Scarlet Synecdoche

I might as well begin at the end,
because these things seldom end well.
The February sunset flared scarlet
between blue-silk ribbons of clouds
and then the world spun into the darkness
of Lovers’ Eve, and scarlet is just another
synecdoche, a part that stands for the whole,
or in this case, a general used for a specific,
Scarlet, like the red flower in your hair,
to be specific, blooming over your naked
left ear with your hair tucked back,
of a color neither strawberry nor blond,
more the color of a mustang I saw long ago
breathing ice clouds into a mountain morning
cold as this night, that stands not for beauty
or youth or the transitory nature of every red flower,
or even for the color scarlet as a pure idea,
but for lust, of course, as this poem
is made of lust, written in scarlet letters, blood
and marrow and lust itself, the coppery taste of it,
the way lust is a color and lust is a flower
and lust is a poem, and when a poet wears
a red flower and reads her poem about lust,
the poet herself becomes the subject and the object —
the pure embodiment – of my lust, so now,
Scarlet, we come to the point, or one point
at least among several, about the scarlet light
at the end of the day, a too-short day at that,
and the scarlet flower, and the blood, and poetry,
how the whole as the part, the part as the whole,
and this poem, now, is itself a synecdoche
for how I went crazy a little at a time
without noticing, like the proverbial frog.
I guess what they say is true, that one man’s
Julie Laide is another man’s Anna Mirabilis.
It is a kind of miracle, even how you move
when you are standing still, how your feet
are at the ready, dancers in the wings,
how your fingers, even, say their lines
at your side by the black dress, miraculous,
the shapes your mouth forms, your laugh
and how it flits from lips to eyes and back,
your bare shoulders, the thin black strap,
the curve of your breast, your waist, your hip,
sinusoidal, your legs, your black boots,
the way you move your feet, the way you move
me, the way a poem about lust can come to be,
even to generate lust, sui generis, not another sui-
cide poem, and this is not the flattery of poets,
it is the whole damn frog, la rana bien cocida,
une grenouille morte, absolutement, parfaitement,
pars pro toto, totum pro parte, ashes to ashes.


About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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5 Responses to Scarlet Synecdoche

  1. Zouxzoux says:

    *sigh* So very sensual.

  2. Deep and rich and many-layered….

  3. Ray, I enjoyed the idea of scarlet as synecdoche…skillful write and, indeed, you’ve caught the character of the color.

  4. brian miller says:

    just another suicide poem, this is not flattery for poets its the whole frog…ha…nice i like that…and your play with words through out …its tight…and got some heat as well…very nice…

  5. This needs to be read in front of a group of people. Strong words, and sense a strong voice behind them. Well done!

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