The Questionnaire: Matthew Zapruder

By The QuestionnaireApril 19, 2012

How do you get up in the morning? Do you succumb to nostalgia?  Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill? How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry? Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite? Best piece of advice you ever received? Disciplined or hot dog? Have you ever been defeated by a genre? Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon? Are you okay with blood? Who is your imagined audience? Does it at all coincide with the real one? What country would you want to be exiled in? What's your favorite negative emotion? Is your study neat, or, like John Muir's, is your desk and floor covered in "lateral, medial, and terminal moraines"? What is your go-to shoe? What's your poison? What's your problem? Title of the book you're probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to? What are you so afraid of? How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard? Do you require a high thread count? Who reads you first?  Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind? What character or story haunts you? Does plot matter? Does age matter?  Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what? Who is the author you'd most like to impersonate online? Is there a literary community? What's the question or questions we should have asked, had we known? What is the answer?



I lie in bed
staring at the ceiling
last night before
I fell asleep
I put the book
on the floor
looking down
I see its spine
with the golden
simple name
of the old
poet who might
already be dead
somehow he used
ancient magic
everyone says
we don't need anymore
to place inside
me that perfect
at last
after all the formal
words of love
I could really imagine
how terrible
some day
not for fifty
years or so
but still
for one of us
to say goodbye
it will be
again fear
that is almost
seasickness and also
surely irrational
hope by that time
I will in some
way feel "ready"
through me
moves and then
asleep again
I am wearing
a dead rich
man's black
luxurious overcoat
gold buttons
it is snowing
in a vast
wooden hallway
I am not cold
someone laughing
says just watch
them learn the same
lessons he means
my children I don't
have yet
I touch the head
of a very important
black goat
and wake up again
the clock radio
says a small
tremor shook
some part
of the desert
no one lives in
tiny drones
we are flown
by what we do
not know into
blue election
inevitable spells
are cast
by warlocks
they move
their hands
and factories
rise or stadiums
into dust
8:10 am December
San Francisco
rainy season
you pull on
your boots
I call them purple
the label says
you leave
for work
and by a jolt
of atavistic
sadness electrified
I move
once again
to the impassive
black desk
to clock
in for my eternal
at the venerable
not for profit
Lucid & Dreaming




LARB Contributor

The Questionnaire is, as her name suggests, a multifarious and mysterious interlocutor. Chameleon-like, her questions change their color as they approach each new interviewee.


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