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

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

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

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

 

#REF!

Zero
minus one is a radical idea
so radical that –
it’s imaginary
So that’s where I’ll begin
or end
or both
This mathematical mind scramble just threw me

Sensibility never made much sense to me
To say we were once
one would be a computational error
I can’t solve for X because I don’t know the alphabet
Why,
you know I don’t do division long-hand
well,
I don’t do division well at all.

Do you think
we were one or just two imaginaries
being added together?
i + i for an i + i
2i is still not real
and you can’t divide by zero

So is this a division problem
or addition
or subtraction
or metaphysics?

Where do I begin?
From a tiny wish?
A whisper of imagination sent to heaven?
Does God hear me?
Am I an echo of a prayer?
Am I
                Am I
                                Am I

beginning again where I left off?

Were we divided
or just whispering?

EJZ 12.30.2015

The image of a jungle is coming to mind when I think about my parents dying.

Like I can’t sift through all the wild green leaves
and the noises around me make me feel crowded and alone

I am lost and I can’t find my way out of this place
and even if I could, I wouldn’t know where I was going
so how would I know when I wasn’t lost anymore?
What familiar place could I begin to call home?
What is familiar anyway?
How does love feel when it means something?

Is there a place called somewhere
that somehow
becomes something
more than an upchuck of color
and voices calling you
by a name you can’t remember is yours or not?

Do we ever wake up from this
not-quite-nightmare but far-from-dream?
What’s on the other side of life?
Is that home? Because that’s where you went
and you’re the most familiar place
and the only thing I think of
that starts in my heart and ends with an “ome”.
Is it just me saying “Ohm”?
Is it just me writing?

Is it just me?

EJZ 1.11.2016

I am a jealous bitch.

My eyes are green and my heart is greener
I’ll hate you for your blood that bleeds red.

I am a jealous bitch.

I’ll walk through the trees and say, “Please,
I wish I was made out of wood” –
Oak or pine would be fine
Let my hair be luscious like leaves swaying in the breeze just so I could be
still and alone with myself.

I am a jealous bitch.

And do you know why?
It’s because I’m afraid –

Afraid that if someone seems better than me it means I’m not good enough.
Afraid that if my boyfriend sees a girl with bigger tits, a prettier face, smaller waist who’s less broken than me and I’m not there to stop him, he’ll leave me
and if I am, he’ll deceive me.

I am a jealous bitch.

Because I think I’m supposed to be the smartest, best-looking, most confident, clever, graceful woman who ever walked
who can tell the best jokes and hold her liquor
with the heart of an artist and the soul of a saint
who cooks for you, cleans for you, serves you a drink with a smile and still gets 8 hours of sleep every night

I am a jealous bitch.

Afraid that second place is just as bad as last so I don’t even try.
Instead, I sit in a boiling pot of my own insecurity, resentment and shame
and cook until a putrid scent of self-hatred spews from my bones
and wait for a knife and a fork to come stabbing through my veins
eaten alive from the inside out
swallowed whole by my own misgivings
I wash it all down with the blood of my failures.

I am a jealous bitch.

And I’m jealous of you, and of you, and of you
and I’ll try to turn it around and look up to you
and admire
and use this as fuel to push me to go where I want to,
to let your confidence be my courage
to let your ability be my growth
to let you your light be my sun
but I’m not comfortable in my own skin –
I’m more comfortable in the skin of the bitch I’ve become
because it’s easier than facing the truth
so I see you and want to be you and feel all those things that I lack
but instead I sit back and I say,
“Well, she ain’t shit anyway, I mean
look at her shoes”
as if the fact that I’m wearing Steve Madden leather makes me loveable,
that the strap between my ankle and heel is protection from my treason
I’d like to use it to hang myself.

I am a jealous bitch with nothing to lose
or so I’d like to think because jealousy
is fear of something being taken away

I am a jealous bitch and I hate every breath I take in
but if you’re taking some too
I’ll want to take it from you
and hope that you choke on it

and if you do?
I’ll be jealous of that too

because although I feel I have nothing,
I’m terrified to lose it.

EJZ 04.26.2015