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

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Today I decided to fly away.

Someone once told me not to be brave,
to just run.

Well, she didn’t tell me –
she told Tom Hanks in that movie.
She also prayed God would make her a bird
so she could fly far away.
So I’m doing the next best thing.

The problem is
my baggage has baggage
and I get charged an overweight fee
after setting off every metal detector
and I have to explain,
“Sorry, that’s just the bullet lodged in my parietal lobe from that time when…
I’m not sure you’d understand…
He was a red-head.
Do you get it now?
I can show you my scars.
They’re all in the journals I’ve kept for the last six months.
Can you just let me on the plane?
I’ll pay the $25 if it means escaping this place
for a week
or a month
or a day
or however long it takes before I feel like running again.”

The thing is
you can’t escape your past,
it always follows you.
All you can do is turn around
and find another airport to tell your story
and maybe this time
someone will listen.

And maybe this time
it won’t just be to keep you on the ground beneath them.
It won’t just be to craft ammunition out of the trust you give
until you have to fly away from another port
and pay another fee
and reluctantly explain, another time,
“Sorry….I’ve got these bullets…”

No, maybe this time you’ll be heard
and they’ll let you fly away
but you’ll always fly back to that airport
because it’s the only one that helps you understand
what it means to fly back home.

EJZ 07.09.2015

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.
Sprinkle
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
no,
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,
only
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
yourself.

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.
Maybe
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
us
around?

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

These Hands

These hands will write
broken words to form full sentences,
complete
not stories
but truths.

The knuckles will crack and bleed
as I drag them, groping,
blind and searching
for an answer.

They will learn
to feel a warmth, another hand,
a safety, a security, a love
and that hand may let go
but these hands will still be mine.

Bruises, chips and cracks will heal
and they will soften
and wrap around another
and whisper,
“Don’t worry,
you are safe in my hands now
and look,
you have your own, too”.

Sometimes, fingernails, painted
will chip;
They won’t be perfect
but they will be mine
and they will be safe
and they will write.

EJZ 08.27.2015

Stop

I looked up “synonyms for power-hungry” and I got
“ambitious”.

In our power-over society with lust for control,
we are taught that, “Stop”
is a four-letter-word,
that “No”
is disrespect to our elders,
but “Fuck”
is just fine
for a girl, barely aged nine
to speak and receive from
men with desire for dominance.

This poem is for everyone who was never taught
to utter the word, “No,”
who were told to erase it, instead, from their lexicon
and replace it with, “Sorry”.

You have nothing to apologize for.

This is for the girl who said, “Stop, no,
it hurts,”
but couldn’t be heard through the palm, open
over her mouth
so she shut it.

This is for the boy on the street
that was beaten for walking to a foreign rhythm,
who could not say “stop” because he did not know
the language of white terrorists.

This is for the girl at the party who can’t remember if she said no or not
because that’s what the drugs were designed for.

This is for everyone who has witnessed a crime
but choked on their words when they went to yell, “Stop”
because the crimson glare from his knife was too much to bear
and the sweat on their palms crippling, cold
so they shoved them in their pockets and ran
away
with the guilt and the shame of their silence.

This is for the ones in the street
starving
for their next hit
crawling on damp pavement,
searching for a needle
because they couldn’t say no that one time
and now
they will struggle to ever say no
to the regret corroding their veins.

This is for the child
petitioned
on the internet
for pictures
of her blossoming body
who couldn’t say, “no”
because he was a grown-up
and her parents
were not there to teach her
or let her
say no.

This is for every time you blamed me
for your addiction
to psychosis
and I couldn’t scream, “No”
as your hand gripped my throat
because I was afraid
that any breath of air I exhaled in attempt to escape
would never come back to me.

I have nothing to apologize for.

This is to remind you that your words are worth more
than the pearls that he gave you in attempt to excuse
each time he would beat you
to convince you
it would never happen again
to keep you
around until he could choke you
with that necklace of manipulation
until you had no lips of your own anymore to speak or say, “No.”

This is to remind you that you are more valuable
than your legs or your breasts or the way that you move
your hips when he begs you and pokes you and
holds down your wrists
as you wish you remembered how to spell “Stop.”

