Friday, April 8, 2011

National Poetry Month: Matthew Zapruder


Matthew Zapruder

This morning I rode my gray metal bike
through the city throwing its trucks at me,
sometimes along the narrow designated
lanes with white painted symbolic bicyclists
so close to the cars too close to my shoulders,
and sometimes down alleys where people
on piles of clothes lie sleeping or smoking
or talking in the shade. Cars parked there
have signs in their windows that the doors
are unlocked and there is no radio.
It is remarkable to me that downtown
is always so remarkable to me. Every single
time I feel so shiny mixing my intention
with all the other lives, each so much
more interesting and easy for me to imagine
than the tourists muttering to each other
over their maps in some garbled
by traffic or wind foreign language I never
quite hear. From my window the old
brick factory building with its large white
graceful letters seems to be actually
proudly saying WILLIAM HENRY STEEL
to the sky, the building floats, up and to
the right but it’s the clouds of course
that move. Or is it? The earth moves,
farther off a squat little tower with three
huge metal cylinders that must be
for sending some invisible electric
particles out into the city. I only feel
free when I am working, that is writing
this book about a pair of zombie detectives
who painstakingly follow clues they think
are hidden in an authentic Tuscan cookbook.
It is really more a sort of transcribing,
every day I close my eyes and see
them in an ancient yet modern high ceilinged
earth-toned kitchen, laughing as they
blunder through the recipes, each day
a little closer towards the name of their killer
whose face will soon to all of us be clear.
They have a little zombie dog, I name him
William Henry Steel, and this will be
my great work time has brought me here to do.

"Work" appears in Matthew Zapruder's third collection of poems, Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2010). From Zapruder's blog, January 29, 2011, under the heading "My favorite comment card ever": "Matthew Zapruder is a boring man looking out his boring window for something to inspire boring poetry with no message. Page 25 proves it: 'totally / ghostfree 21st century whiteness.' Not very impressed with his redundant, superfluous imagery. (after rereading, his poetry does have meaning but is too often interspersed with conflicting ideas.)" May we quote you on that? Box checked "Yes."

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