Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for November, 2011

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #6

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #6

This and the previous challenge are previews to a pair of challenges that will be posted around early to mid December.  If these first two challenges invoke only limited interest, than that is a good reason for me to re-think the more extensive challenges I have prepared for December.

For this challenge,  please provide a link to a page or post that references a poem on someone’s blog with commentary of your own — whether a note about how you discovered the poem, why you like the poem — or even a full analysis.

Please do not post their text — respect their ownership — just provide a link to their poem on your post or page that responds to this challenge.  (Don’t put a link to their poem on Mr. Linky — put a link to your page or posts that had your comments on the poem plus has a link to the poem discussed.

To explore various poetry blogs start at WordPress/Tag/Poetry and WordPress/Tag/Free-Verse or explore responses to challenges at dVerse.  (For example, links of poets at this week’s Poet’s Pub.)

For challenge introduction and previous challenges please see Wednesday Poetry Challenge IntroductionChallenge #1, Challenge #2 , Challenge #3 , Challenge #4 and Challenge #5. There is no time limit here, these challenges are open until site is forcibly closed down.

To link to you post


If you wish, you can copy the above link and paste at the bottom (or top) of the post or page that contains your response to this challenge.  That gets even more people involved! Just simply copy (as in copy and paste) the Mister Link box above and paste on your post or page.  It’s that easy.  (Thanks to willowdot21 for the idea!)


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, locate a poem on anyone’s blog, read carefully and provide a link to your page or post that references that poem (a link) and has your comments on that poem. You can read hundreds of poems before choosing!

4. Anyone that wishes to see responses can click on the Mister Linky link above to view links.


Since Unkulunkulu had no email

Since Unkulunkulu had no email

The chameleon was sent to say “let them not die”
but tarried, stopping continually to blend in.
The lizard, eventually was sent,
and lost both its tail and part of its message
and before regrowing either,
proclaimed, “let them die.”

And so die they did,
but with death was the message of the chameleon:
invisible when still,
discernible when in motion.

– Zumwalt  2011

(With heartfelt tribute to zendictive’s blog)

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 carnivorous;
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,
often pruned,

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

(Reposted by request of Monica)

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,
put some ships
in reserve,
deny any cease fire
and secretly fill out our battle reports.

-zumwalt (2011)

Giving Thanks!

There is so much to give thanks for this year, both in my personal life and regarding this zumpoems.com site.

Thanks for all those that have visited here!  Special thanks for those that take the time to “like” or rate the poems or comment.  This is just a wonderful treat.

I never expected so much traffic to this site or so many subscribers. Very thankful for the wider exposure this has given Zumwalt and many of Zumwalt’s poems.

Thanks to wordpress.com for proving such an excellent, easy to use platform.

Special thanks to WordPress for featuring this site this week at http://en.wordpress.com/tag/poetry/ (Feature on top right.)

Special thanks to those that have nominated this blog for the Leibster award.  That is a great honor.   I have debated about following the instructions of these nominations and creating a post of five blogs, but cannot choose only five from the many, many great sites out there.  I have tried to provide a platform for showcasing blogs at http://choiceposts.wordpress.com but I know it is not the same, and the traffic is still relatively low, so not much of a way of providing recognition.  Maybe one day… 🙂

Please take a look at those blogs in my blogroll — those are just some of the many great poetry blogs out there.  Also have tried to provide links of must read poems at Excellent Articles and Posts.

The best part of blogging has been discovering the wealth of great poetry and articles out there. I never realized how many truly talented poets are out there until starting up this site. I am  amazed at people like Brian and claudia that are doing so much to further encourage so many poets (check out their http://dversepoets.com/ site if you haven’t already.)  Particularly wish to acknowledge those that always find the time to visit so many poetry sites and provide such encouraging comments to the poets they visit.

Poetry is an activity like jogging or playing tennis that one can do for their own enjoyment, and that in itself is a justification for creating poetry.   I particularly admire those that take this activity to the next level, crafting, revising and ultimately creating poems that provide inspiration, joy or just fun entertainment to others. I have found at least a hundred such poets out there, and for me, many of them are creating work much more interesting than the work found in poetry journals.