I learned to say, “No”
I learned to spell “Stop”
with an escape route, my two legs, twelve steps and
a restraining order
to leave behind lies,
the bruises and scars,
the insistence
that “No” meant “yes”
because I was his woman,
his property,
like I owed him,
like he was doing me a favor
by intruding my body,
stripped
of a soul by his –
– did they call it ambition? –
Quest
for control –
He is lost.

And I ran

And now,
with a climax of character,
the prowess of principle
an orgasmic oration,
I’m coming
I’m coming
I’m coming
I’m here!

And no,
I won’t stop.

EJZ 04.28.2015

How does it feel?

I.
Wake up with regret –
I keep my shame locked up
in a cabinet
next to half-drunk,
open
bottles of wine,
unrolled
tobacco left on my nightstand,
love letters never received.

Deception is a hell of a good time.

Tastes better the second time around
when I know what I’m coping with.

I sleep with the ghosts
haunting my dreams
with nights I’ve survived to write about.

I could write books
about books
I haven’t written.

How does your throat feel
the morning after you’ve been choked?

II.
How does it feel
to feel
anything –
pain –
through the mellow monotony
you’ve learned to call every day?

How does it feel,
six month delay –
aftershock –
realize
four guns
resting
in the palms
of his hands –
a signature
standing between you
and a grave –
(if you’d even be buried –
probably
just swept under the rug
by his mother
with the rest of the family secrets) –
and you don’t even
care –
you gave up the right to life a long time ago
and really? –
could it really be worse?

III.
How does it feel
the morning after
the first night you felt safe enough to sleep through?

IV.
It feels like running,
like prayer, like
drowning –
like holy, like
nightfall,
like death –
like train-wreck,
like savior,
like savor,
like sweet,
like bitter,
like arson,
like air in my lungs, like –
slow down! – too fast,
like first time,
remember?
the first time –
you want to forget
but remember –
the truth –
like truth, like
singing,
like rainbow, like
passion and fire,
infatuation and
self-degradation
but
self-esteemed,
floating on pebbles,
but floating and free.

Deception is a hell of a good time.

It feels like feeling all over again.
It feels like fast forward stuck on rewind.
It feels like a hell of a hell of a time
but it feels
        it feels
         it feels.

EJZ 05.27.2015

There once was a girl who had a voice

so loud it could shake the moon,
so strong it could lift spirits,
so sweet you could taste it when she spoke.
It would echo when she sang
and fall upon deaf ears
and touch them
so they could even hear the tones of truth and grace.

But there was a curse
that crept
and disguised itself as love,
a song that she could sing to
and she did
and she thought,
“Well, this is great!
But not quite so…
Well, never mind,”
and shut her mouth.

And each time she opened it,
it got a little quieter.

At first you couldn’t tell
until the moon stopped glowing
and her spirit had fallen
and bitter was the only taste she knew.

The curse had stolen her voice
and buried it
in a dark place
where no one could hear it.
It tried to return
but the curse would scare it away again
and the girl was gone.

And she cried
but no one could hear
because he had stolen her voice
her thoughts
her love
her song
and replaced them with fire
and dust
and dark.

Until one day
when she looked for the moon and saw the sun
and a tree
which directed the light down a path
and she took one step
and she felt it –
the tone of truth and grace
she had forgotten but not lost.
She took a step and she made it
to a field with a single flower.
She took a step and she knew it,
at the root of that flower,
her voice.
She kissed its petals,
inhaled her song
and sang louder
stronger
sweeter
than she ever had before
and her deaf ears heard
and felt

and the curse was broken.

EJZ 04.15.2015

One

Claws in the tires of the able-bodied;
Parasite of the able minded –
The weak feed on the strong –
There is power in numbers.

But what happens when there is no strength left to bleed
because it was strong enough to walk away?
Smart enough to hide?
Do the weak feed on each other?
Starving maggots in the dust they’ve destroyed –
If they could feed on sores they’d never go hungry.

Without one, none can follow;
The most powerful number is one.

EJZ 03.26.2015

Life, The Day After

image

Woke up in a storm and I was drowning,
suffocating
on my lungs that couldn’t scream,
grasping for truth,
gripping
the lies I was fed.

The sweetness comes with a bitter pill,
The sweetness
never comes

until you spit in the face of the man who made it rain in the first place.

Woke up in the storm
but you were awake.

There is life the day after the storm.

EJZ 02.06.2015