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Matthew Zapruder
Matthew Zapruder

Luna My Captive

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 26, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Most of the time, the voice in my poems is that of a person more or less like me, sharing my concerns, living in a reality more or less like mine. Lately, however, in poems such as ‘Luna My Captive,’ other voices have also, to my great surprise, begun to appear. The reality these voices inhabit seems to be a more extreme version of ours: a society that has gone through a violent trauma, a civil war or some other conflict, from which it has only recently emerged into a new, equally traumatic modernity. Shelley writes that poets are mirrors, reflecting ‘giant shadows which futurity casts upon the present.’ I find it exciting and worrisome to think these poems might be that sort of mirror of our own future.”
—Matthew Zapruder

Luna My Captive

And seriously now the guitar is beating me up
It is shoving me into the narrow range of its cheerful melancholy
And all sorts of feelings I want to have I cannot
My feet start to move in exactly the same way
They did for so many years each time I entered
The tin shack where the dancing occurred
Again I see you Luna just as I did
When I was a boy once and everything
Made a large kind of sense we were being guarded
The new wave band with the exciting hair
Produced inside us the same faint scent
Of oranges that filled the patio in ancient holy Spain
We read about in our textbooks
We knew someday we would go
Together there and feel our song
In the narrow alleyways made sense
We would sing it and drink each other’s blood
Which would only make us grow stronger
Sometimes we talked about just going to Panama
To watch the ships move through the artificial scar
Overlords made in earth to bring the goods we loved
We put them in our mouths and on our record players
Luna I am losing the red thread
I want to rush back out into the street
Away from this terrible guitar that is making me feel
I’m just a chandelier in the reflections of my own
Glass droplets quantifying what has passed
Too enervated to keep toiling like a star
Luna I don’t mean to say it’s all been a loss
There was that class I took on how to ride
The carousel holding my nephew
But it’s impossible to be positive with this guitar playing
There is something inside the tune
I can’t alter and this man is singing
All these songs about going there
To be honest I just gave up and moved
I hear my sister yelling in the yard
Luna I’m going to bring my head outside
To see if I can scare some crows
They have bad manners not that I really care
There are three of them right now
Making me think of you and me and the other one
The best evening of my life was when we parked
Above that hill and talked all night
About the things we would never do
Until we grew dark and indifferent
As a well in a ruined village
The army passes by…

Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Zapruder. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Zapruder. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 26, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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Classic Books of American Poetry

This collection of books showcases the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets. Take a look.

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These Poems

These poems
they are things that I do
in the dark
reaching for you
whoever you are
and
are you ready?

These words
they are stones in the water
running away

These skeletal lines
they are desperate arms for my longing and love.

I am a stranger
learning to worship the strangers
around me

whoever you are
whoever I may become.

June Jordan
2017
poem

Always on the Train

Writing poems about writing poems
is like rolling bales of hay in Texas.
Nothing but the horizon to stop you.

But consider the railroad's edge of metal trash;
bird perches, miles of telephone wires.
What is so innocent as grazing cattle?
If you think about it, it turns into words.

Trash is so cheerful; flying up
like grasshoppers in front of the reaper.
The dust devil whirls it aloft; bronze candy wrappers,
squares of clear plastic—windows on a house of air.

Below the weedy edge in last year's mat,
red and silver beer cans.
In bits blown equally everywhere,
the gaiety of flying paper
and the black high flung patterns of flocking birds.
Ruth Stone
2003
Acadia National Park. Courtesy of the National Park Service
poem

Like You

translated by Jack Hirschman

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-blue
landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.

I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
love,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.


Como Tú

Yo, como tu,
amo el amor, la vida, el dulce encanto
de las cosas, el paisaje
celeste de los días de enero.

También mi sangre bulle
y río por los ojos
que han conocido el brote de las lágrimas.

Creo que el mundo es bello,
que la poesía es como el pan, de todos.

Y que mis venas no terminan en mí
sino en la sange unánime
de los que luchan por la vida,
el amor,
las cosas,
el paisaje y el pan,
la poesía de todos.

Roque Dalton
2018
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A Poet's Glossary

Read about poetic terms and forms from Edward Hirsch's A Poet's Glossary (Harcourt, 2014), a book ten years in the making that defines the art form of poetry.  

AASL Best Website for Teaching & Learning
poem

Poetry Is a Destructive Force

That's what misery is,
Nothing to have at heart. 
It is to have or nothing. 

It is a thing to have, 
A lion, an ox in his breast, 
To feel it breathing there.
 
Corazon, stout dog, 
Young ox, bow-legged bear, 
He tastes its blood, not spit. 

He is like a man 
In the body of a violent beast. 
Its muscles are his own . . .

The lion sleeps in the sun. 
Its nose is on its paws. 
It can kill a man. 
Wallace Stevens
1980
Spring–Summer 2018 issue of American Poets
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Lesson Plans for Introducing Poetry

Bring poems into the classroom with these lesson plans, which are especially suited to introducing students to poetry and helping them become engaged and thoughtful readers.