Friday, March 11, 2016

Poem Friday.

Earlier this week, my oldest darling friend M. sent me a message, along with a link to the article in the New York Times which announced Matthew Zapruder as the Sunday Magazine's new poetry editor. My friend said she would like it if I would do as Matthew Z. will now do: post a poem once a week on my blog, prefaced by a few words. 

Nothing would please me more, especially since, in so doing, I can pretend just a little bit that I myself am Matthew Zapruder, and therefore that I am a poet that I myself much admire.

(Let me add parenthetically that I missed this delivery of the New York Times because my delivery situation is all fouled up, vis a vis the Sunday Times. It is the subject of much consternation and many emails, and still, still: I miss the paper the week that Matthew Z. debuts. Alas!)

Well, I think it's only fitting that for my first poem I pick a poem by Matthew Zapruder. So I did. This poem, which I found on the Poetry Foundation website. It was originally published in Poetry in September of 2010.

I like the flat sound of Zapruder's voice, although really, it just sounds like a person talking, a person with, perhaps, a mordant and dry wit, which is what I find attractive, really, in his poems. This poem,"The Prelude," makes reference to the Wordsworth epic, which I both did and did not read for my prelims, because although I love Wordsworth--a lot--The Prelude, like many epic poems, has its longueurs and dry parts. I love that the beginning of the poem has the poet invoking a refreshing beverage, a beverage which is, upon reflection, not quite so much refreshing in itself but rather redolent of sensations that lead nostalgically and synecdochically to other sensations. These take the poet back from a potentially rapturous walk in the world back to the city, where his ordinary temperament and self-doubts and his habit of verging on the dark await him. Just as our own natures, our own predilections always wait for us, no matter how many ways we try to transcend them:

Come to the edge
the edge beckoned softly. Take
this cup of darkness and stay as long 
as you want and maybe a little longer.

Matthew Zapruder

Oh this Diet Coke is really good,
though come to think of it it tastes 
like nothing plus the idea of chocolate,
or an acquaintance of chocolate
speaking fondly of certain times
it and chocolate had spoken of nothing,
or nothing remembering a field
in which it once ate the most wondrous
sandwich of ham and rustic chambered cheese
yet still wished for a piece of chocolate
before the lone walk back through
the corn then the darkening forest
to the disappointing village and its super
creepy bed and breakfast. With secret despair
I returned to the city. Something 
seemed to be waiting for me. 
Maybe the “chosen guide” Wordsworth 
wrote he would even were it “nothing 
better than a wandering cloud”
have followed which of course to me
and everyone sounds amazing.
All I follow is my own desire, 
sometimes to feel, sometimes to be
at least a little more than intermittently
at ease with being loved. I am never
at ease. Not with hours I can read or walk
and look at the brightly colored
houses filled with lives, not with night
when I lie on my back and listen,
not with the hallway, definitely 
not with baseball, definitely 
not with time. Poor Coleridge, son
of a Vicar and a lake, he could not feel
the energy. No present joy, no cheerful
confidence, just love of friends and the wind
taking his arrow away. Come to the edge
the edge beckoned softly. Take
this cup full of darkness and stay as long
as you want and maybe a little longer.

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