Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for December, 2011

Full Circle (A rumination in 3 strokes)

Full Circle
(A rumination in 3 strokes)

Stroke the First – Dante’s Laugh

Another cycle eats its tail
	While you’ve killed time
	Hacking through a Frisco fog
And now you’re hit
	Like a mole in headlights
		At the fact
		A circle is endless
Welcome to Limbo
	That flag’s still out there
	Snapping, flapping
		And the crowd’s sweaty
Joke’s on you
Dante chuckles
	As you strap on your spikes
Man – Don’t you know?
	Gotta be hip
	To run with the damned.

Stroke the Second –Odyssean Oddity

In overdrive
Wheels greased
On road
But that ribbon is still stretched to the horizon
	A long licorice lane
	Tugged tenuous to…where?
Dream of flight
	(if you please)
Call it a runway
Call you a cab
They’re just
	Distorted digressions
	By a lightheaded cyclist
	Sailing through a sapped psyche
So split-S
And barrel roll
Down the desolate wind tunnel
Of the vortex of your cortex
You’ll soon discover
A midget aviator can still get wind-sheared
	Fast as you can shout mayday.
When the whitecoats eavesdrop
On your black box
	They’ll start
	To find
You never left the ground.

Stroke the Third – This one’s for you

	Thought you’d spend Eternity
	(Well, maybe just a slice, thanks)
In a beer ad
Grabbing gusto
Well –
	You sucked
	Untold sudsy shadows down
Got your PR buzz
Time to check your itinerary
	When you do
	You’ll spot your spot
On a Mobius strip
Crazy coordinates on a hellish helix
	With nowhere to go
	And no way home
Not to worry
Once more around and
Once you grab that brass ring
You will realize
	It’s mostly air.

— Zumwalt (D.C. ca. 1982)

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #7 and #8

(Starting Date for this Challenge is Jan, 1, 2012 — posted early to provide proper advance notice. Do not start this until the New Year — you can even consider this a New Year’s resolution — will repost this every Wednesday until the New Year.)

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:

Poetry Challenge #8 is similar to Challenge #7 but the poems are all poems by “unestablished” poets posting poems to their blogs.  Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #8 is directly below:


Have a fantastic Holiday Season!

I have had very little time to administer this site, so apologize.  Most of these posts are pre-scheduled.  Appreciate all that find time to visit now and then.  Thanks so much for your interest.

The Sassoon Collection: x. Particle Show

The Sassoon Collection

x. Particle Show

AND still they come and go: and this is all I know—
That from the mind I watch an endless particle-show,
Where wild and listless forces flicker on their way,
With charged and uncharged parts from small stringy strands
Because all spin so fast, and they’ve no place to stay
Beyond the frozen image of imagined lands.

And still, between the shadow and the image made,
The first desire of all of us flings onward, ever betrayed
As in those stimulant years that weight them, and have passed:
All minds must grasp these particles dancing much too fast.

– Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

The Sassoon Collection: iii. Blonde

The Sassoon Collection

iii. Blonde

Her head-weak thoughts that once eagerly gave way
to looks that leapt sure from eye to brain and into heart,
Weaving unconscious promises of love,
Are now thrust outward, dangerously heard from lips to air.
And he who has watched one world and loved it all,
Star-struck with blindness, an ensnared example for pity,
With feeble hopes of attracting a returning glance,
now listens with his ear to the rambling noise.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #8

(Starting Date for this Challenge is Jan, 1, 2012 — posted early to provide  proper advance notice.  Do not start this until the New Year — you can even consider this a New Year’s resolution — will repost this every Wednesday until the New Year.)

As stated in Poetry Challenge #5, the level of participation in that challenge has helped in determining the content of this challenge.

This challenge has been modified appropriately so that participation can range from heavy to light.

