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)

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)

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)

there’s no drought about it

there’s no drought about it

the fountain shouts
with an overwhelming bout of color-lit water
in a passionate fit of fashion it pours out its inner most need
neither avarice nor greed
simply the seed of a self-centered flower.

the thundercloud booms
taking up more room in an overcrowded encounter
its war-torn form pours out scorn on the earth
an attempt to briefly reassert
the importance of a morning shower.

  jack strong and muscularly weighted
  from bench press freight greatly elevated
  struts about the beach
  nakedly painted speedos now activated
            nothing left to chance
            nothing understated
            debating with himself if he’s x or r-rated

  jill scantily clad
  in the latest thonged fad
        lays and bathes in the rays she maintains that she craves
        though she’s here mainly to daze,
        haughtily take off her shades,
        and occasionally faze any stray
              make-a-play braves that come by
              to gaze and throw lines her way.

the ocean roars
as its tidal waves pour onshore to make the sea forcefully screech forth
in a rampage of rage it sweeps the front page
of the island town paper
and make those that survive
cower from it self-asserting power

  i am important!
      i am here!
                  i am!
     not, i am not!

                        i am of significance!
  i am something you don’t see everyday in the bathtub!
  when i chose to be
                        i am not not there!

the little dog
using it claws
digs making an impression
on Peterson’s ground
knowing its work should be remembered after it’s gone
wraps up the morning
by watering the lawn.

— Zumwalt (1990)

Of Contrary Motion

Of Contrary Motion

The notes go 44 this way and 44 that.
You pick the upper half.
The low ones are much more attractive.

How can I boogie-woogie without the bass?
How do you manage staying sweet and serene?

It’s not melody I need, it’s the rumble of solid earth.
It’s not the airy fluff that keeps me filled, it’s the meat and potatoes of life.

As you go up, I go down.
To the right you go,
I am off to the left.

And yet on your rare descents
And my occasional rising up
We meet.

And in those moments,
past the awkard near-collisions,
we again are as one
and forsake our vows of yin and yang.

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