Zumwalt Poems Online

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untitled (Sept. 7, 2011)


thick trees engulf the hidden spell;
soft streams collide on risen ground;
so much, so fast, so far we go —
then leave the remnants of the trampled dust.

–Zumwalt (2011)

formaldehydration


formaldehydration

flickering, fluttering inauspicious celestial butterfly
recklessly spatters dribbling drips of darkened burgundy
over overtaken over-conscientious Cal Poly Pomona Green.

diamanté dimensions collide with an autumn-autumn whisper
merging the flap-flap-flap fanlight florescence with a soft gentle tap
shamefully simmering shimmy-round-sizzling shake-down capabilities.

it seems that this high-speed, high-tech, high-result diet
has made me high-strung;

it streams images in passing of over-charged electrons and fairy-tale fancies
faster than the past registers future impressions of near-miss impacts.

I know that time is slow.
It starts off when I do
but finishes long after I am done.

I know truth is slippery.
It hides in the shadows of possibilities
and then comes out for a quick encore before the opening curtain.

imagination weds speed-dating
timed-release capsules
to produce a solid business case
for planetary intimidation
but
when references are required
habitually-blinking, surreptitiously-slinking imagination sneaks away
like
an overwhelmed waiter serving final meals
to a condemned food-critiquing population
devouring
the last bounty of resources one deja-vu moment
before
the impending
never-ever-ever-ending
bright-light-headlight-headache supernova drought.

-zumwalt 2011

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)

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.)

she sells sultry sunrises soulfully soaking in seaside’s sensuous sandy satin sheets


down
by the seaside
our love mimics the tide
skipping out on the evening board
you teach me how to body ride

sound
of life’s breath
as a secret’s expressed
the moon strokes
and swells the waves of the surfer
and seeks the seas to direct
a final ascent
to their rock, rock, rock bottom depth

I don’t need you
I just need your love
I don’t need to have you love me
I just need you to have me love

the sand is soft
but I see the vicious stony peaks
jagged and lying in the dark

the wind is sweet
but I feel the heat of a scorching sun that has yet to rise

I just want to look in your eyes
But I can’t if they’re closed
I just want to talk on the phone
So don’t change your number

Yesterday I was wearing my Acapulco hat
and some girl who I didn’t have the nerve to talk to told me I was cute
Tonight I own the coast
and you own me

I was down
by the seaside
my love mimicked your pride
skipping out so you wouldn’t be bored
you took me for a body ride

— Zumwalt (1990)

 

 

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)

nevermore


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,
repeatedly
leaving me with less,
never more,
than that which
actually
once
was.

— Zumwalt (2016)

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