Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for October, 2011

On an afternoon

On an afternoon

On a breezy summer afternoon
two universes, once far apart,
approached each other
and drawn by forces
not easily understood,
collided
and created the beginnings
of a universe
with different rules and circumstances
than the previous two.

Dense and hot,
close and furious,
with energy beyond any expectation
this new universe started,
expanded,
establishing first an identity
and then a history.

Heat gave way to growth
and sometimes we gave way to each other.

Attraction resulted in collisions
and each left their own marks on the other.

I once knew another universe
so different
but not so long ago.
Now there is only this one
with its own rules
and strange little quarks.

I once grew in another universe
with not such clear boundaries.
It was less predictable
and less complicated
without any out-of-equilibrium decay scenarios
or unexpected violations of time inversion symmetry.

This universe
gave us the nursery:
each star more important
than the universe itself
but adding to and altering its very fabric.

Yet, how could I not notice
that each star had its very own universe
and paid little attention to the grander scheme.
Envious, I was, like the biker who sold his Harley
and had to watch it be driven off the lot.

This universe gave us grandchildren:
each one more precious than any law of physics.

Yet, how could I not note that this
was the measurement of time.

I cannot escape this universe,
I cannot go back to the one I had.
I do not know the difference between you and I
or the underlying nature of this universe itself.

I do not know where your universe went
or what part it played in the one we share.
I cannot see how this universe ends
or if it still depends on you and I.

On a breathtaking, brilliant summer afternoon
two independent universes, each with its own part,
appropriated each other
and created new forces
not easily withstood,
coincided,
and then guided the beginnings
of a universe
with different composition and consequences
than the previously predominate two.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection: ii. A pickle and a black hole

The Sassoon Collection

ii. A pickle and a black hole

Mass and form had the pickle, sweet, sour, tall and straight;
The round black hole collapsing still further then it knew
Made its longest shadow with gravity
A ghostly bridge ’twixt the pickle and space.
But stars, with their continuous day, must pass;
And blustering winds will stretch all gherkins
to which I’ve no measurements to express
the moment of conjunction,
a singularity with no exit
for stars and pickled cucumbers alike.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Third Entry at CHOICEPOSTS

We now have another entry at Choiceposts.WordPress.com!

I encourage everyone to either visit zendictive’s site directly or the feature at choiceposts.

 I am so amazed at the quality, consistency and relevance of Art’s posts.  Please visit and follow zendictive’s blog if you do not already do so.

 

I encourage anyone that wants to be featured at choiceposts to follow instructions and, hopefully, get a little extra traffic to their site as slowly, but surely, more traffic comes into choiceposts.

Best,

Zumpoems.com and choiceposts.wordpress.com Administrator

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #3

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #3

Just to set expectations, these poetry challenges are not intended to inspire you, entertain you, or make you feel better as poet. If that happens, great!  If not, hopefully they will help sharpen your poetry skills over the long run.

So think of this not so much as playing HORSE at the basketball playground, but practicing setting a screen and then rolling towards the basket, over and over, hundreds and hundreds of time until some level of skill is developed.

So for these challenges, you won’t see something like

Write a poem using these ten words:  “easy, simple, softball, ego, who, needs, practice, just, for, fun”

or

Write a Haiku about your summer vacation.

No, in these challenges the focus will be on developing skills and overall awareness of basic poetry rudiments.

However, progress is made by small steps.  We start with very light weights gradually increasing the resistance until we can benchpress more and more.

Also, there is no place in these challenges for altering the challenge itself.  This is not an exercise where the challenge is to write a poem about a horse and then allow half of the participants to decide that they will “sort of” follow the challenge and write a poem about a large dog or a buffalo or some ant that has lost two legs and now has to deal with only four.

These challenges are very specific — and for a reason.

If you are asked to run eight half-mile laps, don’t shrug off the challenge by doing fourteen jumping jacks.

For the next several challenges, starting with this one, the focus is on information management: practice in modifying information, adding information and removing information.

This challenge has three parts.  Either follow this exactly or chose an easier program than this one — one that allows extra trips to the refrigerator and less time in the gym.  😉

First Part:

Take your poem from Wednesday Poetry Challenge #2 and starting at the very first word, count the number of words.

Now divide the number of words by 3, round down (that is, drop the remainder.) This gives you the number of words that you must change in the poem.  For example, if your poem contains 49 words, than change 16 words in the poem.

Meaning of poem can be kept the same or can change. Punctuation can change.

Second Part:

Take the just changed poem and count the number of words.  Divide by 2, rounding up to the next whole number giving you the number of words in the next version of this poem.  For example, if poem contains 49 words, than create a new version of this poem with only 25 words.

Meaning of poem must remain the same. Punctuation can change.

Third Part:

Take the just new poem created in Part Two and count the number of words.

Now divide the number of words by 3, round down (that is, drop the remainder) and this gives you the number of words that you must change in the poem.  For example, if your poem contains 25 words, than change 8 words in the poem.

