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Pink Thunder

by Michael Zapruder

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1.
They stole my tires
 They knocked down my house 
They killed my father
 They cut off my fingers
 And I thought, "And I did like those fingers." They pierced my eyelids. They scalped my brain.
 They ran their sweaty fingers down my sweaty back. 
They played me music but it wasn't music. 
They loved me and then they didn't. 
Somewhere in there I grew these enormous boobs. 
At some point what they took away 
Was given back
In the form of boobs.
 What they took from me
 They gave back
 Just like, as Lydia Davis says,
 When a limit has been reached
 What is real but does not help 
Is lost forever and replaced by the unreal.
 The difference is: these boobs are real.
2.
the plot has been overgrown since the last good rain visited fractured pottery to the grave just the size of a posthole will do: le petit mort if there is a sheet of fog, it is a fleece, it is a circling flock the night comes as a flag of crepe waving us down down fills the finest pillow, you said, wiseacre wiseacre, I said, because I didn’t yet know its root you said you’d take care of everything, as if the very wish to be an umbrella could expand first: you need a good haircut and a shave second: what were we going to tend if not ourselves not children. adopt-a-highway. a home for wayward beagles water the plants, I said, water the damned plants well, you did manage to water the plants
3.
Junk flares inside me. Junk it flares inside me. Like this caterpillar burning in newspaper Life is a ring of red beads My father once said that and now I know what he meant Life is a sable coat it drags along the ground behind us It weighs on the shoulders like a hundred silky dead. She wore it the opera one spring night the yellow light of enormous windows blew through the darkness. Here's the trouble with the heavy-assed-ness of everything in a pink velour pocket a tiny soul stirs it needs to die you think the soul is mine but no it's hers She stares out the window her young eyes like bits of dead mouse with the feet still attached she stares at the exact spot where someone is smashing her windshield with a day star the darkest heart isn't dark at all it is a white flower it unfolds and sits alone in red rivers.
4.
Twins 03:02
She has a dream and she has the same dream. She says moon and she says moon and both put their she-phones to their chests. She says in my dream I slept between your mattress and box spring and she nods and she hears her nod. She says I was in the blue dress before you put in on and after you put it on, like a soft paper flower she says and she says yes, like a soft paper flower. She nestles the phone in her crotch and she nestles the phone in her crotch and the pubic hairs say it was warm in the dream. She puts her face against the cool window and they play where's my face and she guesses against the cool window. She says I hung up the phone an hour ago and she says I hung up the phone last year and still we go on talking she says and she says we go on talking even while I am dead and even when I'm coming back to life. She is two places at once and she is two places at once which is four places at once. She has to go back to sleep now and she has to go back to sleep now. She says are you asleep now and she says yes and are you asleep now and she says yes and they go on talking about being asleep now. She has a dream and she has the same dream and in the dream she is dreaming what she dreams and she is dreaming what she dreams. Then it rains.
5.
Pennsylvania 02:44
In the forest writing on a tree I found a tree a naked tree a big fucking deal tree I've been your girlfriend for several minutes and it's been grand but I must be going to the starcase to climb a few sprockets of Denver to the balcony over these unbuttoned lights * * * if I could see it I would rip it up goodbye, but don't forget the lilies sweat-soaked and frond crossed on the bed we shared Now just alittle bit of what WAS LEFT and just a few minutes to find your shoes why that's a fabulous idea crossing Pennsylvania separately and not meeting until the border when I will present you to the authorities as the x factor as the snapping conundrum of the Allegheny valley as the summit named for the shittiest day in state history. Then you will rise into the air mouthing olive juice olive juice olive juice olive juice like technology you are like technology everything you do otherpeople wanttodoit too
6.
Opera 01:47
Opera pouring from the tenement dark sobbing into the light Callas drinking absinthe under an assumed name In Toulon then singing Calypso for sailors asleep in a basement those great songs are not our songs songs we know crown us like flowers Songs of the past Noelle their white walls all around me return gold sounds big clean amps once chimed so sad and transistor machines played drums it was the fashion now distant and cold enough to trouble the ghost in you still riding your bike under pink hi fidelity thunder
7.
Calmly grass becomes a wave See the body parts you name unsoothes you where you slip trying to write or wake up The songs overlap each other baby an echo knell a creased pit an animal an animal Hello call me
8.
Florida 02:31
