I thought some of the metaphors may not actually be methaphores for you. :-) I recall once you accidentally described a matrix or a vector to someone the way you actually see them. (Which you also allude to here ) It could have made for a good scifi story, if only someone hadn't visualized the matrix on film already :-P
Could it also be (and here I'm brainstorming) that how you see the world more fragmented aids in developing metaphors? For instance, if you pick up the texture of handwriting independently from the letters, it would be easier to see that a particular line could just as well correspond to the leg of a spider as the leg of a letter.
Glad to hear you're still pursuing systems science. :-D I finished my AI PhD and is mostly doing project management these days, but I still get to play with AI concepts. Not to mention that the systems thinking I aquired during my master isn't half bad as baggage during project management.