Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘C’ Category

call center conversations

call center conversations

reciting written scripts
chattering cattle, chewing and spieling
windward whirling, wheeling and dealing
nouns, adjectives, action verbs
headers, disclaimers, inertia verbs
in this tornado of tomato and avocado
of spineless bombast and spiritless bravado
words take slushy, slippery substance
ringing, plinking, plunking, plucking
abrasively invasive: pocket knives and poison ivy

sarah stays the course, naturally
jessie talks her to the ledge, persuasively

It is a bleak, dark, ever-dimming landscape
Pulling all light in and letting out nothing in return
It is a empty, hollow, endlessly winding corridor
Leading ontologically onward with no chance of finality or redemption

one day, the dentist’s drill locks in and won’t let go
one hour, the need to know triumphs over the need to be known

she, sarah, held her course, intentionally
he, jessie, led with talk, aggressively
knowing that enough noise numbs the nerves effectively
closing the sale
closing the call
but most significantly
closing the office

— Zumwalt (2015)


Cousteau and Darwin Move to Suburbia

Cousteau and Darwin Move to Suburbia

Like pilot fish
Affixed, transfixed
Upon the gluttonous chin
Of the maneater,
We give thanks and
Humbly suck the detritus
From Fate’s
Serrated mandibles.
The irony of Sophocles
Is just the symbiosis
Of little fish
And unevolved vertebrates
Scrubbing their gills
With polluted waters,
Lacking the initiative
To crawl up the bank, and breathe.

— Zumwalt (1981)

carried away

carried away

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

i keep quiet
counting out
the contrast
of continuous quietness.

— Zumwalt  (06/1991)

Can’t Hide

Can’t Hide

With the last paycheck spent on camouflage,
focusing on a mindset made of mirrors,
I attempt to be an object
or better yet be none.

My clothes mimic the variegated prints of nature,
my face is painted much the same.
I stand in the wilderness far away from the Sheridan Square Stop
teaching my heart to copy the various pulses of the forest.

I once sacrificed:
my future and my past for my role in the now;
I once worshipped
fences and gates and directions pertaining to.

With each breath I inhale the cold message of shelter
holding in the truths and surface deceptions
creating a balance between conception and mirage,
accepting the difference between initiation and isolation.

Without the next paycheck
I worry what it means
to not be nothing,
to not be able to hide,
the actual point of submission to everything
being the same:
no distinction.

— Zumwalt (2011)

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