Zumwalt Poems Online

Archive for the ‘O’ Category

Overweight Legionnaires

Overweight Legionnaires

Ripening wine
And a greedy fire
Throw on another log
While the fog coagulates about the limes
And chokes Eboracum
In a clammy shroud.

Hadrian’s Wall’s gone mossy—
Too cold for laid back Latins
Pouring libations
While we watch the
Gonzo Celts
Digging up the peat.

— Zumwalt




serious itch

— Zumwalt (2012)

On an afternoon

On an afternoon

On a breezy summer afternoon
two universes, once far apart,
approached each other
and drawn by forces
not easily understood,
and created the beginnings
of a universe
with different rules and circumstances
than the previous two.

Dense and hot,
close and furious,
with energy beyond any expectation
this new universe started,
establishing first an identity
and then a history.

Heat gave way to growth
and sometimes we gave way to each other.

Attraction resulted in collisions
and each left their own marks on the other.

I once knew another universe
so different
but not so long ago.
Now there is only this one
with its own rules
and strange little quarks.

I once grew in another universe
with not such clear boundaries.
It was less predictable
and less complicated
without any out-of-equilibrium decay scenarios
or unexpected violations of time inversion symmetry.

This universe
gave us the nursery:
each star more important
than the universe itself
but adding to and altering its very fabric.

Yet, how could I not notice
that each star had its very own universe
and paid little attention to the grander scheme.
Envious, I was, like the biker who sold his Harley
and had to watch it be driven off the lot.

This universe gave us grandchildren:
each one more precious than any law of physics.

Yet, how could I not note that this
was the measurement of time.

I cannot escape this universe,
I cannot go back to the one I had.
I do not know the difference between you and I
or the underlying nature of this universe itself.

I do not know where your universe went
or what part it played in the one we share.
I cannot see how this universe ends
or if it still depends on you and I.

On a breathtaking, brilliant summer afternoon
two independent universes, each with its own part,
appropriated each other
and created new forces
not easily withstood,
and then guided the beginnings
of a universe
with different composition and consequences
than the previously predominate two.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Of Contrary Motion

Of Contrary Motion

The notes go 44 this way and 44 that.
You pick the upper half.
The low ones are much more attractive.

How can I boogie-woogie without the bass?
How do you manage staying sweet and serene?

It’s not melody I need, it’s the rumble of solid earth.
It’s not the airy fluff that keeps me filled, it’s the meat and potatoes of life.

As you go up, I go down.
To the right you go,
I am off to the left.

And yet on your rare descents
And my occasional rising up
We meet.

And in those moments,
past the awkard near-collisions,
we again are as one
and forsake our vows of yin and yang.



      Treading on thin lines
   Like a marginal ropewalker
         A lively rosalia
Imitates the chains of population
         And a farandola
   Is forced to associate
         With septuplets.
         Grapes and fapes
   And berries and cherries
     Are often used in wine
   While the stronger stuff
        Will bear no fruit
            But would rather
  Base its structure on grain.
    A foundation falters when
               The edifice
                   Is too
And that is why there are  
                                            building codes
                                 And yet laws may be broken
       And in      such              disasters
                           Man's fate will tumble like a
                                           hippopotamus on 

— Zumwalt (1974)

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