Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘1991’ Category

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/

what soul is not besieged


what soul is not besieged

what soul is not besieged by rotten eggs and soft tomatoes
by answers unreturned and questions unsent
by minutes that make up hours and hours
           that tear down the day

what mind is not put upon and
           once put upon
                           cast off into a corner
what body is not battered and
                   beaten by the blows it shields
itself from

what soul is not bombarded
         by twenty-two gauge shot and mortar fire
by unresolved cadential patterns
         that whine around the head

by invalidation of beliefs and
         of what one has seen and sensed

there is reason to suspect that one can grow
if only the rainy season didn’t last
                                                       the entire year.

—  Zumwalt (1991)

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)

carried away


carried away

 
i now cannot say that this
is not what i cannot say

i keep quiet
carefully
counting out
the contrast
of continuous quietness.

— Zumwalt  (06/1991)

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)

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 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.

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)

propulsive retraction


propulsive retraction

because he retreats she goes after
now convinced that he is more than worthy of her
and when he approaches she retreats
certain that she would be accepting
less
than what she can get

she is unaware of how she is
pulled
and
pushed back and forth like
moonlit
tide of some California beach
she
is only aware of some vague confusion
and exasperation

in this marketplace you look carefully at weight and shape, knowing that
it is impossible to judge
content

in this marketplace you try not to keep a total of cost or the number of
items
taken of the shelf

she momentarily searches to say something
that she can later withdraw
she has aleady forgotten that it always pulls her
hardest
and head first.

— Zumwalt (1991)

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