When I was a kid my dad told me the stars made the sounds of crickets. The silver trills that had kept me up until then every night weren’t spilling from the legs of little black insects but brilliant points of light in the sky. He said this to me from outside my window in the early morning or deep night in a sleep voice I thought was the Gulf of Mexico fumbling into the shore, so I whispered back, the ocean was a liar and I knew it because the other day my dad told me the stars weren’t spider eggs but distant silent suns so far away they may already have died and only the light exists of them now in the great invisible net cast out by our eyes. Then something strange happened. His giant bald head rose into the window frame followed by his one green eye, one blue eye, then his red veined nose and finally his beard fuzzed mouth which sang out in a clear human voice I have been afraid of ever since.
9.
Fall 02:20
The sun goes down but the light never goes, rain moves through the orange night but doesn't fall. The cypresses swell like everything else in the world and in the air, turning in cycles. We are happy and then inexplicably sad then happy again. Like the clouds in the sky. Rain slants across the yard, over the graves of our lesser pets. I don't know if their lives were miserable in their little boxes or if they just lived, without news of the world, until they died. I can see their bones clearly when I think really hard, they make a pattern my training hasn't prepared me to understand.
10.
Birdman 03:56
I feel this tragic figure sitting on me as stars dot to dot over the water that is potable. As shoeblack in the hair will defoliate the scalp. As lyric, lyric cries the verb, speaking of the thing. (As the lawyer looks around for an ashtray.) The ferry's arc the ferry's lamp the inchoate sumac the inchoate sumac's blonde wig tossed casually now above the rocks. City as the merciful end of perspective, city as. He said may we talk briefly so that God can be glimpsed and alongside human conversation. Heron. Hilarity. Time, hilarious white spoonbill that cannot be held in the mind. Erotic ripple marks on shore failing to prove one's presence, my halting attempt in the gusting spray. Yes, sir. Yellow pine. Some are more released by words. For some, hell is other people. He wears a green eyeshade cap, like an aging umpire, in January 1943 issue of American Canary Title: "I Wonder." He spoke for the pillars, the bars, the sea air, the perpendicular pronoun, the little gods running around the rocks with small black cameras. Sometimes I too feel like a motherless says the lawyer, neural damage, agrees the doctor, each to each and in their horrible penmanship. And nature does not abhor. Once I was a House Sparrow now I am a Yellow Hammer.
11.
Storm Window 01:45
She sat writing little poems of mist. And he in an armchair, reading blood-red leather novels. Their three-legged white cat wandering between them. Twenty-four champagne glasses sparkling on the shelf. Never a one to be broken. And two stone dogs on either side of the driveway. For these reasons they have gone on precisely, undetected, for centuries.
12.
That you go on that you do it too or once have done to tear at that I fail your want and sweet sound and watch them wait for my failure. Future people I went to the museum and saw all so curious and substantial make its presence known above me. And so thrilled with the gifts of humans I was, their talents, that soon I departed. The cold and pleasant sun, the midday a business in great excess of the cruelty of people. And in this and my own joyous way I returned home some day or so later. I looked from the sky upon a warm occupant glow. You learned a better way and I filled myself with silly pills for years we floated this way your husband never knowing a small circle of salt around your body.
13.
my grandmother doesn't know pain she believes that famine is nutrition poverty is wealth thirst is water her body like a grapevine winding around a walking stick her hair bees' wings she swallows the sun-speckles of pills and calls the internet the telephone to america her heart has turned into a rose the only thing you can do is smell it pressing yourself to her chest there's nothing else you can do with it only a rose her arms like stork's legs red sticks and i am on my knees howling like a wolf at the white moon of your skull grandmother i'm telling you it's not pain just the embrace of a very strong god one with an unshaven cheek that scratches when he kisses you
14.
Civics 01:28
She had been the court stenographer in the little village for two decades when she disappeared into the mountains. I was part of the search party that day snow was pending and the bare branches looked like mounted antlers on the canyon walls. I walked with Glenn from White Moon Insurance for hours through columns of shimmering firs and over ponds frozen into opal tables. Until, arriving at an overlook at dusk we heard the cracking of a hammer echoing through the burnished valley and saw what looked like the old judge and twelve other men and women pitching camp for the night.
15.
Word 01:44
We'll begin with what's irreplaceable if you have one photograph for instance of someone you loved someone who's gone now. We'll begin with that. Put it in the fire. Isn't it like felling at once a whole herd? When the dust has settled you feel like you should say a few words, don't you? All the words begin to fall and you will not live to hear their dust settled.
16.
I have been asked: Why did you choose to work with the Negro? Call me librarian in the stacks of almost-lost melody. I journey this colossal quaking book they've authored in the space between their legs. Over blind fool hearts beneath stomping feet in the liquid engine of their crooned breath. And sometimes the splintered edges of voice root me in their tree of singing sunlight take me back to something that doesn't have a name. Our buried sense. A burning we lost along the way to civilization.
