— Zumwalt (2012)
The Sassoon Collection
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.
— Zumwalt (2011)
Copyright © 2011
You and I face off
with battleships on secret squares
sequentially taking pot shots wherever we chose.
A thin board separates our lines of sight
A thick carpet, underneath.
This is a sequential game
even when I attack out of turn
each and every move
is built on the one before.
Round after round
we proudly announce
a target square.
Sometimes we hit
Sometimes we miss
But never fail to attack.
Salvo, my friend
When you are most relaxed
and think all is calm waters.
As long as there are ships afloat
There will be missiles launched
across these now choppy seas.
Salvo, my friend
All shots at once
against our better judgment.
As long as there are missiles to launch
There will be ships targeted
aggravating these now choppy seas.
But once it is clear
there is some chance at sinking even one ship
We pull back,
bend the rules,
re-arrange our positions,
put some ships
deny any cease fire
and secretly fill out our battle reports.
In contest with a hippopotamus
me and the hippo
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.
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/
In the Course of the Course
(response to Poetry Challenge #2)
like whining cheesy-cracker-stuffed stubby, chunky children at Legoland
be, been and be self-evident:
All are created equal,
not less, not more,
Like Superman from Krypton
well-endowed are we must be
but with unalien rights —
rights of life
rights of liberty
rights to pursue our pursuits —
But we cannot fly,
run faster than bullets,
produce more power than locomotives —
So we need,
to secure, protect and enforce,
not some outer-space, displaced, lost-race, straight-laced, de-spectacled face
but our own composite, not so pretty, face
with warts, keloids, pimples, moles, freckles and cysts
termed, short or long, government;
empowered not by one, two octillion ton, yellow sun
but consent of the those that
celebrate, lament, agree, dissent
are dissatisfied, content,
weak-willed and hell-bent.
mutant, imprudent, pollutant,
full of self-centered-amusement,
unbalancedly affluent, inimically disputant,
eats more than it should,
swallows the plates and the silverware with the food,
feuds with the stew,
acts crude, rude and so lewdly, nudely intrudes
it is more than okay to open the door
for what are you good for?
And then find a replacement,
more than just a little bit,
our best-dressed (with suit, tie and vest)
north, south, east and west,
sometimes blessed, sometimes unblessed,
possibly own-interest stressed and contested,
quite often protested,
unelitist and not easily defeated,
meanest, baddest, sickest, but self-inflicted,
not too overly stretched something-better-must-always-come-next happiness.
— Zumwalt (2011)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that among these are
the pursuit of happiness.
That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
of government becomes
destructive to these ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,
and to institute new government,
laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
The irreplaceble moment
We passed a law that two things
must not occupy the same space
at the same time.
There were some dissenting votes
and much discussion about how to enforce.
Our representatives had to think of the interests of the constituents mainly,
which, in this case, coincided with the interests of the consituent assembly.
We, the people, needed to have a nice place to live.
We evicted the indigenous
making them all indigent
and our leaders sometimes evicted us
as a matter of common sense and expedience.
We, needed a way to move from place to place.
Metal mines swallowed eco-lifelines,
oil sputtered and splattered
coating the coast
from sea to shining sea.
We, needed something to eat.
Food replaced foul-tasting pests
with the help of
magical chemical tricks.
The fumes were awful
confining us to hospitals.
The country became prosperous
as the food became murderous.
My chainsaw spins and thus once again
repels all like things from its space.
It must create to destroy and destroy to create
following the inviolate rules of time and place.
My friends all slash and burn the best they can.
They may displace,
efface and even disgracefully debase nature’s very own birthplace
but it’s all to simply appropriate our formerly shared estate
through each on-demand phase of
tactically-driven blaze, graze and industrial haze their
own personal haste-makes-waste
Yes, our life may be just a moment but
the damage we do by being a bit too clever lasts forever.
— Zumwalt (2011)