Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘1998’ 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)

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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

The Sassoon Collection: i. Everyone sang while I fell asleep

The Sassoon Collection

i. Everyone sang while I fell asleep

voices wailing around the house
thud of feet and slam of doors
everyone singing
only the clocks wind down

around this small room
no sense of the hour
crowded with lemonade breath
high-pitched voices like hounds in pain
as clouds hover over my eyes

fighting sleep with the fork from my dessert plate
not yet ready to go where the dreams are built
where you take reality with you so as not to be alone
dragging it by its rough cotton shirt collar

the sweet faces become sweet voices
despite the liberty with so many of the notes
the lights descend and take colors
whirling into a vortex that kicks out dimensions
like KTEL reissuing fragments from the past

falling asleep
the hounds now cooing like herons drugged by too many Hershey bars
the darkness becoming home (but without any furnishings)
everything fading into peace
except for one small lingering concern
for everything unfinished

— Zumwalt (1998)

possession

possession

this line is mine

— zumwalt (1998)

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