"Pocket"

"Pocket"

"Pocket"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Aug. 24 2010 7:07 AM

"Pocket"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear  Matthew Zapruder read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.
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I like the word pocket. It sounds a little safely 
dangerous. Like knowing you once 
bought a headlamp in case the lights go out 
in a catastrophe. You will put it on your head 
and your hands will still be free. Or 
standing in a forest and staring at a picture 
in a plant book while eating scary looking wild flowers. 
Saying pocket makes me feel potentially 
but not yet busy. I am getting ready to have 
important thoughts. I am thinking about my pocket. 
Which has its own particular geology. 
Maybe you know what I mean. I mean 
I basically know what's in there and can even 
list the items but also there are other bits 
and pieces made of stuff that might not 
even have a name. Only a scientist could figure 
it out. And why would a scientist do that? 
He or she should be curing brain diseases 
or making sure that asteroid doesn't hit us. 
Look out scientists! Today the unemployment rate 
is 9.4%. I have no idea what that means. I tried 
to think about it harder for a while. Then 
tried standing in an actual stance of mystery 
and not knowing towards the world. 
Which is my job. As is staring at the back yard 
and for one second believing I am actually 
rising away from myself. Which is maybe 
what I have in common right now with you.
And now I am placing my hand on this 
very dusty table. And brushing away 
the dust. And now I am looking away 
and thinking for the last time about my pocket. 
But this time I am thinking about its darkness. 
Like the bottom of the sea. But without 
the blind florescent creatures floating 
in a circle around the black box which along 
with tremendous thunder and huge shards 
of metal from the airplane sank down and settled 
here where it rests, cheerfully beeping.

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Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry. His newest, Come On All You Ghosts, will appear this fall. He has received a William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. An editor for Wave Books and a member of the permanent faculty in the low residency MFA program at UC Riverside-Palm Desert, he lives in San Francisco.