Zumwalt Poems Online


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)

Eartheia


artists_concept_of_collision_at_hd_172555Eartheia

Contented, and taking the path I think less traveled,
And you, unannounced, hit with full force, head on:
Contact unlike anything anywhere in my neighborhood;
And here we are, seemingly billions of years later,
Still intertwined and yet separated:
You out there in the distance,
Sometimes fully seen, sometimes dark, sometimes missing
but always reoccurring,
and, as I view you, I automatically, and of necessity, reflect on your view of me.

-Zumwalt (2016)

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)

Punctured Porcupine


Punctured Porcupine

Banished from Amami Oshima
Along with the pit viper and mongoose
Unclear on underlying circumstances and unspoken utterances
Tentatively testing the brackish toasty waters
Toe after toe
Eyelid after eyelid:
Refigerated, now red-hot, resisting the resolute resilience of
embarrassingly intertwined migrating icebreakers
discreetly disbanding, disentangling devoutly, slow dancing out to sea.

-Zumwalt (2012)

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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