(Probably not) All of the similes in Blood Meridian

It was like…

like a wild animal

ribs like fishbones

like thin red leeches

they drank like dogs

It was like a sermon

true as a spirit level

like a string in a maze

He was bald as a stone

like rival bands of apes

silently as a bird alighting

mute as a tailor’s dummy

men or creatures like them

they buried their stool like cats

like effigies for to frighten birds

Yonder sun is like the eye of God

They rode either side like escorts

dark falls here like a thunderclap

The men looked like mud effigies.

like an army asleep on the march

their chins in the sand like lizards

like some naked species of lemur

something like a pound of powder

like a man beset with bees or madness

black waters all alight like cities adrift

like beings for whom the sun hungered

great steady suck­ing sounds like a cow

fingers spiderlike among the bolls of cotton

the fires on the plain faded like an evil dream

abdomens like the tracks of gigantic millipedes

leather wings like dark satanic hummingbirds

us behind him like the disciples of a new faith

he come along and raised me up like Lazarus.

jerking and lurching like a deputation of spastics

holding the coins cupped in her hands like a bird

the mules clambering along the ledges like goats

they labored on sideways over the sand like crabs

shambling past the fires like a balden groundsloth

whores call to him from the dark like souls in want

Men whose speech sounds like the grunting of apes

A hardlooking woman with a wiry body like a man’s.

They were shambling along the road like dumb things

our mother the earth as he said was round like an egg

The watchers looked like forms excavated from a bog.

is voice passed from him like a gift that was also needed

the old man sitting in the shrubbery soli­tary as a gnome

the parasol dipping in the wind like a great black flower

in his sleep he struggled and muttered like a dreaming dog

dragging themselves across the lot like seals or other things

an old anchorite nested away in the sod like a groundsloth

blackened and shriveled in the mud like an enormous spider

the kid behind him on the mule like something he’d captured

he had codified his threats to the one word kill like a crazed chant

the squatting houses were made of hides ranged like curious dorys

little cloven hoof-prints in the stone clever as a little doe in her going

a watered figure like the markings of some alien and antique serpent

The shadows of the smallest stones lay like pencil lines across the sand

the top of the sun rose out of nothing like the head of a great red phallus

the tent began to sway and buckle and like a huge and wounded medusa

he comes down at night like some fairybook beast to fight with the sailors

the blackened rings of the burnedout fires lay in the road like bomb-craters

Buzzards shuffled off through the chaff and plaster like enormous yardfowl

he naked bodies with their wounds like the victims of surgical experimentation

a deeper run of color like blood seeping up in sudden reaches flaring planewise

Then he waded out into the river like some wholly wretched baptismal candidate.

the barman labored over the floor toward him like a man on his way to some chore

He looked like a great clay voodoo doll made animate and the kid looked like another.

the burnt tree stood vertically in the still dawn like a slender stylus marking the hour

he looks like a raggedyman wandered from some garden where he’d used to frighten birds

the bloody stump of the shaft jutted from his thigh like a peg for hanging implements upon

The wagons drew so dry they slouched from side to side like dogs and the sand was grinding them

They crossed a vast dry lake with rows of dead volcanoes ranged beyond it like the works of enormous insects.

seized up the drown­ing idiot, snatching it aloft by the heels like a great midwife and slapping it on the back to let the water out.

The ribbed frames of dead cattle under their patches of dried hide lay like the ruins of primitive boats upturned upon that shoreless void

Three men sat on the box not unlike the dead themselves or spirit folk so white they were with lime and nearly phosphorescent in the dusk.

their mounts advanced elongate before them like strands of the night from which they’d ridden, like tentacles to bind them to the darkness yet to come

The rifle carried a vernier sight on the tang and he would eye the distance and gauge the wind and set the sight like a man using a micrometer.

those selfsame forms rearing with a terrible redundancy behind them like some third aspect of their presence hammered out black and wild upon the naked grounds

The sun was just down and to the west lay reefs of bloodred clouds up out of which rose little desert nighthawks like fugitives from some great fire at the earth’s end.

They rode like men invested with a purpose whose origins were antecedent to them, like blood legatees of an order both imperative and remote.

