Matthew Zapruder

“Matthew Zapruder is the author of two collections of poetry: American Linden (Tupelo Press, 2002) and The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon, 2006), selected by Tony Hoagland as the winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. He is also the co-translator of Secret Weapon, the final collection by the late Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu (Coffee House Press, 2008). He has poems recently published or forthcoming in Paris Review, New York Quarterly, A Public Space, and Electronic Poetry Review. Currently he teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the New School and works as an editor for Wave Books. In Fall 2007 he was a Lannan Literary Fellow in Marfa, Texas.”

Matthew Zapruder: Three Poems

In the Darkness, Use Me Wisely

Today while saying one of the many
things I don’t know about painting,
I felt a sharp something like an itch
turning into a clumsy needle insatiable
for my blood. A bee sacrificed itself
for the cause of reminding me some
consider my body an intruder. My
personal imperviousness rating
plunged close to its dangerous low
attained when I woke from surgery
performed on an ankle misapprehension
winter surfaces ought to be encountered
via two exceedingly well-honed blades
had broken. It can take far too many
years to learn which instincts you
do not have. In 1998 I decided
to never be happy pursuing just part
of the body of knowledge of laws
that govern regulations for planning
imaginary structures, of which
you of all people will not be surprised
to learn are legion. Too many rulers
never fail to see it’s often best
not to allow others to do what they’re
best at. Like designing systems
for large clock behavior emulation.
Here I am giving advice again
when I should be drawing negative
space! 3:14 just passed with tiny
implacable claws. A bird Roz said
was a peacock seems to have learned
human throes. I didn’t know vanishing
had to be invented to put cities into
the fresco, I guess before importance
determined the size of the figure it
never occurred to anyone looking
at a painting was just like looking out
of your head. On vases Etruscans
left us impassive winged leopards
drawing chariots over cyclical gangbangs.
Which makes me less sure I disagree
with the painter’s wife when she said
perspective is not such a tremendous
improvement. Someone is always
translating Rilke who never said if
you look away for a moment the
moment goes right on being beautiful.
Someone is always marching with
a fabulous homemade banner
soon to be speckled with blood.


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