minus one is a radical idea
so radical that –
it’s imaginary
So that’s where I’ll begin
or end
or both
This mathematical mind scramble just threw me

Sensibility never made much sense to me
To say we were once
one would be a computational error
I can’t solve for X because I don’t know the alphabet
you know I don’t do division long-hand
I don’t do division well at all.

Do you think
we were one or just two imaginaries
being added together?
i + i for an i + i
2i is still not real
and you can’t divide by zero

So is this a division problem
or addition
or subtraction
or metaphysics?

Where do I begin?
From a tiny wish?
A whisper of imagination sent to heaven?
Does God hear me?
Am I an echo of a prayer?
Am I
                Am I
                                Am I

beginning again where I left off?

Were we divided
or just whispering?

EJZ 12.30.2015

No Title

Remembering ALZ

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.
all we can do  is let go
and keep our eyes open.

EJZ 04.20.2016

This is a good poem.

Piece together the fragments of your thoughts.
Group them in relation to the spectrum
and spread them out on the coffee table.
some lavender and
chamomile around
so they look good enough to settle in and seep
into someone
else’s cup.

I’ll take one look
and one swipe of my hand
and make a collage out of the puzzle pieces
you bent and snipped and burned to fit
so nicely
into your idea of Truth
and it will be more beautiful than any song you ever sang –
and that will make you run from it.

And you’ll come back kicking
and screaming
No! then
yes! then
and I will hear you
but I won’t listen.

Should I have added cinnamon to make it easier to digest?
Tramadol to deny?

You see, I do things my own way
and I’d appreciate
if you’d shut the fuck up
and let me hear my own thoughts
because they sing more sweetly than your mental cacophony.

You see,
I’ve seen more corners of the Earth than you thought possible.
No, it’s not round;
In fact, it morphs
and sometimes into the shape of a gun with your finger on the trigger
but never long enough for you to shoot,
long enough
for me to change my point of view
and run for my life.

Then it morphs again
and my finger’s on the trigger
but I drop the gun
and let you choose

So, I go my own way,
walk on my eyelashes
or swim through the sand
or gather up roses
and grab onto the thorns,
dig through an earthquake
and I’ll probably fall over
but let me.

I don’t want to be saved.

Because the Earth morphs
and becomes an electromagnetic platform
onto which my feet are drawn,
soles bound still to its core.

I don’t really know in which sense I meant
but maybe that’s the reason they’re spoken the same.
our souls lie in our feet
and that is why they’re so easily soiled
and just as easily washed.

All I know is life is a choice I make every day,
a chance embraced each time I open my lungs to breathe

but I didn’t put the air in my lungs
I just chose to keep breathing.

Have you ever thought about how we keep breathing the same air through different sets of lungs but all the air we’re breathing has been breathed before?
And it never seems to run out?
And maybe
it’s the love of our lungs for the air that keeps it around?

Have you ever thought about how we write different things down,
abstract or real,
but we never run out of words?
And maybe
it’s the love of our souls for the truth that keeps

And maybe
we’re all holding the same pen?

Have you ever started writing and taken a pause to breathe and forgotten where you were?
And you look around and everyone is carrying umbrellas
but you can’t feel the rain?
And then you realize you were just listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” on repeat for three hours
and the pen is still in your hand
and your feet
are still on the ground?

EJZ 06.26.2015


Blame me.

Blame poet.

