Zumwalt Poems Online

Posts tagged ‘afterlife’

Message to Ida Straus

Message to Ida Straus

Don’t ask me where —
send her this message
and do more than that:
get a reply.

What happens after the wave takes you off the deck chair
and the water floods your senses
freezing your skin, bones
filling up your lungs
topping them off for the long journey?

Where do you go?

How do you go?

What unexpected toll roads demand offerings?

Must you give?
Do you give?
And if so, what?

Are you totally passive as
you are guided (or perhaps coerced, kidnapped?) and taken far away

Or is there
far,
close,
up,
down,
across
or even left and right spin?

Does space and time collapse, dissipate, solidify
or
are they a porthole,
barrier or,
maybe along with energy,
exposed outright as some new media hoax?

Tell me Ida.
Please.

Are you in heaven?
Are you suffering for your sins or another’s?
Have you seen an afterlife, a next life — maybe two or three?

If so, is it on Earth — or in a mildly warm pool under the frozen surface
of one of those strange moons of Saturn?

Do you have two legs, seven or sixty-four?

Do you live in our universe?
Or maybe another one?
One that expanded a trillionth of one percent faster
or a billionth of one percent slower
or that has rules so different that I must allow that
getting a message to you is harder than getting one to Garcia?

Take that immediately to her
and get a reply.
Don’t ask for overtime,
guidance
or extension of in-network physician coverage.

Anything you need —
just build, figure out, make happen —
but get results

and when you come back,
all that you have learned
is the property of your employer.

And in return
you will be in line for promotion
or, depending on the whim of others, mentoring someone else.

– – Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

Since Unkulunkulu had no email

Since Unkulunkulu had no email

The chameleon was sent to say “let them not die”
but tarried, stopping continually to blend in.
The lizard, eventually was sent,
and lost both its tail and part of its message
and before regrowing either,
proclaimed, “let them die.”

And so die they did,
but with death was the message of the chameleon:
invisible when still,
discernible when in motion.

– Zumwalt  2011

(With heartfelt tribute to zendictive’s blog)

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)

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