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

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

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
and so I whisper,
“I’m sorry”
to a child
living in my body
and she tells me,
“It’s going to be all,
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

EJZ 02.11.2016

“I am not writing the poem; I am just holding the pen.”

As troubles bring you down and darkness follows,
Perpetual blindness where once you thought you saw,
Know that you are not alone.

There is a voice speaking and it calls your name
in the middle of the night,
if you dream and wake gently,
sit long enough to remember,
It sighs
and whispers,
flowing like a river
and calls, waiting
for the small of your back to make contact,
float silent,
water not too cool, too warm,
tepid, somewhere in the middle,
so you lay your head down,
let it carry you
and just when you think
time has grown wrinkled and tired,
no longer in your favor,
a hand passes over your face,
and that voice sings lullaby,
Spirit rocks to sleep

Olive tree drops branch you never noticed.

To step without looking

To know you will not fall.

“You are not finished,” voice says.

There are words in your bones.
There are thoughts in your head that are not your own –
They are the kind ones you never listen to –
They are the true ones you never speak –
Your time is borrowed
Your blood is the river.
Float on, float on

God is writing –
pick up the pen.

EJZ 02.18.2016

I am a love addict.

and that may sound romantic
but it’s a torturous hell
and my heart and my life
are an endless, bottomless cavern
that cannot be filled.
Never enough to be quenched, my thirst.

You know, you can’t hold water in your hands
but you try and you try
to form yourself in such a way
to become a vial, yourself
and you’re vile, yourself
but you can’t tell
because all your mirrors are broken
and you can’t see yourself
in the water you’re still trying to contain in your hands –
the ones that couldn’t grasp to begin with
because you think it’s your life force,
all that’s left on Earth
and you forget the fountain you strayed from
before you set out on your quest for that unattainable goal
which had you scrambling through mazes and missions and conquests, untenable
and you dropped your key from your back pocket
and it drowned in the water
which slipped through your hands
as you desperately tried to contain it
and friction won’t help
and frantic slits throats
and stupefies –
Losing your head
in the water,
slipping through hands
like time on the shore
and nobody told you
the power was not in the key,
in the water,
it was in you
but you had to let go to find out
and then you find out
there never was water,
just hope
and your hands couldn’t grasp what they never felt
so you’re left empty, forlorn

but there is a fountain

still water,
the key, floating
and yours
if you choose to look in
and grasp
and say –

I am a love addict
and that may sound romantic
but it’s a torturous hell.

EJZ 09.17.2015

These Hands

These hands will write
broken words to form full sentences,
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