Tag Archives: poem

The Simplicity of a Poem makes me turn to Metaphors….

Here at the Idiom we love a good narrative poem….We’re fans of minimalist writing and enjoy coming into a party and waiting for the anticipation to leave….

But when a poem is narrative and concrete and straight forward with its images and story….I eventually look at the piece for more than what’s being said and find metaphor and meaning in everything…

In the current issue of The Idiom there is a poem called Icicles by Caitlin Sinead Jennings which makes me turn the whole piece into a metaphor….maybe it’s because we live in Jersey and right now when we see the word Sandy it makes us think of the storm that hurt our shore last year or maybe I just want icicles to be more than condensed water dripping off of awnings that remind me of A Christmas Story and Ralphie who I look so much like….or that Caitlin brings us to the bank at one point and the struggles her narrator is having in their post Sandy be-Jobless World and the pleasure found in learning new words and using them in dangerous situations when there really is no time to learn new words….

Now I’m rambling….The Idiom doesn’t normally deal with politically themed pieces but when one is written as well as this one was, hiding the political overtones and focusing on the enjoyment of the poem instead of its message I have to accept it and will even post it below because I think its our favorite piece in this issue….

On a side note stay tuned to our blog on Thanksgiving Day when we will be releasing a special video featuring our interactive cover!



I assessed the icy blades hanging from the bank awning before setting up orange cones and pulling a ladder from my “Ted’s Landscaping” truck. The image of the lawnmower on the side seemed out of place in winter, when instead of cutting grass we were shoveling snow and removing hazardous icicles.

I was used to walking under this awning, not climbing to be on level with it. I saw it before depositing my first paycheck and before asking for a mortgage. The bank gave Jimmy, just two then, an orange lollipop and Sandy and me the home of our dreams.  But it’s also the awning that I walked under, foreclosure notices in hand, four months after Sandy lost her job.

The man I talked to sneered at our misfortune and relished the power he held over me. I frantically begged for a different payment plan. A smirk hid behind his lips when he said in an annoyingly calm voice, “We cannot acquiesce to any requests for changes in loan agreements at this time.” He didn’t even hide the laugh when I asked him what acquiesce meant.

The icicles were firm in the cold, but would grow unpredictable as it warmed. I was about to knock one down when someone disregarded the cones and walked under me. I stared, realizing it was him. He paused for a while, reading his blackberry, seemingly begging me to break the large sharp icicle above his head.  I simply acquiesced.

Our father’s stories

For our final weekend of the last issue of the Idiom we’ll be showing off three more poets from the issue.

Kevin Ridgeway came to us from Bud Smith, a poet and prose writer whose novel Tollbooth we will be releasing at the end of the month.

Kevin’s poem Poem for my Dad encompasses everything we like in a piece: getting high, social debauchery, and a Raymond Carver type ending that leaves the reader wondering what happens and a focus on the buildup of the situation.

I like how we are always distracted from the most prominent scene that this father has stolen a Cadillac first by making it a story as told through the sons or narrators eyes and then the fathers own story of seeing a naked man on a pole…the outer story and the inner story surround that center story and make the third forth and fifth readings shine and is probably characteristic of how the father actually tells this story told many times over beers in a bar to strangers, old friends, and everyone else looking to listen…

Poem for my Dad

do you remember that time you told me you were high and pulling out of your partner’s garage
in your stolen Cadillac
and you saw that naked man climbing the utility pole, high on angel dust screaming
gibberish to god
as you blasted
Harold Melvin
and the Blue Notes
and parted your perm
with your comb
and shook your head, heading off into
the dawn sunlight?

Aleathia reading her poem Inherent Topography….

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the Dodge Poets and poetry event’s I attend it’s that sometimes you can get more from a poem without reading it and hearing it be read out loud to you….

So I won’t be posting the poem in this draft (of course you can always find it in the current issue)

but here is the link to an audio file of Aleathia reading her piece


  • We liked the lines about “the heart that can’t control its destination of its beats” and the “sleeping back rise and fall like overthrown countries in turmoil”. There’s a certain flow to this poem that exists when she reads it out loud and if you are looking at the piece you see how that works with her stanzas and line breaks. All the stanzas are 4 lines each except for the first one which has an additional line which draws focus to the title of the piece within the poem.
  • The shorter lines at the end help create a conclusion for the poem and gives an additional sense of isolation from the short 2 word lines unlike the rest of the piece which is more concrete and descriptive. Even the last three images we are given, the pen stopping, the books toppling, the trucks racing prepare us for the lonely ending.
  • The contradiction of asking an uncle in prison for a soft hand is unpredictable, but fitting for the next line talking about “misguided morality”.


and don’t forget tomorrow is Flashback Friday where we will be celebrating Flag Day and Maurice Sendak’s Birthday with an original picture from Where the Wild Things Are that featured an Idiom flag….

More on John Grey

Here is another section of John Greys poem from the current issue I like how he goes from this nature type image of trees to this woman’s past….especially the use of tree branches to Christmas trees to family trees makes the poem feel connected and then the comments around the story don’t seem so abstract….

Real branches don’t align.
Nor are they of equal strength.
Hang one bulb, the limb
keeps to the horizontal.
Hang one elsewhere, and
everything sags.
She can remember
Christmases from childhood.
String the lights,
flip the switch,
and those gray leaves shone
like candles in mirrors.
What does green know from gleaming? Green she associates with grass
and grass with boring.