Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

untitled (Sept. 7, 2011)

thick trees engulf the hidden spell;
soft streams collide on risen ground;
so much, so fast, so far we go —
then leave the remnants of the trampled dust.

–Zumwalt (2011)

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formaldehydration

formaldehydration

flickering, fluttering inauspicious celestial butterfly
recklessly spatters dribbling drips of darkened burgundy
over overtaken over-conscientious Cal Poly Pomona Green.

diamanté dimensions collide with an autumn-autumn whisper
merging the flap-flap-flap fanlight florescence with a soft gentle tap
shamefully simmering shimmy-round-sizzling shake-down capabilities.

it seems that this high-speed, high-tech, high-result diet
has made me high-strung;

it streams images in passing of over-charged electrons and fairy-tale fancies
faster than the past registers future impressions of near-miss impacts.

I know that time is slow.
It starts off when I do
but finishes long after I am done.

I know truth is slippery.
It hides in the shadows of possibilities
and then comes out for a quick encore before the opening curtain.

imagination weds speed-dating
timed-release capsules
to produce a solid business case
for planetary intimidation
but
when references are required
habitually-blinking, surreptitiously-slinking imagination sneaks away
like
an overwhelmed waiter serving final meals
to a condemned food-critiquing population
devouring
the last bounty of resources one deja-vu moment
before
the impending
never-ever-ever-ending
bright-light-headlight-headache supernova drought.

-zumwalt 2011

my dog got published

my dog got published

after many rejections,
Fido made the big time
with thoughts bound in leather
and royalties galore

food once from cans
now Fido dines in Cannes
jettsetting with Riveria rovers
and roveresses

Our cat hacks away
writing a blog that no one reads
adding a new entry every time
she gets tired of tangling yarn

The unexamined bone is not worth burying
Discover more by playing than behaving
Chase only the car that cannot be caught

Write about what you know, we tell our cat,
but cats are stubborn
and don’t take to guidance or suggestions

Fido made the big time
and the big time made Fido
to the point that Fido
is at the whistle and call
of his reputation

Fido eats well, but now waddles as he walks the walk
that all celebrated dogs must be led down

Spare the rug, spoil the carpet
You miss one hundred percent of the hydrants you never stop at
Some slippers are to be tasted and a few chewed and digested

He who barks last barks loudest
He who bites first bites longest
He who backs away, fights off fleas another day

This is our cat on the keys
typing into the electronic void
and on top of it all
living the life.

— Zumwalt (2011)

keptomania

keptomania

gather all that gathers up
To grab for good as gravy should be grabbed
To claim one’s stake for keeping sake
and reserve away from all

greed and gluttony strapped in gunnysack
gimply put away all the wayward weighs
wasted once and recycled past

kept pets,
kept toys,
kept keys to control access

slaves, maids,
husbands, wives,
siblings, offspring
access to premium cable

I seize the day and don’t let go
I am stuck in the ultra-glare of the sun
we are at a standoff
I must have it
but it hides soon enough
hurried away by the horizon

the thief
like the state
thinks nothing is ours

the state
like the thief
wants it all
until ours is nothing

I control the corner
when I step out of
the crosswalk lines
I watch how the cars
must veer away

should we go for it all
or issue stop losses
trailing furtively at the underbelly of bollinger bands?

grace and forgiveness
get in the way of my layaway plan
I put something down
and say it’s mine

keep it
keep up
keep going
keep alive
keep quiet

keep house
keep around
keep open
keep close
keep away

keep at it
keep up with
keep in touch
keep me in mind

keep busy
keep track
keep on truckin’
keep a tune

keep good counsel
keep your independence
keep your word
keep you from harm

keep regular hours
keep the right time
keep up appearances
keep appointments

keep the peace
keep the law
keep good company
keep the ball rolling
keep a secret
keep the correct time

keep them in sight
keep your cool
keep your powder dry
keep your hat on
keep your mouth shut
keep your hands off
keep an eye out
keep at arm’s length
keep your nose clean
keep a stiff upper lip
keep a close watch

keep the car running
keep the dogs out

keep the faith
keep the commandments
keep the sabbath

keep the straight and narrow
keep them on the edge of their seats
keep them against their will
keep the wolf from the door

keep down a good man
keep it in your pants
keep it together
keep the change

keep me company
keep me posted
keep me going
keep what we have

keep it away
keep it in good taste
keep it moving along

keep the prize
keep it all
keep what you can
keep what’s left
keep deluding yourself
that you only own what you have
and you only have what you own
keeping one thought all along
and keeping for keeps
(both liked and unliked,
marked up, marked down,
taken, unlocked,
cracked, hacked and uncaulked,
packages, kits, kilts, kippers, woks and yaks,
hooks, corks, kimonos, kimchee, caskets and casks,
books, backpacks, rakes, cakes, and wrinkled,
crinkled tickets for the clack-clack rackety tracks of oft-mocked,
poky,
flaky,
shaking,
creaking,
slinking,
sinking, red-inking,
budget-breaking Amtrak)
keepsakes for the sake of keeping

