Lisa Zaran

Lisa 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
without making
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
with intrusion,
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
to bear.

I take his hand and hold it.


Non Action

Go from your most mud laden circumstance,
your darkest hour in the darkest place imaginable.

You know,

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.

Now, unveil.

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.


God Bless

heroin and all its hosts
which merge upon my life
like anemones.

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.


Primal Vision

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.


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