Meaning of poem must remain the same. Punctuation can change.

Example:

Time has come
for us to leave this island:
a way to do such
must be discovered.

Poem has 17 words.  17/3  = 5 (rounded down to whole number).  Create a new poem changing no more and no less than 5 words:

Fate has commanded
for us to create this nightmare:
a way to  accomplish such
must be discovered.

Note that meaning of poem has changed.

Poem has 17 words, new poem must have only 9 words (17/2 rounded up.)

Fate commands:
create this nightmare.
Fate demands:
Discover how!

Note that meaning of poem doesn’t change.

Poem now has 9 words, replace 3 of these 9 words (9/3)

Fate commands:
invoke dreaded horror.
Fate demands:
Discover how!

Meaning of poem stays the same. 

Another example:

Time
Time
Time
Ticking
Like the restless heart
Informing us
We must move on —
Leave this island.
Now.

becomes

Time
Time
Dripping
Ticking
Like the relentless heart
Telling us
We should move on —
Destroy this island.
Tomorrow

and then becomes

Time,
relentless heart dripping
commands:
leave,
destroy
island
tomorrow.

and then becomes

Time,
relentless heart screeching:
depart,
destroy
island
by tomorrow.

(Notice how one word is dropped and replaced with new word later on.  That is not only acceptable but is encouraged.)

There are two intertwined parts to poetry — information and delivery of that information.  Information is what concepts are to be communicated. Delivery is how that content is communicated: using rhymes, meter or other rhythmic devices, sounds of words, etc.  Indeed, the nature of delivery affects significantly the information delivered and so has an informational aspect to itself, which in poetry may be much more important than the literal message.

For additional details, please refer to Challenge #1Challenge #2  and Wednesday Poetry Challenge Introduction.

There is no time limit here, these challenges are open until site is forcibly closed down.

To link to you post

CLICK ON Mr. Linky IMAGE BELOW:

SUMMARY:

1.  Click on green “Mister Linky” link above.

2. Enter the URL (address of your response to challenge not of your website’s home page) of your post or page that has your response to this challenge.

3. For this challenge, take your reformatted passage from a novel, short story or essay and modfiy per the instructions above. (Change 1/3 of the words, reduce the number of words by a factor of two and then change 1/3 of the words again. )

4. Anyone that wishes to see anyone’s examples can click on the Mister Linky link above to view any and all of responses.

when winning is not enough

when winning is not enough

he like a stunned animal
holds the fragrant unclothed stranger
this remnant of the victory of last night.

she is half asleep
tenderly young
sweet
and so totally a stranger.

he feels like another empty episode has escaped into the ozone layer.
There is not even anything to gnaw on.

he wonders how to wake her up
half asleep
himself.

— Zumwalt (June 1991)

The Sassoon Collection: v. Auto Tunes

The Sassoon Collection

v. Auto Tunes

I keep such music in my car
No din this side of death can quell;
Deep bass booming over tar,
And excess forged in death-metal hell.

My dreaming demons will not hear
The roar of guns that would destroy
My life that no gleeful gloom can fear
Proud-surging passages of painful joy.

To the world’s end I drove, and found
Death in his carnival of hidden stash;
But in this torrent I was drowned,
And music screeched above
the fiendishly beatific
headlight-lit
fiber-glass,
glittering, splintering,
metalliferous crash.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Response to Poetry Challenge #2

In the Course of the Course 
(response to Poetry Challenge #2)

We
grabbingly
latch on
like whining cheesy-cracker-stuffed stubby, chunky children at Legoland
to
these truths,
to
be, been and be self-evident:

All are created equal,
not less, not more,
not borrowed,
not bored,
not bad,
not good,
not misunderstood;

Like Superman from Krypton
well-endowed are we must be
but with unalien rights —

Earth-rights,
rights of life
rights of liberty
rights to pursue our pursuits —

But we cannot fly,
run faster than bullets,
produce more power than locomotives —

So we need,
to secure, protect and enforce,
not some outer-space, displaced, lost-race, straight-laced, de-spectacled face
but our own composite, not so pretty, face
with warts, keloids, pimples, moles, freckles and cysts

termed, short or long, government;
empowered not by one, two octillion ton, yellow sun
but consent of the those that
celebrate, lament, agree, dissent
admire, resent,
are dissatisfied, content,
weak-willed and hell-bent.

And
whenever
any form,
mutant, imprudent, pollutant,
full of self-centered-amusement,
unbalancedly affluent, inimically disputant,
eats more than it should,
swallows the plates and the silverware with the food,
feuds with the stew,
acts crude, rude and so lewdly, nudely intrudes
it is more than okay to open the door
and say
don’t stay,
pray go,
for what are you good for?

And then find a replacement,
build-it-yourself kit,
fit,
more than just a little bit,
to protect
and effect
our best-dressed (with suit, tie and vest)
north, south, east and west,
sometimes blessed, sometimes unblessed,
possibly own-interest stressed and contested,
quite often protested,
unelitist and not easily defeated,
meanest, baddest, sickest, but self-inflicted,
unrepressed, more-is-definitely-not-less,
not too overly stretched something-better-must-always-come-next happiness.

