Poem Without Intimacy
the other day I was shopping
in one of those giant incredibly brightly lit stores
you can apparently see from space
wheeling a massive empty cart
thinking this is a lot like thinking
why do I go to sleep
not having brushed my teeth and dream
of the giant failure
known as high school again
on the loudspeaker was a familiar song
by Quicksilver Messenger Service
there were no lyrics but I remember
it says we are all skyscrapers
under one blue rectangle that never chose us
to be these sentinels
who imperceptibly sway
and watch people far below
like tiny devices no one controls
enter our various sunlit glass conversations
the world is old
and full as it will always be
of commerce and its hopeful non profit mitigations
future products from the Amazon
will cure ailments we have
and also ones not yet invented
looking down I saw my cart was full
of a few boxes of some cereal I do not recognize
four flashlights and a pink plastic water bottle
made of some kind of vegetable
that will eventually like me into the earth
and then I passed an entire row of plastic flowers
and wanted to be the sort of person
who bought them all
but really I am a runway covered in grass
and all I truly love is sleep
–for Juan Felipe Herrera
I like the word pocket. It sounds a little safely
dangerous. Like knowing you once
bought a headlamp in case the lights go out
in a catastrophe. You will put it on your head
and your hands will still be free. Or
standing in a forest and staring at a picture
in a plant book while eating scary looking wild flowers.
Saying pocket makes me feel potentially
but not yet busy. I am getting ready to have
important thoughts. I am thinking about my pocket.
Which has its own particular geology.
Maybe you know what I mean. I mean
I basically know what’s in there and can even
list the items but also there are other bits
and pieces made of stuff that might not
even have a name. Only a scientist could figure
it out. And why would a scientist do that?
He or she should be curing brain diseases
or making sure that asteroid doesn’t hit us.
Look out scientists! Today the unemployment rate
is 9.4%. I have no idea what that means. I tried
to think about it harder for a while. Then
tried standing in an actual stance of mystery
and not knowing towards the world.
Which is my job. As is staring at the back yard
and for one second believing I am actually
rising away from myself. Which is maybe
what I have in common right now with you.
And now I am placing my hand on this
very dusty table. And brushing away
the dust. And now I am looking away
and thinking for the last time about my pocket.
But this time I am thinking about its darkness.
Like the bottom of the sea. But without
the blind florescent creatures floating
in a circle around the black box which along
with tremendous thunder and huge shards
of metal from the airplane sank down and settled
here where it rests, cheerfully beeping.
About Matthew Zapruder
Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry: American Linden (Tupelo Press, 2002), The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon, 2006), selected as the winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and Come on All You Ghosts, published by Copper Canyon in Fall of 2010. Come On All You Ghosts was the 2010 Goodreads Readers’ Choice selection for poetry, and also was selected as one of the year’s top five poetry books by Publishers Weekly, as well as the 2010