Zumwalt Poems Online

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Another Zumwalt quote


When art imitates life by eating and reproducing, we are in trouble.

– Zumwalt.

MID-FLIGHT


MID-FLIGHT

We rush, a black throng,
Straight upon darkness:
Motes and missions scattered
By the arc’s rays.

Over the bridge fluttering,
It is theater-time,
No one heeds.

Lost amid greyness
We will sleep all night;
And in the morning
Coming forth, we will shake wet wings
Over the settled dust of to-day.

The sky reflects its open expanse to make us larger
The city hurls its cobbled streets after us,
To drive us faster.

Ascertain the darkness
Before endless processions
Of lamps
Push us back.
A clock with quivering hands
Leaps to the trajectory-angle of our departure.

We leave behind pale traces of achievement:
Fires that we kindled but were too tired to put out,
Broad gold fans brushing softly over dark walls,
Stifled uproar of night.

We are already cast forth:
The signal of our departure
Jerks down before we have learned to where we are to go.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Strangely struggling in Shangri-La


Strangely struggling in Shangri-La

Shaken and stirred beneath the slime
I culpably allow darkening tentacles to disperse my many parts:
the little wisps of attention,
sinister and poisonous,
bend misty claws.
This night keeps extending,
strikingly silent under the depths,
invoking quaking hands above the clouds.
Such despair! The future is vanishing
straddling the light —
the next race waiting
to which such dreams
withering victims
aspire.

-Zumwalt (2016)

nevermore (original version)


nevermore

Missing the dead, more than, I suspect, they miss me, I somberly reflect:
the most recent, smell terribly,
                and the long departed are more like fallow soil than fellow souls;
I don’t want them to stagger and stumble like the living dead
or communicate to me while their face parts fall off;
I want to be around them like when they were at their best.

And so I go to memory,
that slippery, somewhat unscrupulous, disobedient vagabond
that tells the same stories and strays from the truth far too often —
each torturous tangle with memory takes something away
and provides nothing new —
this is no consolation for so many losses,
just needless punishment for keeping company with the only companion that cannot die
but only deteriorate.

— Zumwalt (2016)

(This is the original version, now verified as final version.)

my dog got published


my dog got published

after many rejections,
Fido made the big time
with thoughts bound in leather
and royalties galore

food once from cans
now Fido dines in Cannes
jettsetting with Riveria rovers
and roveresses

Our cat hacks away
writing a blog that no one reads
adding a new entry every time
she gets tired of tangling yarn

The unexamined bone is not worth burying
Discover more by playing than behaving
Chase only the car that cannot be caught

Write about what you know, we tell our cat,
but cats are stubborn
and don’t take to guidance or suggestions

Fido made the big time
and the big time made Fido
to the point that Fido
is at the whistle and call
of his reputation

Fido eats well, but now waddles as he walks the walk
that all celebrated dogs must be led down

Spare the rug, spoil the carpet
You miss one hundred percent of the hydrants you never stop at
Some slippers are to be tasted and a few chewed and digested

He who barks last barks loudest
He who bites first bites longest
He who backs away, fights off fleas another day

This is our cat on the keys
typing into the electronic void
and on top of it all
living the life.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The Grand Panjandram


The Grand Panjandram

In dark draped light, they set the stage with positively pessimistic preposterous pronouncements:
                               open-ended, close-minded —
                                                             an onslaught of oozing, slimy, backbiting, backstabbing, bamboozling, bath-bubble babble.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers but where the heck is the peck that Peter Piper picked?

Blame the government! Blame the moderators! Blame the other politicians!

Blame the prosperous! Blame the lazy, liberal-influenced, moral-obliterating, freeloading nameless discontents! Blame blame, but oh, so blamelessly….

Our media plays politics, shamelessly positioned cross-legged on the tracks of the central station throwing rocks at the podiums of the office seekers and office sitters who madly craft the nightly news peering over the simmering cauldron as they add tortoise ears and bat eyes to their brew.

They know nothing is knowable; the perception of reality is reality: reality is only what is perceived.

I had a little nut-tree, nothing it would bear, but nuts are scattered everywhere along with rampant fear. Predictably, my mind wanders until there is no more silliness to hear while my unsuspecting stomach growls as the choruses of the shameless masses cheer.

I know reality.

It is that thinner-than-thread string that connects one thought to another and one moment to the next.

I know consequences. These are things that happen in direct proportion to lack of diligence.

The end follows the beginning; but also sets up every new beginning. Each possibility is the result of each result.

I will set aside my expectations — of what reality should be — to go along with the ride. It will ultimately lead to the next ride and at some point there will be a chance to get off, walk away and look back at the vast, almost infinite, devastation.

— Zumwalt (2016)

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
invasively
inexorably
knowing that enough noise numbs the nerves effectively
permanently
closing the sale
closing the call
but most significantly
closing the office

— Zumwalt (2015)

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