#REF!

Zero
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
Why,
you know I don’t do division long-hand
well,
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

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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

I am a jealous bitch.

My eyes are green and my heart is greener
I’ll hate you for your blood that bleeds red.

I am a jealous bitch.

I’ll walk through the trees and say, “Please,
I wish I was made out of wood” –
Oak or pine would be fine
Let my hair be luscious like leaves swaying in the breeze just so I could be
still and alone with myself.

I am a jealous bitch.

And do you know why?
It’s because I’m afraid –

Afraid that if someone seems better than me it means I’m not good enough.
Afraid that if my boyfriend sees a girl with bigger tits, a prettier face, smaller waist who’s less broken than me and I’m not there to stop him, he’ll leave me
and if I am, he’ll deceive me.

I am a jealous bitch.

Because I think I’m supposed to be the smartest, best-looking, most confident, clever, graceful woman who ever walked
who can tell the best jokes and hold her liquor
with the heart of an artist and the soul of a saint
who cooks for you, cleans for you, serves you a drink with a smile and still gets 8 hours of sleep every night

I am a jealous bitch.

Afraid that second place is just as bad as last so I don’t even try.
Instead, I sit in a boiling pot of my own insecurity, resentment and shame
and cook until a putrid scent of self-hatred spews from my bones
and wait for a knife and a fork to come stabbing through my veins
eaten alive from the inside out
swallowed whole by my own misgivings
I wash it all down with the blood of my failures.

I am a jealous bitch.

And I’m jealous of you, and of you, and of you
and I’ll try to turn it around and look up to you
and admire
and use this as fuel to push me to go where I want to,
to let your confidence be my courage
to let your ability be my growth
to let you your light be my sun
but I’m not comfortable in my own skin –
I’m more comfortable in the skin of the bitch I’ve become
because it’s easier than facing the truth
so I see you and want to be you and feel all those things that I lack
but instead I sit back and I say,
“Well, she ain’t shit anyway, I mean
look at her shoes”
as if the fact that I’m wearing Steve Madden leather makes me loveable,
that the strap between my ankle and heel is protection from my treason
I’d like to use it to hang myself.

I am a jealous bitch with nothing to lose
or so I’d like to think because jealousy
is fear of something being taken away

I am a jealous bitch and I hate every breath I take in
but if you’re taking some too
I’ll want to take it from you
and hope that you choke on it

and if you do?
I’ll be jealous of that too

because although I feel I have nothing,
I’m terrified to lose it.

EJZ 04.26.2015

No Title

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

Revisiting

or
Conversations my brain has with itself when I convince myself I’m falling in love

How hard do I have to try to make you think I’m not crazy?
How many times do I have to spell your name before it sounds like my own?
How many keys in this trap door until one snaps?
How many strings strung broke on my guitar until this song about you is in tune?

Monday Monday Sunday Tuesday
When’s the next day of the rest of my life?

Key: C minor
accidental fourth step
below the night we met
in a church, that sanctuary
that day
where we meditated on the scent of indigo
and the sound of lavender ringing
hearts and telling cold
stories that end with goodbye
Good night, good night

Do you believe me, good God?
Have I convinced you?
I’m not crazy, just disturbed
My story ends,

Hello,

and strikes a chord
and hollows out the insides of my brain
What do you think my thoughts taste like?

Oh, and do you know what they told me in art school?
Sometimes
It’s all about the negative space.

EJZ 02.18.2016

The Ghost of Denial

I took a poetry course last fall and one of our first prompts was to write a poem with a title structured: “The [Concrete Noun] of [Abstract Noun]”. I came up with “The Ghost of Denial”.

The Ghost of Denial

Everything’s fine.

No, well
yes,
but really – Everything’s fine.

Yeah, I cry
sometimes
at night
most nights
every night
when no one can hear me
but
it’s how I always got to sleep
so I’m used to it by now.
It’s like
my lullaby.
It’s okay.

And yeah, he’s drinking but
it’s just one
bottle
and he’s young, you know
he can handle it.
He’s got a good tolerance.
He’s okay.

And yeah, we fight
but everyone fights
right?
It’s healthy
to fight
and I just get him so
angry sometimes.
It happens, you know
And I am pretty stupid
like he says, you know,
He’s not wrong.
It’s okay.

No, he never hit me.
No,
of course not,
well, that one time
but I really got him angry that time.
I shouldn’t have broken that glass, you know,
it was expensive
and I just get him so
angry sometimes.
It’s okay.
It happens, you know.
It’s okay.

Yeah, I’m bleeding but
you know,
my body,
my soul
just does that sometimes.

And yeah, I’m here
but
not really.

EJZ 09.24.2015