17.
Fogged in all day. The long low horns announcing the passing of another ghost ship. But we see nothing it's as if a curtain had been dropped. Go back into yourself it says, none of this matters to you anymore. All that drama color movement you can live without it. It was an illusion, a tease, a lie. There's nothing out here but smoke from the rubble that was everything, everything you wanted. Everything you thought you needed. Ships passing forget it children bathing there's no such thing let go your island is a mote of dust but the horns of the ghost ships say Remember us. We remember you.
18.
Last Words 02:10
So long see you sailor it might not be new but it's new for her. Put this apple in your pocket call me when you get there. The flowers are blooming in the highway meridian. Everywhere I look I see things you'd like to take a picture of I shutter my eyes but it comes out blurry. I ate all your favorite candies but left the wrappers in the bowl you might not have noticed but the suitcases are down from the attic. The paint peels from the ceiling in meaningful patterns Last calls, sign my cast hidden hip flask and ask me anything. Under the empty stadium seating does every city have a Roosevelt High she hiked up her knee sock blue jacket blue kiss good By the seashore huddled and cold by the way by the way she couldn't say it took me twelve years to get correct postage I just meant to tell you static on the line holarctic blue coppers cut up the sky.
19.
Some wrong turns you make get you somewhere blank, like a parking lot outside a stadium the leaves barking I had a trouble in my nature I paced the sunlight at my borders still the crumpled city slept I am writing this for you because I think your music has a traveling nature and I am right now traveling through my friends also have shadows there's very little complaining and we suck up love everywhere we go How do I get to the swimming pool where I can shave the moss from my blood? No one trails. No one talks. Only the carousing merchants can tell me what to do. and so they will while I consider other things about your nature this was written by several men today we have to sort out our blood consider the artificial creek making the artificial houses seem a lot more real
20.
Now I could see I'd been stirring the pot For almost ten thousand years. I could see I'd be stirring forever. So far nothing had changed. Nobody appeared. I stirred myself into a bottomless sleep, I was the smallest thing in the world. Fragment of spit, rumor of mud. Something that almost might have been. I no longer had skin or fine hairs along My arms for wind to chill or an ant to wander Over. I no longer had friends. No sister, no brother. I hadn't cried when my father & my mother Waved goodbye and their ship exited the harbor. I hadn't asked them where they were going. They left me no instructions.
21.
Song 02:17
Before opium that soul-sick summer, ageless and alone. Infinite June nineteen ninety nine holds to my master. Sadness arrived like an empty Chevrolet. I have terrible symbols. Symbols that come in sleep beginning to interrupt, come desiring to speak with me downtown. A heart as filled as Persia with twilight. Death stops death, strangers who envy. Lydia, ask the gods to exclude us. Only gods grant gestures that destroy. Ashen waves like autumn, abstract your being into a silent ship, sail quietly full of wind traveling to Lisbon. Listlessly thoughts tumble through the street, audible as fallen leaves. There is sicknesses like a sky's blueness, a quiet boy inside a church. Rain mysteriously sudden.
22.
Book of Life 03:38
The phoenix rose from the ashes And decided to keep rising. A forgetful monk basked in its shadow. “Bananas taste expensive!” exclaimed The monk, to no one in particular. Suddenly, the phoenix swooped down And landed on top of his head. “I am no longer wedded to Eros,” The phoenix warbled, “And I’d like To live with you in the monastery, Though my wings are still singed And I only eat live things.” The monk rifled through his powerpack And pulled out a squirming worm. “Here you go, my fiery friend, Take it and eat it, and do not worry About the other monks, they Mean no harm. You are to go back To the monastery with me.” The phoenix flapped its wings With happiness. But seemingly Out of nowhere, the phoenix Drilled a hole in the ground with its beak And descended into the core of the earth. The monk was sad and alone, But since he was forgetful, The memory of the phoenix soon faded. He hummed, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” On his way back to the other monks, With a dim recollection of his Younger years, when Eros lorded Over him, and he was happy. When he returned to the monastery, He died of a fatally broken heart, Not remembering exactly why.

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This full digital album also includes a full PDF review copy of the hardcover book version of Pink Thunder, which includes an introduction by Scott Pinkmountain and original artwork by Arrington de Dionyso.

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released December 1, 2012

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Michael Zapruder Austin, Texas

“Michael Zapruder makes beautiful folk-pop ballads resonant of the voice of Rufus Wainwright and wordplay of Andrew Bird" – Pitchfork

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