cover image Sun Bear

Sun Bear

Matthew Zapruder. Copper Canyon (Consortium, dist.), $17 trade paper (110p) ISBN 978-1-55659-463-2

Zapruder (Come On All You Ghosts) is at his most meditative and conscious in his fourth collection, displaying a gentle wit and willingness to let the smallest banality open to wider observation. Starkly honest about the state of the natural, human world, Zapruder implicates his own desires—“I need things/ no one can buy// and don’t even know/ what they are// I know I belong/ in this new dark age”—and lifestyle—“I want to go to sleep again and wake// somewhere and turn on the faucet/ without feeling as if I am destroying anything/ and drink some coffee that doesn’t taste like blood.” What buoys the collection is his insistence on making the often disturbing facts of life not simply new, but strange and humorous in their familiarity: “[E]veryone worships us/ because we have declared our love/ they think we have.../ silently pondered/ the philosophical questions/ actually we were talking a lot/ about what we had for lunch.” Zapruder grasps both the absurd and tragic in the modern: “When I go to the bank.../ hollow with desire.../ Toward my numbers/ I walk, a tragic/ precursor condemned/ to an easy life/ balanced on the suffering/ in another land/ of strangers I might/ someday speak to/ when I call to complain.” (Apr.)