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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.

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

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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

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the orange ball arcs perfectly into the orange hoop

making a sound like a drawer closing

you will never get to hold that

I am here and nothing terrible will ever happen

across the street the giant white house full of kids

turns the pages of an endless book

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It's the start of baseball season,
and I am thinking again 
as I do every year 
in early April now 
that I live in California 
where afternoon is a blue 
span to languidly cross 
of those long ones 
you used to sort of sleep 
through getting drunk 
on many beers, lying 
next to your radio 
on a little square of