you don’t need me to stretch out my hand

Right now in the rest area it’s sunny and cold. Someone
is taking a picture of the vending machine. I have
never been sad for appropriate reasons. Never
have I sat in the wet grass looking not at dark sky
but blue paper someone had carefully taken
hours to punch out in a shape invisible
until the flashlight is turned on below. Earlier
when I said everything is a switch immediately
the interlocking gears in the self-hatred mechanism
began to grind. Part of me is always about to turn
in a direction I will never go. Trucks roar
filled with things people need. Sometimes I sound
to myself like a robot. Too many times as a teen
I stared onto the surface of a mysterious
solvable multifaceted cube. I can see you don’t need
me to stretch out my hand to point to dread
and its little button. The door swings open,
one entire miserable summer I should have been happy
flashes in the word molybdenum. I saw people
mining cinder from volcanoes. Cinder
is made into blocks lighter than cement to hold
the plywood shelves holding one or more
than one person’s books. To intermingle
is so difficult to extricate. Shells marine organisms
abandon dissolve into ooze. Goodbye, someday
I’ll invent the magic lantern, then music,
then whatever’s the opposite of the need
to control everything so it can be perfect for you.

[Matthew Zapruder, 'The Painted Desert', from Come on All You Ghosts]


  1. "Sometimes I sound/to myself like a robot." OMG--yessss! And there are other things here that are straight out of my life. I love the word 'molybdenum' for instance, always have. So fun to say, to hear. And I heard it a lot, growing up.

  2. I'm not sure if this makes it better (or if "makes it better" is even on the menu?) but you have never sounded to me like a robot.

    The one that got to me, even though I didn't choose it for the title, was "To intermingle is so difficult to extricate." That's the story of the final year of my marriage (plus the first year after) - and also maybe the reason for some large proportion of my solitude, now.

  3. Yes, when I saw that I did immediately think of that period.

    HOW do you get such good WV?? It's weird and funny almost every time. This one is "squis."

  4. Next up for us: the WV blog...