If you were to answer the phrase “I have been blessed because…”, what would that be?

I have been blessed because…

From the first day of my life I was told I would figure it out; I’ve figured out that I won’t;

I’ve figured out that that’s okay.

For 25 years beyond that day I have felt cursed and wrong and broken.

My mother, too sick to care for herself, left my father too drained to hold on. This is when she learned to care. This, I got to witness.

The death in my life came early and I will die a million more.

All the nights I’ve spent drug-laced and destitute have led me to survival.

The tears that come with dirty flashback memory are clean.

Pain permeates my body in all the broken places. I have nothing to numb the pain. I can feel it all.

Sarcasm gets my point across more violently than truth and with less clarity, yet I am an apprentice to both.

Being forced to swallow grievances has led me to a place of spitfire.

I no longer spit fire on those that are already burning.

Hell is a cleansing, purifying transformation, readying us for heaven.

I embody transformation – victim, survivor, refugee, advocate – I embody transformation.

The last addiction I’ve to fight is to the attention I keep wishing will make up for lost time.

The love I have experienced in my life has not been real. The love I experience for myself is changing this.

My heart is threadbare, yet I learn to mend.

The broken ligaments of my spiritual body were born of wholeness and return to wholeness.

I have visited the place where Heaven and Earth kiss.

I have found a definition for miracle.

I have a key that fits inside a lock that leads to safety.

The violence I experience is only self-induced and on mental replay when I cannot hit pause.

The past holds only as much power over the present as I allow it.

The present holds as much power over the future as I am giving it in this moment.

I can hit pause.

Words flow through me like the air in my lungs – I am still breathing.

There is no hand around my throat anymore.

There is music in my bones which plays softly through my capillaries and loudly in my ears.

In the darkness of the night, I see the moon.

Indignation is not the only feeling and neither is rage.

There is a feeling called gratitude. There is also love.

When I sit down to write a gratitude list, I have something to put on it.

I have not been cursed with broken hands –

I have been blessed because they still write.

EJZ 1.27.2018

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Lost in Translation

I have not posted in quite some time. Been having a lot of feelings lately and am reminded of this poem I wrote back in May.

TW: Sexual Abuse

Lost in Translation
05.30.2016

Sun drops drip down my shoulder and I am cooled to the point of disaster.

I don’t know what I’m writing,
let alone how I feel.

Do you know who I am when I’m not here?
Could I possibly be any more alone when even I’ve left myself?

My body breathes, and how?
How
when I’m not even there to inhale?

Is numb a feeling or is it the absence
of truth?

Truth.

Truth is, what I never knew
I’ve known before
and now
I don’t know how to feel anything but pain,
and
a dull queasiness seeping through my bones,
and
numb.

And
I wish I could remember
who taught me to feel this way
and
the first time I learned to leave my body
and let it feel whatever happened
while I didn’t have to feel a thing.

And the truth is
my body knows
and tries to tell me
and sometimes, maybe
I don’t want to listen
or
we don’t speak the same language
because it tells me things I never wanted to understand.
And maybe I never will.

Pedophile
is a Greek word
meaning,
“lover of children”;
and to me
and my body,
that will never
ever
ever
make sense.

So leave me to feel numb
because it makes more sense to me than the truth.

And if I ever understood
what makes some minds work the way they do
I’m not sure I could ever feel a thing again
and it would make about as much sense
as the sun making me feel cold
or a pedophile
being someone who was supposed to love me.

EJZ

Winter Thoughts

The month of December is the weirdest time of year
where things are meant to slow down,
to freeze,
and all us humans go completely insane
with consumerism,
with
always wanting more.

Drops of rain turn snow
turn bird call south.
Flags fly half-mast.
Wounded souls and soldiers
of this life-battle
are left dusty and frozen over.

Does cryogenics freeze the soul?
Can I keep myself here
in this warm little box of safety
gone denial?
Would you stay with me
and forget the past?
Can we resolve to never forget what happens
when the clocks turn Eastward
and the grass melts?

My heart smells of pine and
the scent of mistletoe burning.
Kiss set fire to my soul
Now darkness sets in
on afternoons where music used to play
on beaches after rain
and the moon was almost as bright
as the sun.

When can we visit again?
When can we play pretend?
Color my sky.
The sea in my eyes
longs to drown you.
You’re my pebble
at the bottom of the ocean.

Can we resolve to never forget what happens?

EJZ 12.28.2015

Thanksgiving

I.
The wind whirs outside my window dark
and gloomy
Sun had no chance to be seen
through stratus cloud and omen:
Death awaits.

Thanksgiving Tuesday.
What will be left to be grateful for as days go by?
Which bird will be slaughtered for our feasting,
thirsty souls to devour?
Blood of wine and strangulation bring us together
this once per year
as vows are made and broken.
We’ll see you again
We’ll see you again before next year,
before another fowl massacre for
our grateful teeth.
We’ll see you
We’ll see

II.
I wonder how PETA members feel about Thanksgiving.
Do they hold mass vigils to mourn the deaths
of the multiple millions of turkeys cross-country
being stuffed
and groomed for showy-show?

