The Poetry Section: Matthew Zapruder, 'Global Warming' and 'White Castle'

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

The Poetry Section

Today in The Poetry Section: two new poems by Matthew Zapruder.


In old black and white documentaries
sometimes you can see
the young at a concert or demonstration
staring in a certain way as if
a giant golden banjo
is somewhere sparkling
just too far off to hear.
They really didn’t know there was a camera.
Cross legged on the lawn
they are patiently listening to speeches
or the folk singer hunched
over his little brown guitar.
They look as tired as the young today.
The calm manner in which their eyes
just like the camera rest
on certain things then move
to others shows they know
no amount of sunlight
will keep them from growing suddenly older.
I have seen the new five dollar bills
with their huge pink hypertrophied numbers
in the lower right hand corner and feel
excited and betrayed.
Which things should never change?
The famous cherry trees
I grew up under
drop all their brand new buds
a little earlier each year.
Now it’s all over before the festival begins.
The young.
Maybe they’ll let us be in their dreams.


In Wichita Kansas my friends ordered square burgers
with mysterious holes leaking a delicious substance
that would fuel us in all sorts of necessary beautiful ways
for our long journey eastward versus the night.
I was outside touching my hand to the rough
surface of the original White Castle. I was thinking
major feelings such as longing for purpose
plunge down one like the knowledge one
has been drinking water for one’s whole life
and never actually seen a well, and minor ones
we never name are always across the surface
of every face every three seconds or so rippling
and producing in turn other feelings. Oh regarder,
if I call this one green bee mating with a dragonfly
in pain it will already be too late for both of us.
I am here with that one gone, and now inside this one
I am right now naming feeling of having named
something already gone, and you just about to know
I saw gentle insects crawling in a line from a crack
in the corner of the base of the original White Castle
towards only they know what point in the darkness.

Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry: American Linden, The Pajamaist, and Come On All You Ghosts, forthcoming from Copper Canyon in 2010. He has received a William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. In Fall 2010 he will be the Holloway Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley. An editor for Wave Books, he lives in San Francisco.

Previously: Three Poems by Monica Youn

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