Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for July, 2011



She radiates brilliance based on fine features,                 
               good form and skillfully applied cosmetics.
He balances confidence and accessibility 
                    with an unerring certainty of success.
The universe is expanding,
Inflation rampant,
Stretching everything more than any yoga instructor would 

Our planet is stuck in motion 
           at hundreds of thousands kilometers per second.
I stock up on Dramamine and Ginger Ale.

She worries that she will never see him again.
He is lost in the business of the day.
These galaxies race away from us faster than 
                              the speed of light
And are accelerating more each trillionth of a second.

Some Alien out there has calculated that 
            this is the last week to 
                      DVR an episode of the Game of Thrones
before losing all contact.
Some Star Watcher is now 
            stuck with a static picture 
                   of this faraway galaxy from here on out.

She is not simply a set of particles: 
                                she is moving very fast.
In relation to her changing position in space, 
                                he is moving even faster.

This universe is not stable;
It strays too far from itself
Running away from a past that was too small.

This universe is accelerating
As if it has immunity from moving violations
Or has appropriately mounted a very good radar detector.

One day her particles and his
Will dance tumultuously in the debris encircling some 
                                             infant sun
Or get pulled into a 
    black hole.

She radiates,
He balances,
The universe inflates,
Stretching everything way beyond belief
And ultimately, slightly out of reach.

— Zumwalt (2011)


nominal thought

nominal thought

Without forms, phones and Facebook,
there’s not much need to have a name when you’re dead.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Of Contrary Motion

Of Contrary Motion

The notes go 44 this way and 44 that.
You pick the upper half.
The low ones are much more attractive.

How can I boogie-woogie without the bass?
How do you manage staying sweet and serene?

It’s not melody I need, it’s the rumble of solid earth.
It’s not the airy fluff that keeps me filled, it’s the meat and potatoes of life.

As you go up, I go down.
To the right you go,
I am off to the left.

And yet on your rare descents
And my occasional rising up
We meet.

And in those moments,
past the awkard near-collisions,
we again are as one
and forsake our vows of yin and yang.

Better than

Better than

The land and water is haunted with beasts.
Some are carnivorous;
Some are microscopic;
None are smart like us
or entitled to dine at a good restaurant.

They think, we think, but differently.
None speak Mandarin or Cape York Pidgin English.
They have offspring and some care for their young,
Some eat their young,
But not a one makes contributions to a college fund.

I can wear them as hats, or mount them on my wall
But I can’t suffer this idea that they deserve representation in Congress.
I can grill them on coals, or tie them to my sled
But I won’t consider giving them my email address.

Evolution is a dusty and poorly mapped path
Nonetheless, it does not cross upon itself
And head back many miles
So that one easily confuses the end with its beginning.

It doesn’t jump from amoebas to mudfish and then back down to insects
then jump up to chimpanzees, over to worms and across to chihuahuas.

It progresses steadily, more or less,
from moss to shrimp to clown fish
to red-legged frog to crocodile
and then on to penguin or duck,
next visiting the platypus,
on to rabbits and rats
and terriers and tigers,
or lemurs and monkeys
and gibbons, gorillas,
bonobos, and our friends next door,
the Millers.

At the top are we,
and granted certain privilege and priority.
We can extend our parking lots
and re-engineer the best sun-bathing spots.

At the peak are we
with our rhubarb pie and peach-ginger iced tea.
We have power of attorney to set fires to ancient trees
and reclaim land from the South China Sea.

The air and ocean is haunted with creatures.
Some are carniverous;
Some are microscopic;
None should have free trespass without our permission.

We should put up security gates
And start up detailed dossiers.
Every genus should have a dedicated database;
Every species captured in a redundant set of disk arrays.

They may think that we think they are not much different than we
But none speak Mandarin, Hindi, Hungarian or Burmese.
They have offspring so that their lineage continues on
But that’s up to us and little to do with them.

We may not hang on.
We are a destructive bunch
With a vicious knock-out punch.

