Zumwalt Poems Online

Imperfect information

Imperfect information

You and I face off
with battleships on secret squares
sequentially taking pot shots wherever we chose.

A thin board separates our lines of sight
A thick carpet, underneath.

This is a sequential game
even when I attack out of turn
each and every move
is built on the one before.

Round after round
we proudly announce
a target square.

Sometimes we hit
Sometimes we miss
But never fail to attack.

Salvo, my friend
When you are most relaxed
and think all is calm waters.

As long as there are ships afloat
There will be missiles launched
across these now choppy seas.

Salvo, my friend
All shots at once
against our better judgment.

As long as there are missiles to launch
There will be ships targeted
aggravating these now choppy seas.

But once it is clear
there is some chance at sinking even one ship
We pull back,
bend the rules,
re-arrange our positions,
midway,
put some ships
in reserve,
deny any cease fire
and secretly fill out our battle reports.

-zumwalt (2011)

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Comments on: "Imperfect information" (1)

  1. I love how you build the central metaphor, the iterations, the secrets; you employ it all to great effect. The competition heightens and then reality strikes, someone will lose. Thank you for steering me to it in your comment. So you know, my poem from a couple weeks ago, terriculous vulnerability, is now public again.

    Like

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