— Zumwalt (2011)

=======================================================

Original Passage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Formatted Passage:

We hold
these truths
to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that among these are
life,
liberty and
the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever
any form
of government becomes
destructive to these ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,

and to institute new government,
laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #2

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #2

With this challenge, you take the prose selection you reformatted for Challenge #1 and convert it into a poem, based on your definition of poem.

For example,

If you found the following prose selection initially:

Time has come for us to leave this island: a way to do such must be discovered.

and reformatted it to

Time has come
for us to leave this island:
a way to do such
must be discovered.

Then your next step is to convert from poetic prose to pure poem.

What is a poem?  What is poetry?  This is based on your own definition and sense of aesthetics.

You may chose to convert the text into poetry by imposing regular meter on the text:

We seek a ship to sail us from this place
And steer us on a course that takes us home

or maybe both meter and rhyme:

We seek a ship to sail us from this shore
to take us to the home we knew before

or maybe you are more inclined to an expressive open style:

Time
Time
Time
Ticking
Like the restless heart
Informing us
We must move on —
Leave this island.
Now.

Taking the example from the opening of Theodor Dreiser’s American Tragedy:

Dusk–of a summer night.

And the tall walls of the commercial heart of an American city of perhaps 400,000 inhabitants–such walls as in time may linger as a mere fable.

And up the broad street, now comparatively hushed, a little band of six,–a man of about fifty, short, stout, with bushy hair protruding from under a round black felt hat, a most unimportant-looking person, who carried a small portable organ such as is customarily used by street preachers and singers.  And with him a woman perhaps five years his junior, taller, not so broad, but solid of frame and vigorous, very plain in face and dress, and yet not homely, leading with one hand a small boy of seven and in the other carrying a Bible and several hymn books.  With these three, but walking independently behind, was a girl of fifteen, a boy of twelve and another girl of nine, all following obediently, but not too enthusiastically, in the wake of the others.

might become

Beneath the dusk some summer night
the stretched up walls of citizens:
such walls in time as lingering tales.

And up a nearby spacious street,
hushed compared to others near,
now walks a little band of six, —
a male past fifty, short and stout,
with  hair extending shyly out
from black felt hat tilting east,
an average man, a normal man
with music from an accordion.

And at his right side walks a woman
perhaps five years still his junior,
taller, well-figured, not so broad,
but solid of frame and vigorous,
very plain in face and dress,
and yet attractive in modest ways,
leading with her hand a boy of seven
her other led by hymns and Gospel.

etc.

So simply take your formatted text from the last challenge and rework it to meet your standards for poetry. You can stop when you consider it to be a poem (as above examples), or keep working it until you consider it a good or even excellent poem.

For additional details, please reference to Challenge #1  and Wednesday Poetry Challenge Introduction.

There is no time limit here, these challenges are open until site is forcibly closed down.

To link to you post

CLICK ON Mr. Linky IMAGE BELOW:

SUMMARY:

1.  Click on green “Mister Linky” link above.

2. Enter the URL (address of response not of your website) of your post or page that has your response to this challenge. (The poem you created from the prose you selected.)

3. For this challenge, take your reformatted passage from a novel, short story or essay and add, modify and add words to keep same general meaning but to make it a real poem based on your own definition of poetry.

4. Anyone that wishes to see anyone’s examples, can click on the Mister Linky link above to view any and all of responses.

The Sassoon Collection: ix. Fight to our Finish

The Sassoon Collection

ix. Fight to our Finish

The bums came back.  Pundits played and bites were flying.
The yearning journalists threshed the backlit words
To trash the warring brutes who’d refrained from agreeing
And hear the shuffled music of fizzled-out accords.
Of all the waste and nonsense they have brought
This moment is the lowest. (So we thought.)

Thumbing their noses to spite the other aisle
Shunning those that broke ranks with thoughts of a deal,
Making all attempts at representing utterly futile.

* * * * * *

I heard the yammering journalists grunt and squeal;
And with their trusting viewers turned and went
To rid us all of those who brazenly overspent.

— Zumwalt (2011)

First Entry at CHOICEPOSTS

Very excited that one of the many fine WordPress bloggers, willowdot21, has submitted a set of links to be featured at Choicposts.com

This takes courage to be the first, especially when we have a blog like this one that contains many personal thoughts and expressions.

I encourage you to go to http://choiceposts.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/willowdot21-an-insight-to-a-heart-mind-and-soul/ and then explore the listed links.

More than that, I encourage you to explore the site.  Several of the more recent posts, written in a poetry/prose format (let’s call this “prositry”) would make great material for a children’s book.  Here are additional links:

Summer Susie

Silver Spring

Magic on the Dance Floor

Winter Wonda

Autumn Annie

%d bloggers like this: