Lisa Zaran

Lisa Zaran-an American poet and essayist living in Arizona. She has authored four collections. the sometimes girl (InnerCircle Publishing, 2004), You Have A Lovely Heart (a chapbook with Little Poem Press, 2004), Clipped From Our Days (an online chapbook at Argonauts' Boat, 2k005) and The Blondes Lay Content (my latest full collection with Lulu Press, 2006). Much of her work has been published nationally and internationally including: Snakeskin, LauraHird, Whistling Shade, Other Voices, John Vick's The Adroitly Placed Word, Mannequin Envy, SNReview, Alba, Underground Window, Literati Magazine, Carnelian, 2River View, The Argotist Online, Juked and many others.


the old woman
in a flurry of nightmares
spins like a barstool
in her sleep.

perhaps time
is nothing but a pattern
of embraces,

unwearied the old woman
Dreams her wrinkled flesh
young again.

dreams about pain
without reason,
as midnight tightens
its coils around her wrists.

with the agile smile
of a catalogue model,
the old woman's teeth stare off
into the distance.

the emptiness of her heart
pulls like a devil
against the bedsheets.

a canopy of hours
spread above her.
It's as if I'd never been born,
she thinks.

The pattern of night
making a groove
in her otherwise simple thoughts.
The moon stooping
to find the incarnate
in her face.

her delicate soul
turning away.


Ode to vizma

for vizma belsevica (1931-2005)

touching the breast
of the man I love
i swear
i can feel his heart
one two three.

o vizma.
vizma belsevica.
i am standing
in the cool trunk of night.
in america. america.
i don't get a lot of company.
a few birds, many bees.
some flies that have lost
their way to the dairy farms.

i am living
in a constant state
of recreation. my biggest
worry is the price of gasoline.
after that, drugs.
checking the pupils of my children
as they come through the door.

o vizma.
vizma belsevica.
you were 74 when you died.
only 74!
i can't imagine dying.
i can't imagine being 74.
i am 36,
though my bitterness might
make me seem older.

o vizma.
vizma belsevica.
often, the morning covers me
in an ash of solitude
and a ray of sunshine.
when you lived in Riga
vizma, when you loved
in Riga, when you wrote
vizma, the bank of your words
remained, riverside....

like a bone they've been

and then, like you, i awake
one morning, empty.
nothing left to give.
my children lose their fevers
and run away.
my husband loses the pulse
in his groin and off he goes.

sadness rolls down my temples,
falls like rain between my breasts.
o vizma. vizma belsevica.
your heart is like a tree
that has outgrown the forest.
my heart is like a leaf
clinging to the archangel
of your soul.

vizma. o vizma belsevica,
i hope your spirit is clear.
mine forever is lifeless.




The wind blows secrets up to my doorstep.
How quickly they come to reveal themselves.
Truths and half-truths of this world.
In what country am I living?

I separate each howling thread of air.
I toss the grey ones of indifference
out into the yard. I embrace the ugly ones.
In what country am I living?

My heart is heavy with homesickness.
My soul has tucked in on itself.
Four billion people on this earth
and each of us lonely. Each of us

trying to love while being hit with resistance.
In what country am I living?


I listen for a moment to the silence: for the value
of human life begins there.

The wind orders us to jump and we do.
I embrace wholly the sheer silence. The wind
tries to come and I shush it, shoo it away.

I close my eyes for a moment to the darkness:
for the seed of God lies inside.

The sunlight orders us to sit and we give it
the finger. Crimson floods the sky.


In what country am I living?
A country of roots, a country of stones.
People nourishing themselves on the bones
of her corpses.

Why has the breeze blown its secrets to my door?
Why has my right hand grown such a cynical glance?
In what country am I living?



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