How to get to know me and My Survival Mechanisms

Peel off the layers of my skin
and I’ll show you what I hide beneath them.

Put down the emotional baggage
and we’ll see if there’s anything left to discuss.

Find the right combination of storybooks and songbirds
to unlock the contents of my soul.

The problem is I think I swallowed the key.

The problem is I’m still reacting to a kitchen table.

The problem is I forgot where I put the lock.

The problem is there’s really no problem
but the fear of the problem –
the problem is the fear.

The problem is the fear
the problem is me.

You see, I never knew how to breathe above water
so instead I preferred drowning.

So the problem is the survival mechanism became a means to my own end.

And when you can’t swim on land but in a pool of your own blood
you start to think the drowning was better
and life becomes a choice between the lesser of two evils –
a presidential arms race where the tyrant always wins
until overthrown by the original survival skill
overridden not even by the drowning –

the ability to breathe.

Poems can seem unfinished
like breaths can seem too long to take
or too short to spare.

The important thing is they are taken
and released.

EJZ 06.17.2015

Empty Sea


I hear you begging,
crying out

but far too cold for company.

You inch, closer
to the tip of my toe

but shy away

then try


with restless misery

and retreat.

You crackle like fire –
There is warmth within you –

Perhaps you’ve forgotten.

Please, let me show you,
you have a gentler greeting.

Timid, I sit
for you to remember

we are sisters
in empathy –

I taste you in my tears.

Nature Poem


This poem is written in two columns. You may read it in two ways:
1. The first column, from top to bottom, followed by the second column, from top to bottom.
2. Horizontally, reading both the first and second column continuously.

I understand this is not a proper “Square Stanza” and I am no Lewis Carroll

but I still did something pretty fucking cool.

So here you have, “Nature Poem” (click picture to expand):

Screen shot 2015-07-17 at 9.20.22 PM

EJZ 06.04.2015


Love Poem for my Piano

I long to feel you under my fingertips.

Oh how long it’s been
since I stroked sweet music from your keys ,

your pearly whites
and ebonies
swirling together under my hands,
the feeling seething through my veins
and into you.

You echo back in harmony
and we dance this symphony together,

trading secrets surrounded by the scent of auburn timber.

A love affair of eighty-eight hammers and strings
and ten fingertips caressing
smooth figures and souls
to blend melody and rhythm with time.

Oh for even just ten minutes,
to feel you beneath me,
I wouldn’t mind
ever-lasting orgastic connection between a spirit meeting its being
in the rapture, the
music made
with its soulmate.

EJZ 04.22.2015

A Romanticist’s Dilemma

We hear it as children –
Our mother figures asking our sister figures
whenever they meet any man,

“Oh, does he have a job?
How long til ya married?
How many grandchildren are you gonna give ya motha?
Oh, honey,
how big is his


But I didn’t have anyone to ask me those questions
so now I ask the questions:

Does he move you like a song?
Do you look at him like a piece of art with a reverence for the human spirit and gasp,
“Something created that?”?
Does he fill your mind like that line of impossible prose
too beautiful to write down or ever share
so you keep it locked up in your head
or around your neck
in that locket he gave you for your sixteenth birthday
that became too heavy
and tarnished with
memories and false premises
so you had to take it off
and now
you don’t even really remember what it looks like?

I’m a poet,
I’m a writer,
so it only seems natural
that my list of romanticisms
become a poem
or a novel
or my next

Is it the curse of my father I’ve been looking for someone to save?

Is someone going to save me?
Is someone going to save me?
Is someone going to save me
from this laundry list –
my standards for love that have me doubled over,
by my own impulses?
My attraction to alcoholics,
lost spirits?

The wine is sweet when you don’t know what you’re drinking.

I’m drunk on emotion and I’ll savor every last drop.

Is someone going to save me?

I’m a poet,
I’m a writer,
so it only seems natural

and I find it cathartic
to be grabbed by the waist
and pulled into the lips of a man who has never tasted serenity,
emotional sobriety –
Their taste is all to familiar to me;
I fall into them like a trap.
Gets me every time.

Is someone going to save me?
I’m drunk on emotion and I savor

EJZ 04.23.2015

Untitled III

Thoughts appear.
Thoughts approach us, softly.
It is our duty to recognize them.

It is our recognition that gives them power.

The process of acquiring knowledge and understanding

The thoughts were always there,
waiting, like old friends,
for reunion,
we just had to remember,
to recognize.

Faded, like old photographs,
but still familiar faces.
the books you found up in your attic.
You’d expect them mothballed, stale, unusable,
but you remembered.

Fresh and new as ever,
finely aged.
Their spines had held them together.

Your fingerprints sink in to the pages on the old paths they had worn.
You remember the coffee stain from 2006.
You can taste it.
It is still in your cup.

It is still yours.

Set aside,
kept patient for a while,
waiting for you to recognize,
to remember,
to understand again.

EJZ 05.11.2015

There once was a girl who had a voice

so loud it could shake the moon,
so strong it could lift spirits,
so sweet you could taste it when she spoke.
It would echo when she sang
and fall upon deaf ears
and touch them
so they could even hear the tones of truth and grace.

But there was a curse
that crept
and disguised itself as love,
a song that she could sing to
and she did
and she thought,
“Well, this is great!
But not quite so…
Well, never mind,”
and shut her mouth.

And each time she opened it,
it got a little quieter.

At first you couldn’t tell
until the moon stopped glowing
and her spirit had fallen
and bitter was the only taste she knew.

The curse had stolen her voice
and buried it
in a dark place
where no one could hear it.
It tried to return
but the curse would scare it away again
and the girl was gone.

And she cried
but no one could hear
because he had stolen her voice
her thoughts
her love
her song
and replaced them with fire
and dust
and dark.

Until one day
when she looked for the moon and saw the sun
and a tree
which directed the light down a path
and she took one step
and she felt it –
the tone of truth and grace
she had forgotten but not lost.
She took a step and she made it
to a field with a single flower.
She took a step and she knew it,
at the root of that flower,
her voice.
She kissed its petals,
inhaled her song
and sang louder
than she ever had before
and her deaf ears heard
and felt

and the curse was broken.

EJZ 04.15.2015