Zeke Greenwald: Left Intact
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente


There aren’t many flower beds,

But the park has flowers ample;

The flowers grow among the grass,

And, like the grass, get trampled.

So in Amsterdam almost wild grow

Violets, daffodils, and tulips;

They languish in the violence 

Of the frequent, treading tourists.

Take comfort, you unguarded stems,

Though abused your colors may be,

What such a rush of real life things

Has left intact of all your beauty.


I didn’t sleep so well last night

And when the night was over,

Sleepless I walked in the park

Among the drooping flowers.

I could have said perhaps that I

Didn’t feel, in a normal sense,

lively, but I know nothing more alive

Than watching in abundance.

The violets are overturned;

The tulip petals no more on flowers;

It is cold; the daffodils are bent;

They won’t measure sleep in hours.

All I did was not sleep too well.

When the light was growing stronger,

All too alive, I took a walk

Just tired of living longer. 


My blanket is all coffee stains;

I spill my coffee on it.

I often wear my blanket with

The coffee stains upon it.

I wake; I sit; I drink coffee

In the unheated apartment;

I drip the hot caffeine’s dark cheer

On the sleep-deprived garment.

Are you awake? Are you warmer,

You drooping insulator?

Or is the coffee lost on you

In your second shift of labor?

I sit days in pyjamas like

Life were the sleep of being;

And the coffee keeping me awake

Prolongs the painful dreaming.

I dream that I am maladroit

And hated for who I am;

I am cold; and I am celibate;

I am kept from having friends


Sitting on David’s porch, I said that

Poets compare our lives to dreams.

He asked, “why, because life is odd,

And we forget we have agency?”

Zeke Greenwald‘s work has been featured by the Opiate, Prelude, Join the Dots, Künstler Künstlerin, and others. Check out more of his work at zekegreenwald.com