Zumwalt Poems Online

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The Sassoon Collection: iv. Butter and Eggs

The Sassoon Collection

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.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

Stop the chop, chop, chop.

We
see
a tree!  A tree!
Since it’s the last one living free
We will grab it quickly for our family.
A Tree!!!

Crop the lower middle to the
Top off!
Chop!!! Chop!!!
Don’t yet Stop!
Hear the Plop!
Chop! Chop!! Chop!!! Chop!!! Chop! Chop! Chop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— Zumwalt (2011)

(see related poem https://zumpoems.com/2011/07/10/theyve-stripped-the-forest-for-babble/)

Zumwalt’s response to http://dversepoets.com/2011/11/17/form-for-all-beth-winter-hosts-staccato-form/#comment-5757  This is, in Zumwalt’s words, “a crime against this staccato form that pales in comparison to crimes against nature.”)

The Sassoon Collection: vii. The Manager

The Sassoon Collection

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.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection: ii. A pickle and a black hole

The Sassoon Collection

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.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection: v. Auto Tunes

The Sassoon Collection

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.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection: ix. Fight to our Finish

The Sassoon Collection

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 warring 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.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Sassoon Collection: i. Everyone sang while I fell asleep

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

— Zumwalt (1998)

seeds

seeds

broken imagery scattering pumpkin seeds upon the ground
rhythm shifting, implicating, wildy gesticulating
thoughts bounce over fading ideas which trample upon speculative reflections

give me a word
a simple single word
not an action
not a person, place or thing
not a conjunction, exclamation, article or
worn down, over-taxed modifier

give me a word that creates its own reality

that establishes an impossible set of events

that engages the energy of thoughtful scholars for ages upon ages
creating a library of discussion
and ignites an endless tangle of wars over interpretation

and with that word once given
give me its counterpart

that word
which, so totally complete
and unrelated to anything else,
will dissolve every other word

and then
without apology
dissolve itself.

— Zumwalt 2011

a single word

a single word

words, words, words
static over static
drilling deeply thru the dentine
scraping invasively against skull and skin

your line of supply is inexhaustible
arguments, propositions, explanations
predications, exclamations, excuses
all unecessary barking and bow-wowing
at hidden celestial objects

I am here
don’t chase me away
unless you want me
to be chased away

I am yours
don’t bombard
your own firmly secured posessions with
ammo best saved for those territories still unconquered

give me short compact sentences
phrases and single words
ideas as consumable as quarter pounders

don’t shove a hose down my throat
filling me with mashed escargot and foie gras

words, words, words
I can’t sustain a relationship with them
pelting me from every angle at every moment that
we’re together

take your finger off the trigger
I surrender
make me a prisoner
not a confirmed casualty

words, words, words
they all sound the same
they don’t mean anything
they just demean, meander
and make me end up thinking
that when all is said
I haven’t heard
a single word.

— Zumwalt (1990)

Something Bad

Something Bad

Something bad is coming
Worse than any Grand Funk Railroad Reunion Concert
Worse than watching a full episode of Meet the Kardashians
With all commercials included.

I not only have read about it
I can feel it
So much more bothersome than
Hay fever in May.

It’s the Universal Fender Bender
Havoc beyond compare
It’s Universal Affliction and Ruination
Heavyweight and high-profile kind of stuff.

This universe is dumb
So much stupider than the armadillos that get hit by my little Fiat
This universe is worse than any teen age driver
Not watching where it goes
Or what is coming down the road.

Ten to the ten to the ten to the ten and more universes out there
Outnumbering all the cable channels both regular and High Def
More numerous than all the cockroaches in all the cities on the East Coast
Going any which way they please
Not planning ahead
Or working with the AAA or the highway safety department

More universes than every single observation ever made by every single person
More than every single argument between all the married couples
In all countries
On all existing planets
In all existing galaxies.

Each time you think of a possible universe, it exists!
Unless we all stop thinking there will be more and more and more.

Each universe moving
Some fast
Some even faster
Some inches apart from each other
Concealed behind some hidden dimension
About to turn the corner at full speed.

There’s a collision
A crash
About to occur
Every universe distracted
As if they are texting away
Following their own set of laws
Without regard for any right of way.

There’s a smash-up coming up
Sooner than later
One universe piles into another
With one of those universes being ours in particular
The one that I live in.

I am scared
I know that adding a shoulder harness to my office chair
is not going to be enough.

I am terrified
I cannot figure out
as I make my last will and testament
who I can leave the house and dog to.

Today, tomorrow or maybe later
It is sure to happen
All my plans for no purpose
All my purposes to no point
I panic
Abandoning all my activities
Crawling into the attic
Taking a pen
A flashlight
And a notebook
And wondering
If there is any new thought
I can have that might make this all better
Without creating
One more
Damn reckless
Out-of-control
universe.

–Zumwalt (2011)

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