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About this Poem 

“I began this poem quite a few years ago when I was living in Marfa, Texas, but it never felt finished to me. Only recently was I able to finally figure it out. Alice Ghostley (1924-2007) was a ‘character actor’ and sidekick in many well-known television series, including Bewitched and Designing Women.”
Matthew Zapruder

Birds of Texas

I like to be alone in someone else’s house,
practicing my cosmic long distance wink.
I send it out toward a mirror
some distracted bored cosmonaut dropped
on an asteroid hurtling vastly
closer to our star. No one watches
me watching thousands
of television hours, knitting
a golden bobcat out of
tiny golden threadlets. These good
lonely days every thing
I’ve claimed I’ve seen
for me to use it glows.
I’m waiting for the love
of Alice Ghostley, who keeps
in various faces and guises
appearing amid the plot machines,
always to someone more beautiful
and central in complex futile relation.
They call her plain but to me her name
sounds full of distant messages
beamed a thousand years ago,
only now to flower. Penultimate
cigarette, high desert breezes,
I’ve written all my plans and vows
on careful scraps of paper piled
beneath weirdly heavy little black rocks
I gathered on many slow walks
into town to ask no one who
would bother naming this particular
time between later afternoon
and twilight. Crazed bee, I know
the name of the plant you are in!
Salvia! Also, the jay is not blue,
nor the sky or indigo bunting,
within particles and feathers sun
gets lost making expert holographers
out of us all. Passarina, I saw
your dull blaze from the railing flash
and an insect disappeared. Afternoon
once again slipped into
the gas station like it did those old
days it had a body that moved
and smoked among the people,
whistling a cowboy song concerning
long shadows, happy and unfree.

Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Zapruder. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 17, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Zapruder. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 17, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is the author of several books of poetry, including Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon Press, 2010).

by this poet

poem
all day staying inside

listening to a podcast

discuss how particles 

over the Pacific 

might drift 

I knew thinking 

whenever cloud

scares me 

I am not alone

my umbrella slept 

in the closet

I placed a few nouns

in beautiful cages

then let them out

touched with my mind

the lucky cat

asleep in the
poem
In Milwaukee it is snowing

on the golden statue 

of the 1970s television star

whose television house

was in Milwaukee 

and also on the Comet Cafe

and on the white museum 

the famous Spanish architect 

built with a glass 

elevator through it

and a room with a button

that when you press it

makes two
poem

All summer
it was on fire
I was as always
in California,
looking out my window,
discovering nothing,
then flying back
east far
above those forests
filled with black
smoke to feel
again that way
I will keep
failing to name.
O the same mistakes