Zaran is an American poet and the author of six collections
including The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the
latter of which was the focus of a year long translation course
in Germany. Selections from her other books have been translated
to Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Serbian, Greek and Chinese.
Founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, Lisa
dedicates her time to poetry, whether reading it, speaking about
it or writing it. Most current homes for her work include SONS,
a museum in Kruishoutem,
Belgium, Literature- an Introduction to Reading and Writing
published by Pearson, Duece Coupe, Nomad's Choir Poetry Journal,
The 6S Love Book, Best of the Web Anthology and Not a Muse
Anthology. She lives and writes in Arizona.
Why does she leave
every morning at four
with only her keys
and not her wallet.
Does she drive
to the end of the street
and park facing East?
Does she watch the sun
rise over the blue mountain
wild and free, breaking
a sound? Does she
think about sunlight
at daybreak, how cheerful
it is. Is she the only person
alive to see it? And when it rises,
stable and true, tender
does she greet it with
a smile or a tear?
I can not tell. I do not know
where she goes.
Why does she leave.
Perhaps it is her that raises
the curtain, pulls the strings.
Wet with dew, her hands
raise too as white light
strikes the windshield.
Does she applaud?
My father, in the final printed version
of his life died alone in a hospital bed.
His body restless. His lungs, crushed
In another incarnation, my father
blossoms into breath, pulls the tube
from his throat and like an emptiness
into a pillar of mist. Dark as a grave,
I listen to hallway sounds, the hiss
of ventilators and their rebellious
I sit, mystified. Staring at the wall.
My fathers form, still as the room
it occupies, expecting no visitor's
touch. As night grows long and dim,
my father fast asleep. The broken lungs,
valves and groans no longer his own
I take his hand and hold it.
Go from your most mud laden circumstance,
your darkest hour in the darkest place imaginable.
that endless room inside your head, those endless
hallways without windows, without light, where
nothing is. Sit inside. Very still. Don't fret
about your conscience or your will. Forget resistance.
Shuck off your coat, hat and gloves. Remove
your clothes, your underclothes. Skin and bones.
Fat. Let your fingers follow you down. Listen.
Feel. Your heart, that lone island of shrubs can
not protect you. Go beyond. Kill every organ
that gets in the way. Tear out every vein
by the throat.
Leave no capillary standing. No nerve unharmed.
Find the nothing that is. The no more. The voice
without noise. Spare nothing.
Not even the soul.
heroin and all its hosts
which merge upon my life
At least I have my son
and all his idiosyncrasies,
his bleeding heart (which I mop)
his alter of doom (which I sweep)
his screech of redemption (which I clean,
over and over and over again).
I like it here.
How does it feel to bathe, son?
I ask him. He shrugs, says i dunno.
It's all very difficult.
I live in despair but nothing
no one thing
compares to his despair.
At least for me, I can count the minutes
between sunrise and sunset. I can contemplate
tomorrow. Again, like my father once said,
we're all damned darling. Take it or leave it.
I take it. The struggle, the sacrifice, the pain.
The wine, the whiskey, the age that creeps
up on my face like a map drawn by elementary
aged children. Every damned day, I take it.
Is it intimate? This power I do not feel but know
deep in my bones. This rage? Is it rage if I visualize
myself as sitting large while my son wastes
his monumental, God given gifts on a drug
that will eat him from the inside out?
Each morning I wake with a dry throat,
sissy cough. I contemplate the day through
a window full of desert dust. I wake afraid.
Every morning. Afraid.
What to say when the work is done.
Another day another dollar?
No. I leave my story on scratch pads,
receipts in the side panel of my car.
Unlike my friends, I'm beside the weekend
outings. I've offended many with the shrug
of my shoulders. Besides, who wants
to be out in this glittery summer heat
when Pessoa is sitting on a shelf?
It seems life is empty. Neither,
here or there. Perhaps it is in my blood
or my raising, to leave the light
and welcome the midnight hour.
An owl. That is what I am. Who-who-ing
to the lantern of iron and rust.