So, thank you for visiting, and for those that maintain a blog site, thank you even more!

Wishing all that visit, or avoid visiting, or plain don’t know about this site, a Happy Thanksgiving.  That applies to everyone, in all countries, even those that have never eaten Turkey (or tofu-Turkey) and never plan to!

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 fruit fly 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)

Reposted for dVerse challenge: http://dversepoets.com/2011/11/19/poetics-changes/

The Sassoon Collection: iv. Butter and Eggs

The Sassoon Collection

iv. Butter and eggs

Robust diners, deftly forking in the fat.
O no longer living triglycerides against the heedless tongue
Of buffet and banquet days, what sends them gliding through
This set of dancing teeth?

Theirs are the hungry cadences between
The enraptured chewing of hefty humans that make
Heaven in the booth while second helpings simmer;
And theirs the faintest whispers that hush the desire.

And they are as a released soul that wings its way
Out of the starlit dimness above the moon
And they are the largest beings — born
To know but this, the phantom glare of fullness.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

Stop the chop, chop, chop.

a tree!  A tree!
Since it’s the last one living free
We will grab it quickly for our family.
A Tree!!!

Crop the lower middle to the
Top off!
Chop!!! Chop!!!
Don’t yet Stop!
Hear the Plop!
Chop! Chop!! Chop!!! Chop!!! Chop! Chop! Chop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— Zumwalt (2011)

(see related poem https://zumpoems.com/2011/07/10/theyve-stripped-the-forest-for-babble/)

Zumwalt’s response to http://dversepoets.com/2011/11/17/form-for-all-beth-winter-hosts-staccato-form/#comment-5757  This is, in Zumwalt’s words, “a crime against this staccato form that pales in comparison to crimes against nature.”)

The ball is in our courts

The ball is in our courts

The shirts press the skins
looking for the turnover.

The skins set screens to break the press
and force overtime.

The two teams play
without arena staff,
relying on unknown referees,
the crowd locked out of the building.

It is a territorial sport
that knows no season
and cares little about the ticking of the clock.

It is a rich person’s sport
like shooting barasingha
or showering with Krug champagne.

Would my boss keep me from working
if I refuse a multi-million dollar contract
and fifty-fifty revenue sharing?

Would I be laughed at
if I asked for vacation from May
through September
with October for retraining?

It’s not so much that I worry
about the players or the owners
it’s more about the lost life-risking excavating opportunities
for the mal-nourished children of Sierra Leone and Angola
as demand for diamonds by the NBA elite precipitously declines.

It’s not so much that I worry
about lost revenue for TNT and ESPN —
it’s whether this ultimately means
that Superbowl pregame coverage starts around St. Patrick’s Day.

Nonetheless, I am patient:
I can do without annoying puppet commercials
and twenty-seven-attempts slam dunk contests,

but I have one question
is it much of a game
when it’s not the players,
not the owners
that lose their shirts
but only the arena employees and nearby small business blue-collar workers?

— Zumwalt 2011

The Handcuff King

The Handcuff King

Escape pays for now:
suspend me upside down;
lock glass and steel;
fill fully;
water flowing over.

But if my escapes entertains,
understand that it is my existence.
I can handle building-size milk cans, Chinese water torture cells,
underwater crates and being buried alive.

Faced with flight or forced-fight,
the choice is easy
but understand I must force fight to flee:
no escape is without struggle.

But without escape or the opportunity of one,
I must hang on
and for how long?

Until I burst?

Or until I meet the next world:
the destiny of all that depart?

Explain to me the retreat available:
the extrication that sidesteps;
the evasion that slips the lock,
that springs a liberation.

No,  you know no more than I about withdrawal.
You just know more about staying the course
and that won’t help much
when I need to leave, not the visage of death,
but death itself
and its closely shrouded, tightly bound design.

— Zumwalt (2011)

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