Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for August, 2011

there’s no drought about it

there’s no drought about it

the fountain shouts
with an overwhelming bout of color-lit water
in a passionate fit of fashion it pours out its inner most need
neither avarice nor greed
simply the seed of a self-centered flower.

the thundercloud booms
taking up more room in an overcrowded encounter
its war-torn form pours out scorn on the earth
an attempt to briefly reassert
the importance of a morning shower.

  jack strong and muscularly weighted
  from bench press freight greatly elevated
  struts about the beach
  nakedly painted speedos now activated
            nothing left to chance
            nothing understated
            debating with himself if he’s x or r-rated

  jill scantily clad
  in the latest thonged fad
        lays and bathes in the rays she maintains that she craves
        though she’s here mainly to daze,
        haughtily take off her shades,
        and occasionally faze any stray
              make-a-play braves that come by
              to gaze and throw lines her way.

the ocean roars
as its tidal waves pour onshore to make the sea forcefully screech forth
in a rampage of rage it sweeps the front page
of the island town paper
and make those that survive
cower from it self-asserting power

  i am important!
      i am here!
                  i am!
     not, i am not!

                        i am of significance!
  i am something you don’t see everyday in the bathtub!
  when i chose to be
                        i am not not there!

the little dog
using it claws
digs making an impression
on Peterson’s ground
knowing its work should be remembered after it’s gone
wraps up the morning
by watering the lawn.

— Zumwalt (1990)


Your anonymous blog

Your anonymous blog

To my face you are kindness itself:
cheerful, always upbeat,

but in your anonymous blog
you rip me apart.

You press your thumb and forefinger on each side,
hold, pull and rend,
and rupture my very innards.

You focus on me,
my life, my words, my actions and my body
like you are a Celestron Telescope
searching for every single crater and irregularity.

With an Ultima Barlow lens
and your Leica M9 18MP
You grab each natural image
and then rearrange reality with
your precious, perversely pesuasive, periscopic Photoshop technique.

poetic liberty has leased you a license to assassinate,
severely lambaste,
and mockingly castrate
everything that I identify as me.

literary freedom allows you to liberally fabricate,
scathingly castigate,
and maliciously urinate
on what others think of me.

To my face you are kind beyond selflessness,
but on your online beat,
your anonymous malevolence
sets you apart
from all the others
that have ever wanted
to write me up,
put me down,
and publish me out.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Something Bad

Something Bad

Something bad is coming
Worse than any Grand Funk Railroad Reunion Concert
Worse than watching a full episode of Meet the Kardashians
With all commercials included.

I not only have read about it
I can feel it
So much more bothersome than
Hay fever in May.

It’s the Universal Fender Bender
Havoc beyond compare
It’s Universal Affliction and Ruination
Heavyweight and high-profile kind of stuff.

This universe is dumb
So much stupider than the armadillos that get hit by my little Fiat
This universe is worse than any teen age driver
Not watching where it goes
Or what is coming down the road.

Ten to the ten to the ten to the ten and more universes out there
Outnumbering all the cable channels both regular and High Def
More numerous than all the cockroaches in all the cities on the East Coast
Going any which way they please
Not planning ahead
Or working with the AAA or the highway safety department

More universes than every single observation ever made by every single person
More than every single argument between all the married couples
In all countries
On all existing planets
In all existing galaxies.

Each time you think of a possible universe, it exists!
Unless we all stop thinking there will be more and more and more.

Each universe moving
Some fast
Some even faster
Some inches apart from each other
Concealed behind some hidden dimension
About to turn the corner at full speed.

There’s a collision
A crash
About to occur
Every universe distracted
As if they are texting away
Following their own set of laws
Without regard for any right of way.

There’s a smash-up coming up
Sooner than later
One universe piles into another
With one of those universes being ours in particular
The one that I live in.

I am scared
I know that adding a shoulder harness to my office chair
is not going to be enough.

I am terrified
I cannot figure out
as I make my last will and testament
who I can leave the house and dog to.