The judge was standing on the rise in silhouette against the evening sun like some great balden archimandrite.

slept with their alien hearts beating in the sand like pilgrims exhausted upon the face of the planet Anareta

the polished shoes of the horses kept hasping up like a myriad of eyes winking across the desert floor

the blue cordilleras stood footed in their paler image on the sand like reflections in a lake

a strange blackened mass in the trail like a burnt carcass of some ungodly beast

their hollow burnedout eyes were like those of noctambulants surprised by day

like many another young man of his class he’d gone west because of a woman

like some storied hero toward what beast of war or plague or famine

the trace of their untrue labors like sidewinder tracks in the sand

tufts of blue fire clung to the horses like incandescent elementals

the thunderclouds like tracings of lampblack fallen in a beaker

The white noon saw them through the waste like a ghost army

the spokes reeled in their hubs and clattered like loom-shafts

arms like some wild thaumaturge out of an atavistic drama

they’re supposed to just grit up on this sand like chickens

the horses were blowing and smoking like steamengines

they rode out of that vanished sea like burnt phantoms

Like a patrol condemned to ride out some ancient curse

the wretched ponies huddled and whimpered like dogs

rocks melted and set up all wrinkled like a pudding

a vaporous dust like the palest stain of their passing

Orion rose in the southwest like a great electric kite

beaded lizards with mouths black as a chowdog’s

figure sat suddenly like some terrible hatching

vaguely navigational like slender astrolabes

whorls strangely symmetric like iron filings

like shades of figures erased upon a board

This looks like the high road to hell to me

nothing like so cold as in the mountains

it rose off the desert like a great chancre

sunflowers tall as a man on horseback

He shone like the moon so pale he was

his movements like ceremonial wands

the valley floor shone like woven metal

he is as eitherhanded as a spider

cracked like old porcelain

his feet were like clubs

like painted sprites

like an alien eye

like some mad dowser

they crouched like owls

like a pan of dried blood

the plain like the ruins of old walls

The old ones are gone like phantoms

the small sandvipers like seemly gods

he sat in it like a debauched feudal baron

clothes of every color like a carnival clown

like the tufted stalks of mutant desert growths

broken off like stumps of great stone treeboles

bears like cattle grazing on some upland heath

humans on fire came shrieking forth like berserkers

the shrubs were like polar isomers of their own shapes

wings that went whoop whoop whoop like a child’s toy

he sat his horse with the glass at his chest like a crucifix

one of the savages went down like a player through a trap

The heavy ball of the rifle passed overhead like an asteroid

his eyes like one called upon to witness some appalling thing

like something foundered there on which the sea was teething

Dust-devils stood on the horizon like the smoke of distant fires

the riders among them like herdsmen clubbing down the laggards first

His grandaddy was killed by a lunatic and buried in the woods like a dog

I saw him lead them horses away over the slaglands like a doomed man

the high wild cries carry­ing that flat and barren pan like the cries of souls

The dead lay awash in the shallows like the victims of some disaster at sea

like the remnants of some dim legion scrabbling up out of a land accursed

dust like a company of armed and mounted millers wandering in dementia

the Americans called out the arrival of the incoming shafts like artillery officers

a half moon that sat like a child’s boat in the gap of the black paper mountains to the east

the hail leaped in the sand like small lucent eggs concocted alchemically out of the desert darkness

there circled two black hawks about the sun slowly and perfectly opposed like paper birds upon a pole

his naked skull looked like a cap for bathing pulled down to the otherwise darkened skin of his face and neck

One of the Delawares passed with a collection of heads like some strange vendor bound for market

they crossed a bed of thunderstones clustered on that heath like the ossified eggs of some primal groundbird

the sudden skyline stark and black and livid like a land of some other order out there whose true geology was not stone but fear

the painted chevrons and the hands and rising suns and birds and fish of every device like the shade of old work through sizing on a canvas

they watched like the prefiguration of their own ends the carbonized skulls of their enemies incandescing before them bright as blood among the coals

the crescent ribs like old ivory bows heaped in the aftermath of some legendary battle, great levees of them curving away over the plain into the night

The arrows came lofting up in the blue with the sun on their fletchings and then suddenly gaining speed and passing with a waney whistle like the flight of wild ducks

great clanging reaches ordered out of the absolute night like some demon kingdom summoned up or changeling land that come the day would leave them neither trace nor smoke nor ruin more than any troubling dream

They descended the mountain, going down over the rocks with their hands outheld before them and their shadows contorted on the broken terrain like creatures seeking their own forms.

