Zombies in Waiting
The papers are full of talk about zombies.
You can see us riding the city bus—
human looking, staring into short-end space
vacant eyes, leasehold mouths,
little new in the underused living
off shrinking nutrients of others
getting by in the retrograde work force
of day-to-day milling, hauling, retail clerking,
filing, cleaning, scraping, bowing, serving.
Who knew the Centers for Disease Control
and our own state health folks had seized
on the dreaded deadly undead
as comic metaphors
for disaster readiness,
to take the scream out of help?
If there’s a part for us
to play in this, we’re ready to be cast.
Once the shiny piece of a city crown,
now geared to a less-than-super structure,
The Bus collects each hour
the waiting from the streetside kiosks
and rolls its mannequin cargo elsewhere
to dislodge us from its padded shelves,
gaunted with indentured cheeks,
outlooks dimmed by horizons of bills,
and second jobs to pay them,
unconcerned with game-store
creatures and their chain saws.
The paper’s alive with news of zombies,
how fitting to its own hungry draining,trading spirit of life for disaster survival.
John E. Simonds, 78, a retired Honolulu daily newspaper editor, has lived with family in Hawai’i for 38 years and previously was a reporter for newspapers from Washington, D.C., and other mainland cities. A Bowdoin College graduate, he has been writing verse since the 1970s, is the author of Waves from a Time-Zoned Brain (AuthorHouse 2009) and recently has had poems published in Bamboo Ridge Press, Hawai’i Pacific Review, and New Millennium Writings.