Zumwalt Poems Online

Posts tagged ‘Game Theory’

Imperfect information

Imperfect information

You and I face off
with battleships on secret squares
sequentially taking pot shots wherever we chose.

A thin board separates our lines of sight
A thick carpet, underneath.

This is a sequential game
even when I attack out of turn
each and every move
is built on the one before.

Round after round
we proudly announce
a target square.

Sometimes we hit
Sometimes we miss
But never fail to attack.

Salvo, my friend
When you are most relaxed
and think all is calm waters.

As long as there are ships afloat
There will be missiles launched
across these now choppy seas.

Salvo, my friend
All shots at once
against our better judgment.

As long as there are missiles to launch
There will be ships targeted
aggravating these now choppy seas.

But once it is clear
there is some chance at sinking even one ship
We pull back,
bend the rules,
re-arrange our positions,
midway,
put some ships
in reserve,
deny any cease fire
and secretly fill out our battle reports.

-zumwalt (2011)

The last party (Trivial Pursuit)

The last party
(Trivial Pursuit)

She was in the room glowing
a smile on her face
she should have talked to me
or looked at me

Her boyfriend sat across from her
like a cardboard cutout
he should have been alive
or at least awake

another room awaits
autonomous
bordered by sounds
of new wave existence

friends reach out
alcohol people
a swirl of support
a backdrop of goodness

yellow light flickers
orange perfume clusters about
purple music masks the crowded voices

the little dog scurries
moves with short stubby legs
strawberries sit too long
a phantom plays monotonous percipitations

the game continues
to begin anew
the dice is the leader
the cards are finite

time wanders in a trivial pursuit
following the strewn clothes of lovers in transit
drinks stir, soaking the carpets
choices are made to apologize for chance

time beckons in a trivial pursuit
bubbles of memory
pockets of pain
seasons stacked up, circling to land

time chases in a trivial pursuit
paths are lost forever
relationships crumble from the motion
happiness dies countless deaths

time hates itself in its trivial pursuit
it shoulders the consequences of the fear and grief it spreads
it loses its identity
and is crushed by its existence

colors darken into empty shapes
taste and smell congeal
sounds form into thickening twisted knots

a dog scurries
apparitionally
alone in sympathy
it cannot understand

arms of activity
limitless ferment
dancing in madness
fleeing from feelings

this room is silent
solid and isolated
occupied at times
by present and past

Her boyfriend sat across from her
and he once had been me
He should have been happy
He should have stayed

She was in his life glowing
a blessing of emotion
He should have understood her
or at least communicated

the game never finishes
its motion won’t subside
but its pretense fools the wise
and traps all
forever

the morning rises
timidly, relunctantly
its features are grey
from the last party

— Zumwalt (1985)

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