Glanton cursed them on, taking up a lance and mounting the head upon it where it bobbed and leered like a carnival head

clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools

the widely scattered palmilla standing solitary and silent against the lowering sky like other beings posted there

shed scattered sparks down the storm like hot scurf blown from some unreckonable forge howling in the waste

he knelt with that alien and barbarous head cradled between his thighs like some reeking outland nurse

all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns

a peculiar bandylegged trot like creatures driven to alien forms of locomotion

the sheets of water on the plain below them lay like tidepools of primal blood

like the back of some pale seabeast surfaced among the dark archipelagos

a vast plain of varied small blooms reaching onward like a gingham print

like some queer unruly god abducted from a race of degenerates

his hands in his armpits like a fugitive in a madman’s waistcoat

promontories that ran out like headlands massive and sombre

lay like maimed and naked monks in the bloodslaked dust

riding down upon them like a horde from a hell

yes whited with fear like the eyes of the blind

The boots had pointed toes like buskins

snapped at him like a dog and was gone

squatted on their haunches like wolves

a polar moon rose like a blind cat’s eye

huge black eyes like some changeling

rising up again like funhouse figures

round and smooth as arcane eggs

They moved like migrants

rolled in it like dogs

like a pitchman

cry like a child

like a son

like an evil visitant

like being all mongrel

they sat at the fire like ghosts

like his own conjectural destiny

pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes

rolled their eyes like circus animals

It looked like the black from old fires.

harried north over the desert like cattle

he veins in the man’s neck stood like ropes

he stood gazin about like he’d come for the view

we’d be required to bleed into it like freemasons

he jostled along in his sleep like a mounted marionette

Like things whose very portent renders them ambiguous.

so like an icon was he in his sitting that they grew cautious

The scalloped canyon walls rippled in the heat like drapery folds.

Like things so charged with meaning that their forms are dimmed.

like beings of a mode little more than tangential to the world at large

the desert round lay like a great barren plate gently quaking in the heat

squatting there like some deserter scavenging the ruins of a city he’d fled

they leaned by turns with pursed lips to the stone like devouts at a shrine

watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn

stained and stinking like some reeking issue of the incarnate dam of war herself

eleven men perched on the topmost rim of that scalded atoll like misflown birds

the cloudbanks stood above the mountains like the dark warp of the very firmament

wieldin the knife with a dexterity that was wondrous like he did it every day of his life

he rode with a woven wreath of desert scrub about his head like some egregious saltland bard

The great pale dome of his skull shone like an enormous phosphorescent egg in the lamp­light.

the adamantine ranges rising out of nothing like the backs of seabeasts in a de­vonian dawn

The carrion birds sat about the topmost corners of the houses with their wings out­stretched in attitudes of exhortation like dark little bishops.

the great hairy mound of the bear dead in its crinoline lay like some monster slain in the commission of unnatural acts

The other heads glared blindly out of their wrinkled eyes like fellows of some righteous initiate given up to vows of silence and of death.

in these primitive skins before the gray and driving rain they looked like wardens of some dim sect sent forth to proselytize among the very beasts of the land

the constellation of Cassiopeia burned like a witch’s signature on the black face of the firmament

the scalps were being strung about the iron fretwork of the gazebo like decorations for some barbaric celebration

they appeared in the streets, tattered, stinking, ornamented with human parts like cannibals

as if he were smiling under the water like some pale and bloated manatee surfaced in a bog

they once again began to hoot and to pummel one another like apes

hardwood forests much like those they had quit in their youth

like men returning late from a social, from a wedding or a death.

They slept among the rocks face up like dead men

The riders began to slump and reel like drunks.

a sour reek like the stink of a rancid dishclout

He’d of took you, boy. Like a bride to the altar.

