Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘H’ 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)

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 Handcuff King

The Handcuff King

Escape pays for now:
suspend me upside down;
lock glass and steel;
fill fully;
water flowing over.

But if my escapes entertains,
understand that it is my existence.
I can handle building-size milk cans, Chinese water torture cells,
underwater crates and being buried alive.

Faced with flight or forced-fight,
the choice is easy
but understand I must force fight to flee:
no escape is without struggle.

But without escape or the opportunity of one,
I must hang on
and for how long?

Until I burst?

Or until I meet the next world:
the destiny of all that depart?

Explain to me the retreat available:
the extrication that sidesteps;
the evasion that slips the lock,
that springs a liberation.

No,  you know no more than I about withdrawal.
You just know more about staying the course
and that won’t help much
when I need to leave, not the visage of death,
but death itself
and its closely shrouded, tightly bound design.

— Zumwalt (2011)

hope takes a back seat to Fate

hope takes a back seat to Fate

this bus,
the first and last bus
of the bus stop
where I stop
to catch the bus.

you know it will be allright
it needs to be, right?
being is an extension of
what is about to exist,
of course,
for the best.

a window —
well,
didn’t get one.

the back window?
sure,
except,
why watch what has gone by?

what will be —
ah,
that will be good —
better than now,
passing on the left anything
gone on before.

Fate,
ignores chipper hope
and the constant chattering
but does not look down
on innocent chance.

Fate,
muses not
on circumstances
nor takes
viewpoints or preferred destinations
into consideration.

for Fate
it’s just a steady job.
nothing to get so
serious about
and sooner or later,
all the annoying nattering
will stop
and hope will get off
long gone before
the end of the line.

– zumwalt (1998)

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