“I am not writing the poem; I am just holding the pen.”

As troubles bring you down and darkness follows,
Perpetual blindness where once you thought you saw,
Know that you are not alone.

There is a voice speaking and it calls your name
in the middle of the night,
if you dream and wake gently,
sit long enough to remember,
It sighs
and whispers,
flowing like a river
and calls, waiting
for the small of your back to make contact,
float silent,
water not too cool, too warm,
tepid, somewhere in the middle,
so you lay your head down,
let it carry you
and just when you think
time has grown wrinkled and tired,
no longer in your favor,
a hand passes over your face,
and that voice sings lullaby,
Spirit rocks to sleep

Olive tree drops branch you never noticed.

To step without looking

To know you will not fall.

“You are not finished,” voice says.

There are words in your bones.
There are thoughts in your head that are not your own –
They are the kind ones you never listen to –
They are the true ones you never speak –
Your time is borrowed
Your blood is the river.
Float on, float on

God is writing –
pick up the pen.

EJZ 02.18.2016

Response to the Installment over the Greenway


This was erected over the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway in Boston last spring.
Articles were published in which the authors referred to it as “the most beautiful thing they’d ever seen”.

I had a different reaction.

While I’ve developed a certain appreciation for the work since writing this poem, I am still out of line with the artist’s supposed intention,  which still leaves something to be desired, in my opinion.

My poetic response, below:

When I look at art,
I want to be elevated,
I want to feel reverence,
I want to feel my legs grow,
to raise me up to it,
I want  to throw my head back, exalted by the rumbling of the greatness within me,
I want to fall in love;

I don’t want to be confused.

The neon weaving cries out,
“Look at me! Look at me!”
So I do and I say,
“For what?”

The idea was to connect past with present
as if that doesn’t speak for itself.
You are commemorating a material experience that no longer is –
Let me build a non-functioning sequin-plated polyethylene statue,
an elegy to an aqueduct and

The present
The present
The present –
Your homage to a fleeting moment.
You’d like us grounded,
looking upward,
This acrobatic mesh floating above me
Yes, this is where our city is, now.

Looking up?
Looking up to what?
I am looking ahead,
constantly creating in this moment you call now.
I weave the threads of time into the future.
I look up by looking in,
by projecting,
by flying,

I don’t quite grasp your principle –

but somehow,
you get me to pause,
to look up
and say,
“What the fuck?”

EJZ 05.07.2015