Once per year
the family comes over.
Let’s make it look good.
White picket fence and la dee da dee
Put a blanket over Uncle Jim
passed out in the corner.
Blame tryptophan today.
Acting out denial
Let’s clean house.
Dust off the feather-duster.
The others will be arriving soon and
what will they think if the silverware’s not polished?
She chokes one screaming breath
as ice clinks in glass
on day meant for gratitude.

Sigh.
Just for today, Jim
Just please
Just use a coaster.

III.
Cry

“I’m here!”
Sheila brought Tofurkey stuffed with spelt and hemp seeds
arriving from the séance for fowls come and gone.
She comes dressed in lace
and laced with criticism.
Joins Jim on the couch,
sits on the cigarette burn Leslie forgot to cover up.

At least the whiskey is cruelty-free.

She doesn’t use a coaster.

EJZ 11.24.2015

Cover (up) Girl

Maybe if I make my makeup perfect, streamlined, or
Curvy in the right places,
they won’t notice
I paint my face with lies

My smile

Is my future bright enough?
Do the fluorescent lights shine loud enough to blind you from my past?

My soul

Does the blood bleed ruptured red enough?
Can you make the latest new bold hue from the color of the circles in the creases of my eyes?

Will you love me when you see me in the morning?

EJZ 11.04.2016

Drunk Dreams

 

Star swarm
Relative anxiety
Pretending to pretend to
not care anymore
Instead we laugh, drink
and dine our nights
away in glitter splendor
and wine, half-drunk
is not really drunken
unless you can smell it on your pores

Discursive thought pattern
in a well of smoke
It tells you to shut up
and then it laughs at you for thinking
thoughts about yourself
and you think you’re surely crazy
so you think and drink some more.

Handle with care.
Do you see how you’ve fallen?
It’s in just such a way
that meditating on starlight is
not enough for our eyes tonight

Kiss me and make me feel the stars again.

Why can’t I get you out of my head
when you’ve gotten so out of my life
that I can’t remember if yesterday was a year ago or today
And every time I think of stars
I think of you and the wine
and you’ve ruined time for me

Where do you go when you’re dead but living?
What do ghosts smell like?
Apothic red and haunting moonlight
My drunk dreams are cheaper than you

I’d drink from your cup any day,
anytime, and never all at once.

What the fuck was I talking about when I accidentally told you I love you?
Accidentally on purpose I decided you were my tomorrow
and hung my wedding dress on the cobweb cabinet shelf of my mind
and you
Decided I was yesterday
and never, all at once
You’re always to me
Always, always

and I can smell you on my pores.

I thought I was a hopeless romantic – It turns out I was just an addict

Feeling feelings alcoholically, wasted
time on perpetrating men,
victimizing brain cells
to drug and hand
of batterer, filling
veins with silly
love songs from guitar, avoidant
wanting what I couldn’t have,
having what I shouldn’t want,
and always more of it.

The wine tastes sweet when you don’t know what you’re drinking
and even when you do…

Disease of extremes
filling my lungs and choking
me to death, I thrive
on self-destruction
and the voice that wants to kill me sounds
an awful
lot like my own.
I can’t get any better for I’ll never
tell another soul,
for surely that voice of malice, death, destruction
will become theirs and then
and then…

A self-fulfilling prophecy
of no one is going to love me and
“Is someone going to save me?” and
truth is, I can’t
see around me what I can’t see
in myself

so the world looks dark and gloomy
for I am
blinded by the absence
which seethes through every pore
of my body, gone withered,
gone missing

Until
I half-open eye
dwelling somewhere in my spirit –
Banner on linoleum wall, reading
“You are not alone anymore”
Hand, reaching, saying
“You don’t have to be afraid
anymore”
and so I whisper,
“I’m sorry”
to a child
living in my body
and she tells me,
“It’s going to be all,
alright,
just don’t leave me here again.
Start at the beginning
and finish when you’re done
and you’ll know when that is
because you’ll look around and see
how many people you are helping
by drinking
from cup of truth,
not only savoring,
but sharing
every
last
drop.”

EJZ 02.11.2016

Feeling uninspired

tastes like
dust
collected on the vegetable
platter left out
because you didn’t care enough
about yourself to put it away,

smells acrid, like
it should burn your throat
to inhale
but you don’t feel
much but your body,
languid,
releasing quiet cough

sounds like
you’d expect a cave to breathe
when you walk in
just to find another rock wall,
concrete and
final
looks like
surrounding steel bars, old
enough to rust but just
fading, still holding back
the spirit caged behind them,

feels like
the vibration in your fingernail
as you scratch the wall –
designate another day
but leave no mark.

EJZ 12.30.2015

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