By Matthew Zapruder
In old black and white documentaries
sometimes you can see
the young at a concert or demonstration
staring in a certain way as if
a giant golden banjo
is somewhere sparkling
just too far off to hear.
They really didn’t know there was a camera.
Cross legged on the lawn
they are patiently listening to speeches
or the folk singer hunched
over his little brown guitar.
They look as tired as the young today.
The calm manner in which their eyes
just like the camera rest
on certain things then move
to others shows they know
no amount of sunlight
will keep them from growing suddenly older.
I have seen the new five dollar bills
with their huge pink hypertrophied numbers
in the lower right hand corner and feel
excited and betrayed.
Which things should never change?
The famous cherry trees
I grew up under
drop all their brand new buds
a little earlier each year.
Now it’s all over before the festival begins.
Maybe they’ll let us be in their dreams.
Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry: “American Linden,” “The Pajamaist” and ‘Come On All You Ghosts’ (Copper Canyon, Fall 2010), as well as co-translator from Romanian, along with historian Radu Ioanid, of “Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu.” He has received a William Carlos Williams Award, 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. More about Zapruder can be found at his website.