Author Archives: Zeke Russell

About Zeke Russell

Zeke Russell grew up in Central Maine surrounded by artists and lumberjacks. Since then he's been a cook, a teacher, a security guard and a social worker. He lives in South Boston with his partner Emily and the world's worst behaved pug dog. He does his best to try to end homelessness, writes poems, and usually needs a haircut.

Prayer Bead

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Frank Pochese lived on a hill near the railroad tracks
across from the shell of the abandoned
New Walk Shoe Factory.

Frank would hit other boys
whenever they got close enough,
would flip the tables in the school cafeteria.
My mother said be nice,
said Frank just did the things he did.

Once I walked up the hill to frank’s house,
saw the little trailer with it’s tacked on porch.
Saw frank’s grandfather hand stitching moccasins.
Saw frank sitting quiet next to him.
One kid at school said
Frank’s mom lived up
on the Passamaquoddy reservation.
Said frank lived with his grandparents
because she drank too much. Continue reading

Four Poems – Zeke Russell

To the junkie who told me he hated me when I revealed I've been clean 
for eight years

Sometimes, I hate me, too.
Sometimes I wake up, rub
the place on my left arm
that will never be the soft flesh
it was before. And every night
I go to bed with that skin 
unopened. I know that I will live,
and I know
that I don't deserve this,
that this redemption
would fit better 
on someone else's shoulders—
someone who paid more for it.


This is how it happens to you:
They send you home, left leg shattered
and stitched back together and screaming.
Screaming the metal on metal of a train wreck.
A four a.m. smoke alarm you will not 
get the batteries out of. 

They give you those little white pills
and they work. Not the way the Tylenol 3
with Codeine works, that just puts a blanket 
over the noise. No, they turn that shit
off. Pure, kind silence—and who wouldn’t
get hooked on that?
 Continue reading