I regret last week’s absence; only made the more embarrassing that I was hanging out with MVers all weekend, we even talked a little poetry… but all that Kubb they insisted on playing just made me too weary to use my arms on Monday.
Matthew Zapruder (b. 1967) was one of the poets on line during the 1A conversation on modern American poetry a few weeks ago. We already looked at Tracy K. Smith and Kevin Young, his co-guests. Zapruder teaches in the Bay Area and has published several volumes of verse. He said something interesting about rhyme (which was also a point of some contention in the radio hour) in his work, "
rhyme is what I would call ‘conceptual,’ that is, not made of sounds, but of ideas that accomplish what the sounds do in formal poetry: to connect elements that one wouldn’t have expected, and to make the reader or listener, even if just for a moment, feel the complexity and disorder of life
I came across this poem a couple weeks ago and have been wanting to run it. I know that graduations have been going on for more than a month, probably. Nonetheless this is timely; should resonate with some of you going through it, or remembering it, or observing it anew. Have a good week, -ed.
Drawn by ceremonial obligation
up from sleep I woke and stepped
into the borrowed black robes
all ghost bureaucrats trained
to redirect dreaming pretend
we do not like to wear. I drove
my black car to the stadium
to sit on stage and be watched
watching young expectant spirits
one by one with dread certainty
pass before me, clouded
in their names. Then listened
to no one in their speeches say
you’re welcome for allowing
us not to tell you it’s already
too late to learn anything
or defend whatever accidental
instrument in us causes
all these useless thoughts.
Like if you walked for hours
through the vast black avenues
of those server farms all of us
with our endless attention built,
you could almost feel the same
peaceful disinterest as when
your parents talking and smoking
raised their heads for a moment
to smile and tell you go back
upstairs and read the book
you love about myths that explain
weather and death. Now it is
almost June and they are finally
the children they always were.
So more precise than anyone
has ever had to be, go forget
everything we told you
so you can fix what we kept
destroying by calling the future.