Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘1990s’ Category

The habit of indirection

The habit of indirection

crouched like an audio-animatronic lion
on the destination end of a high hurdle
we find civilius misdirectus
the final evolution of a long chain of
isolated inattentivenesses

it feeds on marathon runners, steeple chasers
and pole vaulters
to fill the intervals
between its favorite meal

off the blocks
directed between lines that narrow into the distance
starts the one
that has carefully measured every step beforehand

no decisions to make on direction, distance or depth
no choices to meet, no chance;
no sudden unexpected moments of chasing the effervescent sparkle
with the distant dream so clearly in the sights

it doesn’t seem like a menace
chips and high tech paper-mâché
waiting patiently at the last of so many carefully counted hurdles
and it doesn’t much move

but civilius midirectus
was designed with one purpose
not to entertain
or even to be the king
but simply
and efficiently
with no remorse
(except where indicated by legal counsel)
to open its volumnous jaws
and direct a glimmer of personal existence
into a very dark stomach of
impersonal
but carefully audited
profit and loss statements

— Zumwalt (04/1998)

she sells sultry sunrises soulfully soaking in seaside’s sensuous sandy satin sheets

down
by the seaside
our love mimics the tide
skipping out on the evening board
you teach me how to body ride

sound
of life’s breath
as a secret’s expressed
the moon strokes
and swells the surfing waves
and seeks salted seas to direct
a final ascent
to their rock, rock, rock bottom depth

I don’t need you
I just need your love
I don’t need to have you love me
I just need you to have me love

the sand is soft
but I see the vicious stony peaks
jagged and lying in the dark

the wind is sweet
but I feel the heat of a scorching sun that has yet to rise

I just want to look in your eyes
But I can’t if they’re closed
I just want to talk on the phone
So don’t change your number

Yesterday I was wearing my Acapulco hat
and some girl who I didn’t have the nerve to talk to told me I was cute
Tonight I own the coast
and you own me

I was down
by the seaside
my love mimicked your pride
skipping out so you wouldn’t be bored
you took me for a body ride

— Zumwalt (1990)

 

 

she started to stop ironing

she started to stop ironing

creases and wrinkles
pouts and interpretations
a phone number from Port Said
left in a pocket

Oh, how the gin fizzes stir
and music concurs
as veils drip like honey

Ah,
how the cover
stays low
so the currency flows
like foot traffic at
the dusty bazaar

“I’ll show you Egypt” has been her most memorable reply
but I doubt her intentions and so plan another solo excursion
hoping that
once I return
that crumpled, rumpled look
will be comfortably cool at work

— Zumwalt (1998)

the wreck of goodwill

the wreck of goodwill

every dime counted
seemed to count itself
but the pennies were the trouble spot
and the cost of all goodwill.

— Zumwalt (1998)

Event Horizon

Event Horizon

the moment has arrived
the moment is over

— Zumwalt (1998)

The relay

The relay

I know I must, but how, I ask;
I must understand that of which to ponder.

                  Action waits for thought,
                  and thought seems far away;
                  action is distrusting.

Is it this or that;
how does this impact that,
how does that get impacted?

         Action’s fate depends on thought;
         if thought runs too far or not enough,
         action is disqualified.

-zumwalt apr ’98

In contest with a hippopotamus

In contest with a hippopotamus

me and the hippo
race
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.

Gee.

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/

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