hail lay nested like tectites among the leaves

clusters of tinware that hung like chimes

resting the rifle before him like a staff

circlin past him like communi­cants

turrets stood like basalt prophets

the sun burned like a white hole

eyes like cracked stone plates

yappin on the slope like dogs

like something newly born

like makebelieve wantons

they slept like dogs

like roseblooms

music like a fanfare

like a wild thing in a wood

like the paths of meteorites

scenes and scenes like them

like clubhouse guns for boys

the boardlike hide of a dead ox

holding out their wings like cloaks

they lay in the street like dead bandsmen

they looked like God’s profoundest peons

down the slope like chaff down a hopper

they looked like little gnomes crouched there

Small orphans were abroad like irate dwarfs

driven like cattle through the cobbled streets

his head was slightly bent like a man at grace

the people ran before them like harried game

the lee of those sour bones like sated scavengers

the desert under them hummed like a snaredrum

it fell away like the sheer cloven face of the world

back to back with their pistols at port like duellists

they ascended like refugees of some sordid disaster

the long dull hair swinging like the filaments of certain seaform

the trembling drop of the eastern horizon like baleful marionettes

the company picked their way past like supernumeraries in a dream

they did not look like men who might have whiskey they hadnt drunk

they shambled steaming through the cobbled town like fairybook beasts

hogskins filled with pulque that swung from the beams like bloated swine

one of the men from inside appeared in the doorway like a bloody apparition

a point of light out on that desert like the reflection of a single star in a lake of utter blackness

a pair of buzzards began to trot off across the sand with their wings outheld like soiled chorines

like some scurrilous king stripped of his vestiture and driven together with his fool into the wilderness to die

small coals scampered down the plain and sand crept past in the dark all night like armies of lice on the move

they shambled to the bar and back in their rags and skins like cavefolk ex­changing at some nameless trade

the halfwild horses on the plain before them trotted in those bluish strobes like horses called forth quivering out of the abyss

The Apache riders had begun to extricate themselves from among the Americans like men backing out of a thornthicket.

the colorful lancers fell under the horses in that perilous mist like soldiers slaughtered in a dream wide-eyed and wooden and mute

he was much like the sorcerer’s apprentice who could indeed provoke the imp to do his will but could in no way make him cease again

their baled peltries looked less like victors than the harried afterguard of some ruined army retreating across the meridians of chaos and old night

saps of rawhide and riverrock looped about their wrists like the implements of some primitive equestrian game

The embers of the encamp­ment’s fires lay below them in a gentle curve like the lights of a distant port.

The riders harried them about the basin until they were circling like paper horses in a windtrap

Glanton pounded on the door with his rawhidecovered club like a traveler at an inn

Glanton turned to his horse and unhooded it like a falconer at morning

villagers all dressed in white cotton like attendants in an institution

the creaking bone-carts passed in the night like darkened ships

like old medallions of some order of the hunt

a doorsill worn like soap

like horned candelabra

muzzling it like a dog

like terns or plovers

speech like cats

ears like a fox

like coons

like bits of pottery

picked at themselves like apes

their teeth bared like feral dogs

they shied away like little horses

fallen leaves lay like golden disclets

like some dim neolithic herdsman

he lay bound to his bed like a madman

People in here looked like skinned rats.

these lifeforms, like wonders much reduced

Stirrings in beds of hay like nesting mice disturbed.

he was bedraped with meat like some medi­eval penitent

the secular aloes blooming like phantasmagoria in a fever land

Itinerant degenerates bleeding west­ward like some heliotropic plague.

like a patent woven into the fabric the figures of stars and quartermoons

The pup squirmed and drew back in his fist like an animal backing down a hole

its small ears looked like paper spills twisted into either side of a hairy loaf of dough

a cannonball came around the corner trundling over the stones like a wayward bowl

like heralds of some unspeakable calamity leaving only bloody foot­prints on the stone

a flat package in brown butcherpaper translucent with grease like a paper of bak­ery goods

its head enormously swollen and grotesque like some fabled equine idea­tion out of an Attic tragedy

great dripping swine rose moaning before the advancing horses like oafish demons routed from a fen

Like beings provoked out of the absolute rock and set nameless and at no remove from their own loomings to wander ravenous and doomed and mute as gorgons shambling the brutal wastes of Gondwanaland in a time before nomenclature was and each was all.

It occupied that space and the attention of all who stood there like something presented for validation

their peeled skulls like polyps bluely wet or luminescent melons cooling on some mesa of the moon

the cannonballs were solid copper and came loping through the grass like runaway suns

The necklace of human ears he wore looked like a string of dried black figs.