This challenge starts with the New Year — a type of New Year resolution.  It is the equivalent of a resolution that for 2012, “I will read a poem a day” — or “I will read a poem a week”

So here it is: for this challenge, read a poem a week from a non-established poet posting at a WordPress or other blog site and capture the link to the poem and include a brief to extended comment on your thoughts, feelings, reaction, learnings, insight, why you like or don’t like the poem, even a full analysis if you wish, etc. in regards to each poem. 

For those that don’t have time for a poem a week, the lighter version of this challenge is a poem a month.

If you are busy on a given week (or month) and miss adding an entry, just read an additional poem the next week (or month) to keep you on target for the year.  If you are doing a poem a week, your goal is to have 52 entries by the end of 2012.  If you are reading a poem a month, your goal is to have 12 entries by the end of 2012. This gives a nice list of other people’s poems that us other readers can reference and explore.

Ideally, you will start this challenge on Jan. 1, 2012.   Once again, if you miss a week (or month) just make up for it with additional entries at some other point in 2012.

You response to this challenge is a page (or post) with entries for each day (or week) which you update.  Creating a page is as easy as creating a post — just chose “Pages” from the right hand WordPress menu, between “Links” and “Comments” 

Here is a sample of such a log that contains a few sample entries.  

Please be sensitive to each rights of ownership and use links to poems as opposed to copying and pasting entire poem.  This also makes this easier to read your journal.  See sample example.

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

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 and read a poem a week (or month) by any relatively unknown poet that posts to a blog site. Follow link with your comments on poem.

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

Example Response For Poetry Challenge #8

Response to Poetry Challenge #8.

This can be done as a page or a post.  Doing this as a post.

Journal for Poetry Challenge #8

WEEK 1: Jan, 2, 2012

Pretty Little Scars by Vampire Weather

I like a strong message but am especially pleased when the mastery of handling words is directed at supporting that message.  This poem does this particularly well!  In addition, this poem allows for enough interpretation to remain interesting and worth re-reading and mixes and contrasts the wanted with the unwanted and rejoices at the result.

WEEK 2: Jan, 11, 2012

Flies by Ben Naga

We all wander about in life somewhat myopically, but some people’s short-sightedness is often at its worst in a relationship: squeezing out promises of freedom from the imprisonment of others.  Ben Naga doesn’t hit us over the head with this message but captures it simply and effectively like a black and white photograph of two flies on opposite sides of a glass pane.

WEEK 3: Jan, 17, 2012

Jacaranda by Poetry & Icecream

Unlike a short story, a poem can exist quite nicely, thank-you, without conflict — relying on beauty alone — just like a flower in bloom — it’s great to see that flower all by itself, I don’t need to see a deer eating away the leaves for the scene to be of interest.

But beauty in poetry is not necessarily effortless.  Often times there is very controlled use of components within a form.

In this case the meter and rhyme work perfectly together.  The meter supports the meaning.  The first two lines are iambs but the third breaks away with “bright” being strong  and foreshadows the next deviation in the third line of the second stanza — “fantasies drifting away”.  Yes, this would still be a nice poem if each line was iambic, but it becomes special as the meter is harnessed to highlight the highlights and emphasize the meaning. The last line is iambic and musical (“upon a sprinkled spread”) which puts the previous line in context against the prevailing iambic rhythm. 

This craftsmanship is not haphazard. Even when a poet is so talented that they do this as second nature, just as a jazz musician improvises great melodic lines that align and contrast with the foundational harmonies, this ability and skill is based on reading lots of poetry and writing lots of poetry. There are no shortcuts to excellence!

The Sassoon Collection: viii. Middle Age

The Sassoon Collection

viii. Middle Age

I heard a creak, and a groan
And felt a twinge of wooden pain
A man running in a crowd
Deep in its shadow he moved.
‘Ugly work!’ thought I,
Gasping for breath.
‘Time must be cruel and proud,
‘Tearing down this body.’

With gutsy glimmering shone
my dignity as the wind grew colder.
This aging man jogs over the hill,
Bent to make the grade
‘There is no gain without further pain’…
Sluggishly passing the trees.
Aches in the joints were shrill,
As unmeasured steps sank into the hard asphalt.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

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