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

harmlessly decompose

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