Today, tomorrow or maybe later
It is sure to happen
All my plans for no purpose
All my purposes to no point
I panic
Abandoning all my activities
Crawling into the attic
Taking a pen
A flashlight
And a notebook
And wondering
If there is any new thought
I can have that might make this all better
Without creating
One more
Damn reckless

–Zumwalt (2011)

(True, haiku guru: all through!)

Why can it not last?
You’re like a rhyming haiku:
Too much, much too fast.

— Zumwalt (2011)

EDITORS NOTE: This particular short poem, received from Zumwalt last night via email, seems to have meaning at multiple levels, as one would expect. This quasi-haiku could be about one’s lifespan, the duration of a relationship, possibly the duration of a passionate encounter, or very possibly, due to Zumwalt’s interest in physics, about the relatively short life of a super-massive star, the brief duration of artificial atomic elements (like ununoctium which has a half life of less than a thousandth of a second) or the very brief duration of a subatomic particle (the Xi-sub-b referred to in “science delivers” lasts less than a billionth of a second.)

All that said, it seems the poem has some literal meaning, also. Zumwalt subscribed to an automated feed from a haiku blog. Soon Zumwalt was receiving one low quality haiku after another, each apparently written rather hastily. The final straw, it seems, was when Zumwalt received a rhyming haiku. This poem, along with Zumwalt “un-subscribing” to the automated hiaku feed, was the result.

What am I

What am I but a commercial painter
making the same strokes over and over on black velvet nap
always charging the same prices
always settling for less

I know you, too,
paint the same pictures over and over
that’s how I can sell you mine.

— Zumwalt (1991)



My arm fell asleep
one night
and I wiggled my fingers
and then wiggled my hand
and then even my entire arm
yet numbness prevailed.

My heart fell asleep
one night
and I didn’t much care
about the starving children in East Africa
or the endangered whales in Western Alaska.

My brain fell asleep
one night
and I could no longer sort out
why I was here
or where I needed to go.

These tiny thin-tooth bedbugs bite at my body
munching on my toes,
pilfering fluids from my fingertips.

I stay awake itching
but itching only
makes the itching worse.

I, myself, somehow, finally fell asleep one night
and since then
I bounce from night
to night
forgetting everything
that happened in-between.

— Zumwalt (2011)

science delivers

science delivers

Some order off the menu
I fancy what I can fancy;

I imagine whatever I imagine
And science delivers.

Give me a
continually brined,
with drops of venom on the side
just enough to kill a full-grown gorilla.

Then I’ll try a portion of nearly translucent,
cirrus clouds
made of hexagonal prismic plate crystals
converting sunlight
into a dazzling fire rainbow.

Follow that with hundreds of hyper-velocity stars
spit from the galaxy’s center,
millions of years ago
moving more than a million miles an hour
careening through a galaxy
that is held together by
cosmically-aged cold dark matter.

Top it all off with
various flavors of increasingly attractive quarks and anti-quarks:
top and
with various
color charges (red, green, blue),
and electric charge
assembled in
various palatable forms
from simple, garden variety protons and neutrons
to Sigma-sub-bees and Xi-sub-bees
to highly anticipated anti-matter anti-hypertritons.

I imagine what I imagine
and it’s just a matter of time
before science delivers.

What cannot be imagined
will not be.
What cannot be,
will not be imagined.

No price is too high
No wait is too long,
but clearly
being on good terms
with the head chef
some notable advantage.

-Zumwalt (2011)

In contest with a hippopotamus

In contest with a hippopotamus

me and the hippo
to lose weight
at such a frantic yet erratic pace

me and the frutifly vie
to try to not age
to postpone the next stage
to delay each and every turn of every single page

Hey babe! What? I’m staying away from the eggs.
And the butter.
So don’t stay away from me.

Hey boy! Look — I am not old.
I expect to send tingles down your spine,
not receive a courteous nod like you’d give to your great grandmother
several years after she’s been buried.


This dog I have smells.
No bath rids the odor.
No change of diet freshens the breath.
The only remaining option is to the change the dog
for I am getting tired of changing the carpet.

me and the sunset
will meet again
at some appointed time
until then I compete against the shadow it causes the body to cast
seeking any remaining light while vanishing in the darkness

— Zumwalt (May 1991)

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