Passing Conversation

It is amazing what people carry with them
You look at them and never know the weight they hold

Unseen burdens
hidden by smiles,
in the lines on their faces,
in the way they pause before answering
“How are you?”

Silenced but exposed
by the falter in their voices
and the way that they blink
when you ask, “How are you?”

They never say
They never say
They never say
And they sure as hell never say

They brush it off
and divert to you
and you do the same

but what if you didn’t?
What if you let the parts of your face that have been carved away speak?
What if you let your heart talk?
And those dark places?
Would a shadow be cast on the earth?
And so what?
Would it start to rain?
Would it stop?
And so what?

If the truth is the truth then let it be true.

How are you today?
How are you today?
How are you today?
I’m alive.

EJZ 04.08.2015


I want your hand on mine,
fingers softly stroking between the lines left bare and open,
running down and lightly grabbing,
holding me as your own.

I want your arms around my waist,
asking with laughter
for me to become a part of you.

I want to feel your lips brush against my skin
and paint me with touch.

I want to feel you sing on my body,
moving it to tremble and shake.

I want your palms, on my breasts
to caress,
to grip and reveal
the heart beneath them,

to control the core of my being
as I surrender to the power of your touch.

I want the pressure of your soul to crack my exterior,
the shell I’ve created in my stead.

I have an emptiness within me only you can fill.

Fill me
Fill me
Fill me with the warmth
of the character I left behind
on pages crumpled in the dust,
hidden among the leaves,
faded by falling rain and
buried beneath snow.

Do to me what springtime does to flower bulbs,
what hummingbirds do to the breeze.

EJZ 05.20.2015


[And lest we forget a haiku by the same name:
Come inside of me.
Please,  I want you in my mouth.
I love you, bacon.]


“If what you lost
cannot be found,
you never really had it in the first place”.

We can spend our whole lives trying to find what we’ve lost.
What we find
is it never really left –
we just looked in the wrong places
for signs that were speaking all along.

Five years –
it took
five years
for me to see I didn’t have to search anymore
and just because I couldn’t see
doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

You were there.
You were
looking at me through windows
you had told me would exist,
but I didn’t know where to look.

The truth is you built them.
The truth is I built them.
The truth is we built them
in the webs of conversations long passed,
in the pages of books read over again,
in the ticking hands of a watch, unbroken,
in movie screens,
in poetry

“I found a map buried in time
written by an invisible hand.”

That hand was yours
and I knew it then
and you’ve been writing words,
writing maps for me
all along.

You were there
You were there
You were there
in the text on the page,
in the ink in the pen,
in the tears isn my eyes,
in the life of my thoughts,
in the wind.

I was searching,
I just didn’t know where to look.

I had it –
I had you
with me all along.

And I don’t know who to thank.
I don’t know how my conception of God is responsible for this,
but it’s the thread that has kept us tied
through the years I was hiding
and searching
and lost.

So thank you –
Thank you for not leaving.
Thank you for finding me.
Thank you
for never truly being lost.

EJZ 05.31.2015


Dedicated to JLZ
04.13.1943 – 01.14.2010

When are we going to do something about this?

When are we going to do something about this?

We are supposed to be a nation founded on equality.

We are equally to blame for the death of these souls.

We are breeding a nation of killers –
maybe not as obvious as the ones holding the guns
but we’ve all signed a pending suicide note in each other’s blood.

We are a country of enablers.

We are a country that sends our children to die for peace in other nations
when we can’t even wash our blood-stained carpets.

We are a country that claims to be color-blind
when we’re really just shutting our eyes
and bathing in monochrome lust.

We are a country that has swept our bigotry under a poorly stitched rug.

You don’t solve a problem with a piece of paper.
You don’t solve an imbalanced equation by slashing the equal sign.
You don’t spray a mountain of trash with perfume and call it clean.
You don’t solve a problem by veiling it in niceties
standing on a foundation without integrity
and shrug at its collapse.

You solve problems by empowering people to take responsibility for their own lives.

This jobless, soulless, listless adult child was enabled to live a life unaccountable
by parents irresponsible
who shut blind eyes to a son
locked in his room
taking painkillers
to numb shame,
the scar,
the birthmark
he inherited from unguided parents,
the ones who gifted him a gun,
the same which took nine lives
and left survivors because he wanted his numbed pain known,
a cry for help unheard
by mommy and daddy through shut bedroom door.

This was a crisis waiting to happen.

It won’t be treated that way.

I doubt it will be treated at all.

Until we learn to honor our feelings,
own what is ours,
we’ll be chained together by a common bond,
hidden under the fabric of our fears.

Our government has represented us wholly –
do not blame them.

Blame the disease afflicting the families of our nation –
the one that locks shame in a cabinet –
hides alcoholics in fancy homes –
rapists and batterers behind  “everything’s fine”
and cries itself to sleep at night
until it chokes on its tears
and hides those too.

Pick your poison –
It’s a free country –
The United States of Denial.

Time to burn the rug.

EJZ 06.19.2015

Untitled II

Life goes on whether you show up or not.
People change.
Things happen.
Time goes on
apart from your existence

but you’d never know it
because you weren’t there.

You’d only know if you’d show up.

But then other things would happen
unbeknownst to you.

Are we missing out on all those things
we try to believe haven’t happened?

Who are we?
How do we choose?

We go to sleep and wake up
and so did everyone else we see the next day
but we never think
about that –

until one day

doesn’t happen.

Time goes on.
Things happen.
People change.

Some of them don’t wake up.

And then what?

Life still happens
like nobody knows
or remembers
because they don’t –
they’re too busy

not showing up.

EJZ 03.30.2015


From Mother Joy and Father Sorrow,
Poetry was born
in a place where the sun shone bright for days
and the nights were dark and cold
and then it would rain,
and hard,
for hours without stopping
but it would seem like weeks or even months.

And the only sounds you’d ever hear were music
or the hollow pang of a timpani
or nothing

and you couldn’t tell what was emptier.

The languages they spoke there were called Love
and Pain

and there was an understanding
that on this day,
the day that Poetry was born,
a key would be given to Joy and Sorrow
to give to their child

and this key would be called Truth

and it was to be scorned
and it was to be revered
and it was to be so
those who choose to see would hear the music
in the hollow pang of the timpani
or nothing.

EJZ 04.08.2015

Seeing Red or “This is how I talk to myself in my head.”

This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
They’re not going to breathe for you
they can’t,
they never have,
they never will –
and you shouldn’t expect it.

You need to breathe for yourself –
Didn’t they tell you that?
No –
you were “too stupid,
too weak,
too blind,
too bad, so sad.”

You have two lungs of your own
and even if you just had one
you’d find a way to use it
and at first you’d know the difference
but after awhile you’d forget

like you forgot you were
never too stupid,
never too weak,
never too blind –
Too bad, so sad.

What are you even saying?
Are you disillusioned?
Or have you never seen so clearly before that it’s clouding your vision?

Do you wish you were too stupid?
Do you wish you were too weak?
Too blind to hear a word you thought –
You knew!
You speak
like you know what you’re saying.

Do you?
Do you know?

Do you wake up from a dream and know you aren’t dead?

Do you wish you were?

Do you know what you’re saying?
Fuck you!
Does it matter where you’ve been, what you say, what you do?


What do you think?
What do you think?
What do you think?

EJZ 03.27.2015