Zumwalt Poems Online

Voortrek


Voortrek

Twisting and deforming
Raging daemonic forces
Scream across the veldt.
              Corkscrew clouds
              Peeling off our thin, Formica-top civilization.

                            No Oz awaits;
                            Dorothy and Toto have headed for the shelters.
                            The only Munchkins, mutants.

Your fault
My fault
No fault.

              We pulled the cork,
              The Jinn gave their notice;
              And History’s in its familiar whirlpool
              With vertigo the fashion of today.

Like hunkered hedgehogs
Curled in spherical,
Lance-backed laagers,

We have one option:

              Shut our eyes
              And wait for the dust to settle.

– Zumwalt (1981)

mental block


mental block

spiraling parapet spinning passages
sweeping the bleakness
clouds sail skimming the
gravy scum of lifetimes of labor.

I know
of what you go
and where you want
but pretense
the avenger of moonglow
cries out against all that is anguished

and taps on the counter
like the frozen ballerina
on the shoulders of your shoelace.

– Zumwalt (1980s)

Hands Off, Bob Avakian!


Hands Off, Bob Avakian!

Shuffling
— In dark and dank
Howling
— A dialectic chant.

Genuflect to the rotund Mongol
Take, eat
This is my body
Of confusing, Confucian
Union by laws.
“Forgive me, Dad:
            I did a Tenzing Norgay
            On the north gate of the White House.”
“Ego te absolvo –
            You did it for the proles.”

– Zumwalt (1981)

keptomania


keptomania

gather all that gathers up
To grab for good as gravy should be grabbed
To claim one’s stake for keeping sake
and reserve away from all

greed and gluttony strapped in gunnysack
gimply put away all the wayward weighs
wasted once and recycled past

kept pets,
kept toys,
kept keys to control access

slaves, maids,
husbands, wives,
siblings, offspring
access to premium cable

I seize the day and don’t let go
I am stuck in the ultra-glare of the sun
we are at a standoff
I must have it
but it hides soon enough
hurried away by the horizon

the thief
like the state
thinks nothing is ours

the state
like the thief
wants it all
until ours is nothing

I control the corner
when I step out of
the crosswalk lines
I watch how the cars
must veer away

should we go for it all
or issue stop losses
trailing furtively at the underbelly of bollinger bands?

grace and forgiveness
get in the way of my layaway plan
I put something down
and say it’s mine

keep it
keep up
keep going
keep alive
keep quiet

keep house
keep around
keep open
keep close
keep away

keep at it
keep up with
keep in touch
keep me in mind

keep busy
keep track
keep on truckin’
keep the tune

keep good counsel
keep your independence
keep your word
keep you from harm

keep regular hours
keep the right time
keep up appearances
keep appointments

keep the peace
keep the law
keep good company
keep the ball rolling
keep a secret
keep the correct time

keep them in sight
keep your cool
keep your powder dry
keep your hat on
keep your mouth shut
keep your hands off
keep an eye out
keep at arm’s length
keep your nose clean
keep a stiff upper lip
keep a close watch

keep the car running
keep the dogs out

keep the faith
keep the commandments
keep the sabbath

keep the straight and narrow
keep them on the edge of their seats
keep them against their will
keep the wolf from the door

keep down a good man
keep it in your pants
keep it together
keep the change

keep me company
keep me posted
keep me going
keep what we have

keep it away
keep it in good taste
keep it moving along

keep the prize
keep it all
keep what you can
keep what’s left
keep deluding yourself
that you only own what you have
and you only have what you own
keeping one thought all along
and keeping for keeps
(both liked and unliked,
marked up, marked down,
taken, unlocked,
cracked, hacked and uncaulked,
packages, kits, kilts, kippers, woks and yaks,
hooks, corks, kimonos, kimchee, caskets and casks,
books, backpacks, rakes, cakes and wrinkled,
crinkled tickets for the clack-clack rackety tracks of oft-mocked,
poky,
flaky,
shaking,
creaking,
slinking,
sinking, red-inking,
budget-breaking Amtrak)
keepsakes for the sake of keeping

– Zumwalt (2011)

Two Decade Hangover


Two Decade Hangover

An oscillating madness
Like the twenty-year howl
Of impotent hyenas—
Shrill
Shrieking
Schlock—
Blows the encumbering cobwebs
And reveals the
Fundamental dry rot.
Crewcuts
Brylcream
Primal chords
Jerk the memories and mores
Back to the visceral
Atavistic anarchy
Spotlighting Spengler
             As an optimist.

– Zumwalt (1981)

as good as buried


as good as buried
so ball-drained
cause he has to have a chick
                             on the kick

a boomer today and a blow-out tomorrow
he thinks he’s a cool aviator
but it’s not so cool where he always ends up:

another piece of debris among floaters
and when he’s back on the ground
his gears are jammed

for the pleasure has turned to pain
and will remain
until another connection.

– Zumwalt (1974)

Overweight Legionnaires


Overweight Legionnaires

Ripening wine
And a greedy fire
Throw on another log
While the fog coagulates about the limes
And chokes Eboracum
In a clammy shroud.

Hadrian’s Wall’s gone mossy—
Too cold for laid back Latins
Pouring libations
While we watch the
Gonzo Celts
Digging up the peat.

– Zumwalt

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