Blame words. Blame truth. Blame lies. Blame
didn’t know better. Blame knew better. Blame yesterday. Blame tomorrow. Blame time. Blame early. Blame late. Blame traffic. Blame weather. Blame sun. Blame rain. Blame hot. Blame cold. Blame sick. Blame tired. Blame
sick and tired. Blame addict. Blame addiction. Blame drug. Blame rap. Blame disco. Blame hippies. Blame war. Blame government. Blame democracy. Blame anarchy. Blame dictator. Blame Patriarchy. Blame Matriarchy. Blame mother. Blame father. Blame Daddy Issues. Blame unavailability. Blame abuse. Blame abuser. Blame victim. Blame rape. Blame no. Blame yes. Blame conversation. Blame relationship. Blame him. Blame her. Blame lack of communication. Blame too close. Blame too soon. Blame too hard. Blame too fast. Blame too long. Blame too short. Blame sex.
Blame transparency. Blame honesty. Blame pride. Blame envy. Blame greed. Blame money. Blame money-makers. Blame money-takers. Blame corporations. Blame welfare. Blame Liberals. Blame Republicans. Blame Glenn Beck. Blame politicians. Blame politics. Blame institutions. Blame bureaucracy. Blame America. Blame treason. Blame reason. Blame faith. Blame religion. Blame that religion. Blame no that religion. Blame the wrong religion. Blame my religion. Blame your religion. Blame organized religion. Blame
organized chaos. Blame God. Blame Muslims. Blame Jews. Blame Jesus. Blame Jews for Jesus. Blame Christians. Blame Atheists.

Blame different.

Blame black. Blame white. Blame blue. Blame red. Blame green. Blame gray. Blame fine print. Blame never said. Blame I told you so. Blame everything. Blame “To everything turn, turn, turn.” Blame excuses. Blame this time. Blame last time. Blame every time. Blame yourself.

Blame blame.
Blame blame.
Blame blame.
Blame blame.
Blame blame.

Blame – I’ve written blame so many times it doesn’t even look like a word anymore.
Blame – if only overuse wore out the practice.

EJZ 09.16.2015


The opposite of living is not dying –
it is not living.
Existing is different. Surviving is different.
Counting minutes under
breaths of air and
dollar signs
is different

In many ways

life is but a whisper in a scheme,
a breath of air exhaled in wait.

I want to gather up branches
to crown the fruit of time
framed by genuine sound –
accidental laughter or
unexpected song –
what you hear when you catch people
whispering in wait.

Let’s just
stop contemplating history
and remember why we’re here –

Philosophy is a prescription for over-thinking;
dangerous when abused,
necessary for this stage of outburst –
poison overflowing cup,
just enough so that the first sip won’t kill you
and the next
but not in the sense of dying,
just in the sense of
the opposite of living.

Let’s just
keep contemplating
in the sense of gazing
like at stars
in space
where everything was known and never spoken,
translated into light and understood
and maybe surreal
in the sense of “above”,
but just for then,
for now,
for right,
for real,
it was real
and with real
and that moment, framed
with sound of unexpected song,
only felt
as ungasped gasp,
as a slowing of time,
as a stop
because this is living,
this is real,
this is –

Let’s just
keep contemplating –

I want to hear you whisper before you leave.

EJZ 07.29.2015

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

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

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

Philosophical Interjection

“All art, as the letting happen of the truth of what is, is, as such, essentially poetry.”
~Martin Heidegger

To me, the concept of God, of a Higher Power, has never been something outside of myself; it has always been a source of inner strength, wisdom, guidance that knows what is best for me. The struggle has been learning how to listen.

I ask myself, “Yes, but did that inner guidance create the world around you? The mountains, the ocean, the vastness of space? The people and connections between them? Are you protecting life after death?”

My thoughts turn to that inner strength – and I believe we all have one – and maybe that is what threads us together; maybe our inner voices are really all one voice manifested in various forms; maybe that is what created this Earth (I did once say,  “creative principle is my Higher Power”).

This may be a truth I will never uncover in this life. For now, for practical purposes, what matters to me is that I enjoy having a Higher Power in myself;  I enjoy the strength I derive from it, the motivation, the will to wake up and live another day, the sense of love, calm, even exaltation it brings me, the knowing that I can count on things turning out right, and the idea that this world, in fact,  is here, is mine, to respect.

Isn’t that what believing in God is all about?

EJZ 05.21.2015