Lisa Zaran


Lisa Zaran is an American poet, essayist and the author of six collections including The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the latter of which was recently the focus of a year long translation course in Germany, since translated to German under the title:  das manchmal mädchen.  Selections from her other books have been translated to Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese and Greek.  She is the founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, an online journal of poetry.  Besides writing, Lisa considers her other bold passions :  painting, outsider art, folk and blues music, Bob Dylan and her two brilliant children, Zed and Kirsten.  She lives and writes in Arizona.


Four Poems (January 20, 2010. Issue 13.)

Blue Soul
Sunrise, great liquid silence
of my breathing, tobacco-less,
my lungs tweak in their walnut
graves. I must be mad.

The scent of perfume I cannot
name, reminding me of winter,
years past, and how I used
to slurp the world up in one swallow.

Whole trees and streets and drivers
behind the wheel. Promiscuous,
I ran through rain coatless, hatless,
hair pressed against a wet face.

I don't so hate the world I want to die.
Even as my lungs are little help
to one another and my heart, hopeless,
falls silent on my lips. I keep my god

in the left pocket of my nightdress,
stroke the white skin of his cheek
as stones collect in my throat,
and oxygen flees from my body

like a frightened deer.


The road turns narrow, colors wash away, scream
of one last sparrow, damp and worry pave the rest
of the way. My voice flees out in front of me.
I try to relate to death by holding my breath.


Dead for so long, I'd forgotten my name.
Didn't know I could hoard the sounds
or heave the voice of midnight, which
I've always embraced, calmly, emphatically,
down to blood, I'm sure I owe a thousand
thank you’s.

I'm happy to see you. Are you an ancestor
of mine? Today or tomorrow I will disappear,
I'm not sure when. I'm not an angel. I know
this because I still have ribs. Still see out
of eyes which shed tears, such a knife!

I still count on your reason even though
your drinking has become harder to bear.
Still listen toward the door for the sound
of your shuffling, homeless footsteps.
The wood of your face as it softens for bed.

Dear, people will always pour out crowds.
Every person they think they are or were
or might become, will come pouring
like whiskey from a drunkards mouth.
I press my head to the pillow and think of you.

I press my minuscule body against your pitiful
body and kiss your spine. Eyes that do not sleep,
eyes of my heart, stammer for space and keep
silent watch. Chest rise, chest fall.
The movements of your breathing, like a baby
dove in my hand.

I've been dead for so long, love is like a bell
in my mouth, a singer everyone has forgotten about.


Dead, the field sways. Sun is making some
blood red rum mixed with wine. I wake up
unsteady on my feet. Jesus Christ, my one
and only governor, has died, died, then died
again. I kissed his lips once. I kissed his head.
Both were cold and when I asked to nurse,
he shook his head no. Feelings persist.
Passion cannot be extinguished. Hearts
are featureless. These are things my hairdresser
taught me long ago. A good haircut, little love,
(this is what she called me), is as much as a good
blowjob. Who has room for details?

So I let my lord's astonishing light, and love
and crowning pleasure adore me. Like a doll
sewn straight out of the mouth of Venus,
I swore never to die a corpse, but to die a spirit
of nullified silence with a thicket of well cut hair.