We may not survive the dawn,
but if we do manage to last
and hold on as the entitled upper class
they need to take note
most carefully
that we not only own all we buy, lease or see
but in the end,
we can certainly ensure
that none of them,
or at their leisure,
pass us
on any given branch
of the post-Darwinian,
well groomed,
often pruned,

— Zumwalt (2011)

manic defensive

manic defensive

you increasingly tax yourself
draining resources
to protect against countries not yet on any map
increasing the deficit
inadvertently but effectively inhibiting productivity

you increasingly ask yourself
about potential dangers
unseen, unheard, and unimagined
escalating this monologue
extending your enclosure
inappropriately but efficiently prohibiting new activity

this enemy is inescapable

this enemy is indefinable

we watch where once was wonder
is preemptive concern
we watch where once was welcome
is just an overly aggressive strategy
to avoid getting irreparably burned

you build a war-head-woven, awkwardly weaponed wall that uses every available resource
to protect against inadvertent encroachment
or accidental contact

you endlessly engineer an increasingly entangled, enemy-engaging entrapment
that escalates every single skirmish into another world war.

this enemy is exactly
as you imagine

this enemy is kept alive
by every single missile that is manufactured for your future use

you say it’s time to end this all
either by self-destruction or surrender
you understand that victory is not a condition
only just the irreversible promise of more bloodshed yet to come

–Zumwalt (2011)



Time is a concept
By which we can relate energy and space.
I’ll say it again,
Time is a concept
By which we can relate energy and space.
I don’t believe in time zones.
I don’t believe in time clocks.
I don’t believe in the World Time Server.
I don’t believe in timeshares.
I don’t believe in Daylight Savings Time.
I don’t believe in egg timers.
I don’t believe in timesheets.
I don’t believe in quality time.
I don’t believe in real time applications.
I don’t believe in Time Magazine.
I don’t believe in time outs.
I don’t believe in the New York Times.
I don’t believe in railway timetables.
I don’t believe in reunions in Times Square.
I don’t believe in triple overtimes.
I don’t believe in Time Travel.
I don’t believe in the end of time
I don’t beleive in the beginning of time
I don’t believe in Once Upon a Time!
I just believe in space,
space and energy.
And that’s reality.
The poem is over.


propulsive retraction

propulsive retraction

because he retreats she goes after
now convinced that he is more than worthy of her
and when he approaches she retreats
certain that she would be accepting
than what she can get

she is unaware of how she is
pushed back and forth like
tide of some California beach
is only aware of some vague confusion
and exasperation

in this marketplace you look carefully at weight and shape, knowing that
it is impossible to judge

in this marketplace you try not to keep a total of cost or the number of
taken of the shelf

she momentarily searches to say something
that she can later withdraw
she has aleady forgotten that it always pulls her
and head first.

— Zumwalt (1991)

They’ve Stripped the Forest for Babble

They’ve Stripped the Forest for Babble

Reams and reams
             The black-ink symbols innundate
             Flooding consciousness with printed words
                                          that possess
             Definitions but know no meaning
            political history of Byzantine hydraulics.
                        Dewey decimal has run rampant
                        Chasing, haunting, even lurking
                                  in the restroom
                        Parasitically clinging to the walls
 Stark and blatant waste or frivolous gaud
                        Venus dies --
                                   --    nonsensical nausea                       
                        The ice-age is returning

— Zumwalt (1974)



      Treading on thin lines
   Like a marginal ropewalker
         A lively rosalia
Imitates the chains of population
         And a farandola
   Is forced to associate
         With septuplets.
         Grapes and fapes
   And berries and cherries
     Are often used in wine
   While the stronger stuff
        Will bear no fruit
            But would rather
  Base its structure on grain.
    A foundation falters when
               The edifice
                   Is too
And that is why there are  
                                            building codes
                                 And yet laws may be broken
       And in      such              disasters
                           Man's fate will tumble like a
                                           hippopotamus on 

— Zumwalt (1974)

Alizarian Grand Slam

Alizarian Grand Slam

         Manifest crescendos
Homeopathically kneepanning Santa Fe plethora
  Safely soaking with the mangoes.  Are there
         Any removable transversals
      Balancing on the Pawnee Indian?
       Saliva adorns my peanut butter.

— Zumwalt (1973)

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