suspect.  So the problem with metaphors is that they are the converse.  They are meaning heavy.  They are heavy.  This professor likes light language and dark thoughts. What if I resist?  What will this course do to me?  What if no one appreciates this rant? 

I’d rather jump an unfamiliar horse over a fence with my eyes closed than give up my metaphors.  Metaphors equal life for me. 

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Black Islands (for ME)

Her eyes

Are a black,

Black notebook

Filling a five-star five subject

Notebook of the month,

A part of her.


A teenager

Hates her brown eyes

Dirt dark chocolate ice cream.

Her eyes are a blank book.

Blue and light alliterate



The young

Neurobiologist is poet

Learning the mechanism of sight.

Her eyes are a black Macbook.


Her eyes are a book born

Apart from her.

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The first time

My mom told me I was fat

Was freshman year of high school.

She clarified,

I weighed as much as my six-foot-tall father.


She stocked the house with diet cola.

She said, “ten pounds would be easy to lose.” 

Which wasn’t right…

My father was wasting away, a neurodegenerative disease.

My mother baked chocolate chip cookies twice a week

For my father.  After school, I stopped at the supermarket.

Then she said to me, “twenty pounds are doable with a teenage metabolism.”

The doctor prescribed my father chocolate ice cream at every hospital meal.


When I was a senior,

My arm measured the same circumference

As my father’s thighs.  I hate that fat and bulky muscle on my arms. 

What is so smart about lifting dumbbells? 

My father is dead. 


All I can think

When I look at my boyfriend’s nakedness is

That he’s impossibly skinny...  

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Reading by the Iowa River

The hairs on my arm

Raised alarm. 


Ahead are pedophile-like whiskers

And pallid lips.


Ogling while I gulp coffee and read poetry

Is the pervert fish.


Duck, he can’t risk hard evidence, he’s

Been caught before.


His finely tuned sense of smell lets

Him hunt late.


He is a channel cat, Ictalurus punctatus,

Creepy fish.


That old bastard will resurface



Why am I a mouse?


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Powerbook Poem

Happy Birthday

Plane tickets, big city, bland lake, me


Will you see me across the Midwest?

Texting from the pilothouse


Fog like milk- your job is lactose intolerant

Fog happens, shit!


You are the novel I haven’t read

By my favorite author.

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Neurobiology Final

To William James

Said Gertrude Stein

“What holds the world up?”

“The world rests on the shell of giant turtle.”

“What supports the turtle?”

“The turtle rests on the shell of a larger turtle.”

“What supports the larger turtle?”

“Why it’s turtles all the way down!”

“But it isn’t turtles really…

They are only a vehicle for the metaphor,”

Declared Gertrude Stein.

Its stories all the way down!”


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