Poem for Bill Cassidy

By Matthew Zapruder b. 1967 Matthew Zapruder
I wish I would
like a ship
that all night carries
its beloved captain
sleeping through
no weather
slip past dawn
and wake with nothing
but strange things
that did not happen
to report
but I get up
in the dark
and parachute
quietly down
to the kitchen
to begin
the purely mental
ritual plugging
in of the useless
worry machine
above me
she sleeps
like the innocent
still dreaming older
sister to all
gentle things
the white screen
impassively asks
me to say what
does not matter
does so I shut
it down and think
about the lake
near where I live
it’s a lagoon
getting lighter
like an old blue
just switched on
maybe a Zenith
it has two arms
they stretch
without feeling
east to embrace
an empty park
a little light
then everything
has a shadow
I almost hear
a silent bell
low voices
I brought us
to this old city
the port connects
to the world
where everyone
pretends to know
they live
on an island
waiting for
the giant wave
in some form
maybe radiation
in the yard
the wind blows
the whole black
sky looks down
for an instant
through my sleepy
isolate frame
a complex child
hologram flickers
angrily holding
a green plastic shovel
then disappears
leaving an empty
column waiting
Bill who I knew
was so angry
is dead
whatever he was
going through
I kept away
I never did
I love his poem
he was really good
I keep forgetting
his last name
I always leave
his handmade book
on my desk
not to remember
but because for hours
after everything
everyone says
sounds like a language
I never knew
but now speak
spirit I know
you would have hated
how I think
you would have liked
this music
in another room
pushing the alien
voice into
the millennium
the one you left
so early
you were right
all noble
things are gone
except to struggle
and be loved

Source: Poetry (April 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2014
 Matthew  Zapruder


Poet and editor Matthew Zapruder was born in Washington, DC. He earned a BA in Russian literature at Amherst College, an MA in Slavic languages and literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Zapruder’s poems employ nuanced, conversational syntax to engage themes of grief, perception, and logic. As Dana Jennings noted in the New York Times, Zapruder has . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Life Choices, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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