Zumwalt Poems Online

Posts tagged ‘Zumwalt Poems’

Cousteau and Darwin Move to Suburbia

Cousteau and Darwin Move to Suburbia

Like pilot fish
Affixed, transfixed
Upon the gluttonous chin
Of the maneater,
We give thanks and
Humbly suck the detritus
From Fate’s
Serrated mandibles.
The irony of Sophocles
Is just the symbiosis
Of little fish
And unevolved vertebrates
Scrubbing their gills
With polluted waters,
Lacking the initiative
To crawl up the bank, and breathe.

— Zumwalt (1981)

Advertisements

deleterious habitat

deleterious habitat

hot southern heat
  baking your alaska
the smog fills your
lungs like sand
                in a dersadrop humidifier

breathing is a function
  and we are approaching an asymptote

three toed sloths trek through the treptremanian soil

burning air and burning phylum
                    cough…
                                  cough…
                                                cough…

It is time to let me out.

— Zumwalt (1974)

the wreck of goodwill

the wreck of goodwill

every dime counted
seemed to count itself
but the pennies were the trouble spot
and the cost of all goodwill.

— Zumwalt (1998)

what soul is not besieged

what soul is not besieged

what soul is not besieged by rotten eggs and soft tomatoes
by answers unreturned and questions unsent
by minutes that make up hours and hours
           that tear down the day

what mind is not put upon and
           once put upon
                           cast off into a corner
what body is not battered and
                   beaten by the blows it shields
itself from

what soul is not bombarded
         by twenty-two gauge shot and mortar fire
by unresolved cadential patterns
         that whine around the head

by invalidation of beliefs and
         of what one has seen and sensed

there is reason to suspect that one can grow
if only the rainy season didn’t last
                                                       the entire year.

—  Zumwalt (1991)

forgery sorcery

forgery sorcery

The goal to cajole grains of glimmering gold
from metallically murky, stir-fried mercury through nucleosynthesis control
is now achieved, yet not well received
by those with untold holdings yet unsold.

I started with some crumbs of platinum a month ago
selling my Renault and mortgaging my sixteen acre château
to secure enough on-hand bank-roll dough for the necessary cash-flow
but only a empty-headed fool would continually and conspicuously crow
about changing Romanée Conti Bordeaux into Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot.

So I replaced periodic-table element seventy-eight with element eighty
developing techniques to create the critical intermediate step relatively safely
and though initial results were predictably shaky
eventually I achieved my very own praiseworthy mercury-to-gold bakery.

Yes, it’s now just a simple mechanical execution
taking Mercury 197 plus one neutron
and through proper subatomic distribution
arriving at stable Gold plus one positron
through a process somewhat akin to intrastellar fusion.

Now even though it costs three million dollars an ounce to achieve this feat
the knowledge of this deed
has put second thoughts into the usually well-informed Wall Street
so that worldwide
all precious metal traders,
short-term speculators
and long-term investors are taking the heat
and following world gold prices into retreat.

Meanwhile the government has confiscated my lab
locking me in prison somewhere south of Bagdad
gobbling up my research in one heart-wrenching land-grab
then ultimately failing despite taking their best go-at-it-shower-scene stab
with the well-represented public picking up the final multi-trillion dollar tab.

Now gold sells for ninety dollars an ounce
awaiting an expected but not yet quantifiable dead cat bounce
and soon, the rumor is,
     the President and other heads of states will publicly announce
that all world currency — dollars, coins, crowns and pounds —
are now ultimately, reliably and dependently sound.

But I know better — nothing minted or printed has worth
and metals themselves are just so much galactic debris dug from the earth —
the only time anyone really ever gets fully and satisfactorily reimbursed
is when the solemnly chosen,
     deep-frozen icy-emotion,
     softly spoken, dark-dress-devotion pallbearers
     load the carefully sealed,
     hints-of-some-hereafter-to-be-revealed shiny black-top coffin into the hearst.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Trade

Trade

It’s a fair trade.
Food for fuel.

Convert all our corn.
Add the amylase enzyme gene.
Food for fuel.

It’s a fair trade.
Forests for Food.

Switch soya for corn.
Make Brazil a giant farm.
Forests for Food.

Prices are right for fuel and food.
Step up production:
More fuel, more carbon in the air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in our lungs.

Rising Global Temperatures are ripe to drive up prices.
Droughts increase water’s premium
Aquifers get depleted.
Water becomes even scarcer.
Food prices rise.

Little Johnny wants to make money.
How can he not help to do so?
Invest in food and pollute at the same time.
Easy money.
Pollute on a small scale:
Pocket change.
Pollute on a large scale:
Wealth beyond dreams.

Rising Temperatures,
Erratic Weather,
Population Growth,
Scarce Water Resources,
Civil Unrest
All put stress on
Food supplies.

Now Johnny has to work harder.
He burns the midnight oil.
And makes more money.

Cattle, Sheep and Goats
Make deserts out of grasslands.
Tractors, Freight Trucks and Commuters
Make hazardous waste the speciality in trade.

But it’s a fair trade.
Quality of Life for Quantity of Life.

It’s a reasonable trade.
More humans for less plants and animals.

We will switch the future for the present.
Make our Dreams a Giant Dustbowl.
Swap future prospects for a bite to eat.

Principles are right for the harvesting.
Let’s step up consumption:
More fuel, more carbon in our air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in the lungs.

It’s a good honest trade.
I can write away the guilt.
Put my complaints down on some message board
And feel just a little better
As everyone increasingly feels worse.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The irreplaceble moment

The irreplaceble moment

We passed a law that two things
must not occupy the same space
                           at the same time.

There were some dissenting votes
and much discussion about how to enforce.
Our representatives had to think of the interests of the constituents mainly,
which, in this case, coincided with the interests of the consituent assembly.

We, the people, needed to have a nice place to live.
We evicted the indigenous
making them all indigent
and our leaders sometimes evicted us
as a matter of common sense and expedience.

We, needed a way to move from place to place.
Metal mines swallowed eco-lifelines,
oil sputtered and splattered
coating the coast
from sea to shining sea.

We, needed something to eat.
Food replaced foul-tasting pests
with the help of
magical chemical tricks.
The fumes were awful
confining us to hospitals.
The country became prosperous
as the food became murderous.

My chainsaw spins and thus once again
repels all like things from its space.
It must create to destroy and destroy to create
following the inviolate rules of time and place.

My friends all slash and burn the best they can.
They may displace,
efface and even disgracefully debase nature’s very own birthplace
but it’s all to simply appropriate our formerly shared estate
and establish
through each on-demand phase of
tactically-driven blaze, graze and industrial haze their
own personal haste-makes-waste
state-of-the-art ahead-of-the-pace
deadly-embrace-the-human-race
monetarily-based
technically-graced
profit-making showcase/workplace.

Yes, our life may be just a moment but
the damage we do by being a bit too clever lasts forever.

— Zumwalt (2011)

%d bloggers like this: