Father’s Day

and I still don’t know how I feel.

I imagine I’m sad
but I feel more like
a lost little girl with no arms to turn to
Just empty space I fill with time
not knowing how to feel.

And I wish I could sleep but the sun came out too early
and the noise outside is loud
but not as loud as the thoughts in my head
telling me not to feel this way,
but with nothing to turn to,
I never felt as empty as the bottles before.

I wish I knew what full meant.
I keep filing the pages with words and I don’t know what they mean.
I’ve got no one to fill my cup but my memories –
these fragmented pieces of half-torn pictures
and words I didn’t make up.

How do you write a song when you don’t know which words are yours or theirs?
How do you write a song when you just don’t care?

No one to nourish me – I’m starving myself
for creation outside of my own four walls,
the tall ones you warned me I’d build
and never be able to knock down.

Well,
Never’s not a word I like to use anymore,
it’s one of those words no one ever uses unless they want to tell you, “No.”
And they never tell you,
Never’s just a word they use to make you forget.

It’s Father’s Day and I still don’t know how I feel.

I want to write a song
but the music inside me burns, acid in my throat.

Remember that time you left me?
You were the first in a long list of men to leave me behind
and give me something false to believe in.
My idol and my best worst friend.

You told me I was heading down this dark dirty road
in not so many of your own words
and I said let me,
let me,
let me,
don’t let me go.

And now I have to let you go because you’re gone
and this feeling of
gone
is exactly the feeling which, on father’s day,
I’m still not sure how to feel.

I want to hear the words you never wrote down.

I want to feel the last breath you never took.

And I want to always say, I love you,
never, I’m sorry.

Forget I’m sorry.
Just tell me you love me before you go to sleep
because I don’t know the next time we’re going to die
and some days,
I’m just not sure how to feel.

EJZ 06.19.2016

 

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The image of a jungle is coming to mind when I think about my parents dying.

Like I can’t sift through all the wild green leaves
and the noises around me make me feel crowded and alone

I am lost and I can’t find my way out of this place
and even if I could, I wouldn’t know where I was going
so how would I know when I wasn’t lost anymore?
What familiar place could I begin to call home?
What is familiar anyway?
How does love feel when it means something?

Is there a place called somewhere
that somehow
becomes something
more than an upchuck of color
and voices calling you
by a name you can’t remember is yours or not?

Do we ever wake up from this
not-quite-nightmare but far-from-dream?
What’s on the other side of life?
Is that home? Because that’s where you went
and you’re the most familiar place
and the only thing I think of
that starts in my heart and ends with an “ome”.
Is it just me saying “Ohm”?
Is it just me writing?

Is it just me?

EJZ 1.11.2016

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Remembering ALZ
03.30.1952-04.20.2013

With gasping breath and unresponsive eyes
Is this what a person looks like when she’s sleeping paranoid?
Waiting for death,
did you think if you closed your eyes
you’d never see it?

Did you think you could hold on if you just stared it cold in the face?

Did you see me kneel beside you?
Did you hear me whisper regret,
swallow “I’m sorry”?

Or were they too shrouded in shame for you to know
I meant it
when I said I was supposed to save you?

Did your body feel me say I failed?

Weight of the world I believed in
crashing down under Arizona sunshine –
Heat rises.
Your spirit warmed enough to leave me

Carrying cold and tiny body
I couldn’t even –
no –
I didn’t – no –
I don’t
know what to do now that you’re gone
but here
but not.

Can I hold on if I stare it cold in the face?
You died with your eyes open.

I’ll just keep mine shut.

Wake me when it’s over –
I won’t have to feel a thing.

We, as humans, reach a threshold
where the pain is so much we can’t even remember
what it feels like to feel.
Sometimes,
all we can do  is let go
and keep our eyes open.

EJZ 04.20.2016

Death is easy – before and after is difficult.

When
you’re
counting
every
breath,
every
second
still
viable,
and
in
one
moment
it

ends

and you wish
you were still counting.

Even gasping breaths,
painful and strained,
are still signs of maybes –
of hope you know is running out;

But as long as you have one thread of an inhale to hold onto,
you don’t have to grip the air in your lungs
quite so tightly.

It’s when all you hear is silence
that you stop asking if he’s breathing
and worry whether your own life can be sustained
when this one was just taken up
and you wonder whether your heart can hold out

and when you realize it’s still beating,
you wonder – how?
How,
when the force of love was removed from this Earth?
and eventually you think

maybe it wasn’t –
and one day you hear that love is the only force that can defy time and space
and move through all dimensions
and then you realize

the air wasn’t given up
but given over
and you’re still breathing
and just for today,
that is enough
to keep living.

I love you.

EJZ 01.14.2016

Remembering JLZ
04.13.1943 – 01.14.2010

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Interstellar

“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,
existed
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

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Dedicated to JLZ
04.13.1943 – 01.14.2010

It was April 20th

It was April 20th
when I took you out on the balcony
into the sun
and you died,
looking up

And I took you back to your bed
and lay next to you, crying,
looking up

And I saw two lights,
one yellow, one blue
and I had to let go
and let you be together

And I checked my phone
And I don’t know how many people had wished me a
Happy 4-20
Happy 4-20
Happy 4-20
Yeah…
I’ll light up a candle instead

It was April 20th
when I came to see you again,
this time in New York
This time it was pouring rain
and I said,
“Did you do this on purpose?”
Fitting, you’re the kind of melodramatic woman who would want a rainstorm on a day like this.

Well, I thought,
I just have to get over the Whitestone Bridge
in my little rental Mazda

but not without hydroplaning on the Hutch.

And I started feeling lonely and afraid.

And I said, OK,
Alright,
Focus, just
sing, just
keep yourself company

And as I hit the high note
in the EZ Pass lane
I had to stop.
In front of me, you were there
in a Subaru Forrester –
Anyway, the license plate bore your initials

And I checked the calendar
and it was still April 20th.

And I thought,
Just stay behind this car and you’ll be safe.

I was on 678 –
the road split, but you knew where I was going so I followed

and I was safe.

And I made it all the way to College Point Boulevard

and you didn’t take the exit.

“Goodbye,” I said,
“I’ll see you soon,”

and you saluted me with your right-turn signal

and the wind.

Looking down,
I saw two stones
on which I placed two more
to hold down two poems,
one for each of you.

This time I didn’t cry.

And I had to let go
and let us be together.

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EJZ 4.20.2015
Dedicated to ALZ
3.30.1952 – 4.20.2013

On Your Birthday

I dreamt I was in a field of four leaf clovers
Emerald green
Soft enough to let them hold me
Rocking me in the sunlight
The freshest air my lungs had ever known
The scent of the newness of spring
and rebirth
Laughter
and sunshine
and no rain.

And then I remembered what you told me,
that your thirteenth birthday
was on Friday the 13th
and that made you the luckiest man alive
because luck
and life
are what you make them.

Dedicated to JLZ
04.13.1943 – 01.14.2010
Happy birthday in heaven.

EJZ 4.13.2015

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