— Zumwalt (2011)

no purchase necessary

no purchase necessary

available
conveniently
select and seize

no contract
no lease
no terms
no conditions

the wild sunbreezed days
spawning and spawned
extra innings without fouls or errors
endlessly imaged in a corridor of mirrors

cloud nine working overtime
free and without obligation
but paradise has a hidden cost
when it is ultimately misplaced

no clue,
no expectation,
no indefinite hunch
no single crumb to munch
just the indigestion
of a bait and switch free lunch
which in retrospect,
not an attractive offering,
even though free,
and initially,
relatively
needily/speedily
back-seat, magic-carpet-ride breezily easy.

— zumwalt (2011)

hairytoes

hairytoes

By being able to select
from unlimited, boundless choice
I confuse a frightened mosquito mind with
possibilities and potentials

and so I restrain
and constrain my selections
by a dreamed reality
that has up/down,
right, left
front back and
then and now (now and then.)

So much like Crazy Eights, Monopoly and countless sit-coms
there is a start and end:
a start I don’t remember but have been retold,
an end that I can’t know or even squint at.

My hairy sister has hairy toes
but we keep her in a closet amongst the clothes
and pinch her cheeks with feigned hospitality:
a time-tested approach to growing this pretended, sequential, unexplainable, territorial reality.

— zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection

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

ii. A pickle and a black hole

Mass and form had the pickle, sweet, sour, tall and straight;
The round black hole collapsing still further then it knew
Made its longest shadow with gravity
A ghostly bridge ’twixt the pickle and space.
But stars, with their continuous day, must pass;
And blustering winds will stretch all gherkins
to which I’ve no measurements to express
the moment of conjunction,
a singularity with no exit
for stars and pickled cucumbers alike.

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.

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.

v. Auto Tunes

I keep such music in my car
No din this side of death can quell;
Deep bass booming over tar,
And excess forged in death-metal hell.

My dreaming demons will not hear
The roar of guns that would destroy
My life that no gleeful gloom can fear
Proud-surging passages of painful joy.

To the world’s end I drove, and found
Death in his carnival of hidden stash;
But in this torrent I was drowned,
And music screeched above
the fiendishly beatific
headlight-lit
fiber-glass,
glittering, splintering,
metalliferous crash.

vi. The imperfect cook

I never ordered something to be perfect,
Though often I’ve asked for fiery spicy or without sugar as a small invasion
Of mastering cooking.

I never asked that your dishes
Might stand, unburnt, moist and savory
Pointing the way toward gastronomical peaks like a sign-post.

Oh yes, I know the way to the heart is easy.
We found the little menu of our passion
That all can share who walk the road of gourmands.
In wild and succulent feasting we stumbled;
And sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy senses.

But I’ve grown sated now. And you have lost
Your early-morning freshness of surprise
At creating new dishes.  You’ve learned to fear
The gloomy, stricken places in my stomach
And the occasional indigestion that haunts me later.

You made me fat; and I can still return
for seconds, the haven of my lonely pride:
But I am sworn to partake of variety
the blossom from invention and disparate exploration
And there shall be no follow-up in a failure;
Since, if we ate like beasts, the plates are clean
And I’ll not redirect portions of portions to pets under the table.

You dream endless assemblies of culinary masterpieces
Yet, in my heart, I dread average results
But, should you grow to hate my critiques, I would ask
No mercy from your feelings. I’d have you turn from the stove
And look me in the eyes, and laugh, and suggest take-out.

Then I should know, at least, that taste prevailed
Though flavor had died of wounds. And you could leave me
unfamished in an atmosphere of ongoing appetite.

vii. The Manager

‘Good-morning; good-morning!’ the well-rested manager said
When we worked through the night to finish on time
the urgent assignment he failed to review and release
until late afternoon.

And we mock his insincerity as a matter of routine:
‘I work for you’, ‘What can I do to help you finish this sooner?’
As our stomachs growl from the coffee machine brew
But nonetheless still polite to his face
since by his judgment alone is our performance scored.

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.

ix. Fight to our Finish

The bums came back.  Pundits played and bites were flying.
The yearning journalists threshed the backlit words
To trash the bickering brutes who’d refrained from agreeing
And hear the shuffled music of fizzled-out accords.
Of all the waste and nonsense they have brought
This moment is the lowest. (So we thought.)

Thumbing their noses to spite the other aisle
Shunning those that broke ranks with thoughts of a deal,
Making all attempts at representing utterly futile.

* * * * * *

I heard the yammering journalists grunt and squeal;
And with their trusting viewers turned and went
To rid us all of those who brazenly overspent.

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.

Copyright © 2011

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