A halfwitted killer from Missouri guffawed softly like an asthmatic.

they left behind a strange tainture like an afterimage on the eye

toothless paper skulls of in­fants like the ossature of small apes

crooned things to him that sounded like the words of love

outsized and childlike with his naked face, rode the judge

they stripped and descended like acolytes into the water

The print of the hatband lay on his forehead like a scar

like strings drawn together through the eye of a ring

Some of the men stood hand in hand like lovers

broken pots like some more ancient ossuary

A dark vein in his temple pulsed like a fuse.

holding them in one fist like a pair of socks

The judge like a great ponderous djinn

the indians would flare like quail

The woman sat like a stone.

a curious turtlelike clatter

like a croupier

like an evil fog

like a votive lamp

turned it like a tiny fan

like a scene viewed in a diorama

her paps like wrinkled aubergines

his family stood aligned like witnesses

his pleated brow not unlike a dolphin’s

like some immense and naked barrister

huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant

the low fire was roaring in the blast like a thing alive

The dark querent stood solemnly, like a man arraigned.

the naked windows dropped away like puppets in a gal­lery

She looked like a blindfold man­nequin raised awake by a string.

The boy held the coin in both hands before him like a small ciborium

its hindquarters miss­ing like something from a chromo of terrific war

They move haltingly in the light like mechanisms whose movements are monitored

into the howling desert like supplicants at the skirts of some wild and irate goddess

The judge sat upwind from the fire naked to the waist, himself like some great pale deity

As if he like others before him had stumbled upon a place where something inimical lived.

cheek and jowl with the brute and one arm about its neck like some crazed defector in a gesture of defiant camaraderie

The woman sat like that blind interlocutrix between Boaz and Jachin inscribed upon the one card in the juggler’s deck that they would not see come to light

The barman poured the measures from a clay jar into three dented tin cups and pushed them forward with care like counters on a board.

the slant black shapes of the mounted men stenciled across the stone with a definition austere and implacable like shapes capable of violating their covenant with the flesh that authored them

the dry weeds lashed in the wind like the earth’s long echo of lance and spear in old encounters forever unrecorded

racing in the stone arroyos like the imbreachment of some ultimate alchemic work decocted from out the secret dark of the earth’s heart

the horsemen herded the lag mules off after them and rode wildly down the rock trail like men themselves at the mercy of something terrible

a solitary lobo, perhaps gray at the muzzle, hung like a marionette from the moon with his long mouth gibbering

the blackened sheets of meat draped across the bushes or hung from poles like strange dark laundry

those fluted columns passing in the dark were like the ruins of vast temples ordered and grave and silent

The bones of cholla that glowed there in their incandescent basketry pulsed like burning holothurians in the phosphorous dark of the sea’s deeps.

Like some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke.

they peered from behind their fans with a kind of lurid coyness like transvestites in a madhouse

the laden packmules were beginning to clam­ber white-eyed at the sheer wall of the bluff like enormous rats

the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing

Two thick ropes of dark blood and two slender rose like snakes from the stump of his neck

the columnar arches of blood slowly subsided until just the neck bubbled gently like a stew

the judge had his entire head in his grip like an immense and dangerous faith healer

the mountains in their blue islands stood footless in the void like floating temples

the wind blew the white pumice from the crests like the spume from sea swells

The squatters emerged and stood about the cantonment blink­ing like birds.

men whose eyes gave back the light like coals socketed hot in their skulls

their wretched firearms at rest like some tatterdemalion guard of honor

bearing the bowieknife in both hands like some instrument of ceremony

the bear had carried off their kinsman like some fabled storybook beast

he had for anvil an enormous iron meteorite shaped like a great molar

the bear swung with the indian dangling from its mouth like a doll

the red sparks rose like the souls of the small life they’d harbored

In the clear waters of the pool willow leaves turned like jade dace

dust was blow­ing down the void like the smoke of distant armies

the huaraches he wore looked like dried and blackened fish

the horses stood like roadside spectators waiting an event

the headless man was sitting like a murdered anchorite

He looked like some loutish knight be-riddled by a troll.

Just perched on this rock like a man waitin for a coach

Foragin on the mountain for pinon nuts like bears

them pictures is like enough the things themselves

a dry lake lay shimmering like the mare imbrium

The judge sat that animal bareback like an indian

the burdened animals plod­ding like goats

we were like circus riders, not a sound

Mud pueblos that lay like plague towns

they sat like beings from an older age

The smoke drifted through like fog

looking much like a rude hide boat

Sounds like a pack of hounds

much like their own image

Like he’d been expectin us.

It sounds like geese to me.

the judge was like a cat

conversin like brothers

It is like a dream.


3 thoughts on “(Probably not) All of the similes in Blood Meridian”

  1. Don’t do favorites, but chose this one because it was a shadow of being out of character of the others. Awesome, horrifying, funny, reality as it is. And on.
    a half moon that sat like a child’s boat in the gap of the black paper mountains to the east


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