We rush, a black throng,
Straight upon darkness:
Motes and missions scattered
By the arc’s rays.
Over the bridge fluttering,
It is theater-time,
No one heeds.
Lost amid greyness
We will sleep all night;
And in the morning
Coming forth, we will shake wet wings
Over the settled dust of to-day.
The sky reflects its open expanse to make us larger
The city hurls its cobbled streets after us,
To drive us faster.
Ascertain the darkness
Before endless processions
Push us back.
A clock with quivering hands
Leaps to the trajectory-angle of our departure.
We leave behind pale traces of achievement:
Fires that we kindled but were too tired to put out,
Broad gold fans brushing softly over dark walls,
Stifled uproar of night.
We are already cast forth:
The signal of our departure
Jerks down before we have learned to where we are to go.
— Zumwalt (2011)
some like to read the railroad tracks
reflect on journeys past
some gaze at the sky
anticipate upcoming cloud formations
Some discuss running away
what chases them
what ensnares them in place
Each creates their own universes
Storing them up
Or discarding them in the dumpster with scattered package wrapping and useless electronics
— Zumwalt (2016)
thick trees engulf the hidden spell;
soft streams collide on risen ground;
so much, so fast, so far we go —
then leave the remnants of the trampled dust.
Strangely struggling in Shangri-La
Shaken and stirred beneath the slime
I culpably allow darkening tentacles to disperse my many parts:
the little wisps of attention,
sinister and poisonous,
bend misty claws.
This night keeps extending,
strikingly silent under the depths,
invoking quaking hands above the clouds.
Such despair! The future is vanishing
straddling the light —
the next race waiting
to which such dreams
flickering, fluttering inauspicious celestial butterfly
recklessly spatters dribbling drips of darkened burgundy
over overtaken over-conscientious Cal Poly Pomona Green.
diamanté dimensions collide with an autumn-autumn whisper
merging the flap-flap-flap fanlight florescence with a soft gentle tap
shamefully simmering shimmy-round-sizzling shake-down capabilities.
it seems that this high-speed, high-tech, high-result diet
has made me high-strung;
it streams images in passing of over-charged electrons and fairy-tale fancies
faster than the past registers future impressions of near-miss impacts.
I know that time is slow.
It starts off when I do
but finishes long after I am done.
I know truth is slippery.
It hides in the shadows of possibilities
and then comes out for a quick encore before the opening curtain.
imagination weds speed-dating
to produce a solid business case
for planetary intimidation
when references are required
habitually-blinking, surreptitiously-slinking imagination sneaks away
an overwhelmed waiter serving final meals
to a condemned food-critiquing population
the last bounty of resources one deja-vu moment
bright-light-headlight-headache supernova drought.
The habit of indirection
crouched like an audio-animatronic lion
on the destination end of a high hurdle
we find civilius misdirectus
the final evolution of a long chain of
it feeds on marathon runners, steeple chasers
and pole vaulters
to fill the intervals
between its favorite meal
off the blocks
directed between lines that narrow into the distance
starts the one
that has carefully measured every step beforehand
no decisions to make on direction, distance or depth
no choices to meet, no chance;
no sudden unexpected moments of chasing the effervescent sparkle
with the distant dream so clearly in the sights
it doesn’t seem like a menace
chips and high tech paper-mâché
waiting patiently at the last of so many carefully counted hurdles
and it doesn’t much move
but civilius midirectus
was designed with one purpose
not to entertain
or even to be the king
with no remorse
(except where indicated by legal counsel)
to open its volumnous jaws
and direct a glimmer of personal existence
into a very dark stomach of
but carefully audited
profit and loss statements
— Zumwalt (04/1998)
Missing the dead, more than, I suspect, they miss me, I somberly reflect:
the most recent, smell terribly,
and the long departed are more like fallow soil than fellow souls;
I don’t want them to stagger and stumble like the living dead
or communicate to me while their face parts fall off;
I want to be around them like when they were at their best.
And so I go to memory,
that slippery, somewhat unscrupulous, disobedient vagabond
that tells the same stories and strays from the truth far too often —
each torturous tangle with memory takes something away
and provides nothing new —
this is no consolation for so many losses,
just needless punishment for keeping company with the only companion that cannot die
but only deteriorate.
— Zumwalt (2016)
(This is the original version, now verified as final version.)