Lisa Zaran

Lisa Zaran

Lisa Zaran was born in 1969 in Los Angeles, California. She 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. the sometimes girl was subsequently published to German under the title das manchmal madchen.

Selections from her other books and publications have been translated to Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Persian, Dutch, German and Serbian. Three of her poems have been performed by Glasgow’s Radio Theater Group (Subtraction Flower, Girl and Dreams). Her poem Shoe Sonnets is currently being shown in the literary display at SONS, a museum in Kruishoutem, Belgium.

Lisa’s work can be found both nationally and internationally in literary journals, magazines, web ‘zines and anthologies. Some of these include: Apparatus Magazine, Juked, Ramshackle Review, The Tower Journal, Kritya, Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, Leaf Garden Press, Best of the Web Anthology, 2Review, Nomad’s Choir Poetry Journal, 2 River View and Literature- an introduction to reading and writing published by Pearson.

Lisa is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, a web based poetry journal, updated monthly, featuring American poets. She lives and writes in Arizona.


Last night I cast the demons
from my dreams.
It was not easy, especially
those with silver speech.
How they tried to woo me
out of my self.
They split my side open,
created a sanctuary between
my lungs, fed off my heart’s
nocturnal wanderings, pinned
pictures of themselves
to the bones of my ribcage.
Memories, the one with the stoney
voice said, as he hung a mirror
from my sternum and looked
at himself.

The demons are not unkind.
On the contrary, they believe
to be of service, as the sun finishes
baking and closes the oven door
until tomorrow, they think I need
company. As I lay my head down
to sleep, they begin walking, talking,
thinking aloud, ruminating, considering
our past which is still their present.
I realize it’s up to me to set them straight,
to clear their cloudy heads from thinking
that any damaged love is better off
left lingering and so I show them.

This is the door to the outside world,
here through the cut in my side,
between the fifth and sixth rib, go
and be free. Some totter with worry,
others simply leave. A few are very
afraid and stare through the opening.
Some are so tiny I find it humiliating,
others are so large it’s like giving birth,
my body is the grave from which they
are born. A herd of black horses waits
to carry them off.

The one with the stone-y voice is the last
to leave. A cord of maternal nature
binds him. From the light coming in from
the cut in my side I can see he is young
like a glass child and is refusing to go.
So I break him, poor boy.
Send his shattered pieces flying.
There is no room for adolescence here,
I say as I remove the glass from the carpet
of my lungs. First loves nor any of those
that have come after. From now on
I do not need to know what day it is,
nor what hour. I’m starting over.

(Originally published in The Peregrine Muse, ‘ongoing collection’)

Mountain Girl

It’s in accordance with mother
nature that I should love mountains.
Picking through bones and rudimentary
stones, the sunlight only hinders my vision
as its brightness stretches on for miles, reflecting
off hinges. I look up to discover caverns
of plate black where animals condition their existence.

I am just a child trying not to attract attention.
I squat on boulders, a blade of dry grass
in my teeth, assuring the world with my posture,
mountains can be our friends, facing them the same
as I would a flower, with little confrontation.
Negotiate crevices with tender feet until I reach
a contemplation point. Everywhere I look, rock garden and sky.

My mother waves a yellow scarf and I can hear my name echoed.
Driving home my mother chimes: you look so little up there, like a needle,
I could hardly find you!

Held now by the long affinity of hours, next visit I vow to go higher.

Poetry in this post: © Lisa Zaran
Published with the permission of Lisa Zaran