The Argotist Online

Home       Articles       Interviews       Features       Poetry       Ebooks       Submissions       Links


Lisa Zaran

Lisa Zaran's collections include The Sometimes Girl (InnerCircle Publishing), You Have A Lovely Heart (Little Poem Press), Clipped From Our Days (an online chapbook at Argonauts' Boat) and her fourth full length collection which is in its final editing stages entitled, The Blondes Lay Content.  She counts among her muses, Bob Dylan, Fernando Pessoa, Michael Ondaatje, and Rainer Maria Rilke.


Certain Death

What would the world mean to me
if you weren't in it?
What would it take
for me to rise
each morning
to brush the dust
of night out of my face?
Would I wake up smiling
happy to hear the birds bellowing
below my window,
glad to see the sunlight
as it began another minuet morning,
bravely endurable?
How would I feel
pulling on a suit of armor
to face the day?
If you weren't here,
I'd walk around naked
with a bullseye painted on my chest
and a sign around my neck that read:
Keep your eye on the target
and aim for the heart.


An Unlikely Story

I've tried everything.
stale silences,
imprisonment behind
the cold bars of drugged sleep.

I can't lose you.

You're everywhere.
You're inside of me,
the warm ignition
that sparks my every want.



The sky is an open wound
we gaze upon.
Daemon is a fixed star
gathering the bodies of other stars
around it.
Don't look to the sky.
Don't pray to the stars.


There are people at the bus depot
spinning time around their wrists.

There are people who are patient
as they wind time to a close.

There are people sleeping
in warm beds, their lovers
beside them, glimpsing extra seconds
between each tick of the clock.

There are people smoldering
in the furnace of life killing time
as if they've got too much of it.

There are people who stand behind
time pushing it with all their might,
as if it were a stalled car.

There are people who praise time
for its length. Then later find themselves
waiting for time's reward.

There are people eating time,
whole hours for breakfast, an entire day
for lunch.

There are people who look at time
as if it were a horse and gallop through
their life.

There are people who lack sufficient time
like children who are sick and men with
too many tasks and women who fail to realize

tomorrow doesn't mean very much to yesterday.

What Happened

Then the sun rose and its light
fell open, pouring down the mountain
like a tongue of gold.

Then the years collapsed
as my dead father drove
his scent into the room.

Then God followed
by flattening His spirit
into shadows on the wall.

Then compassion raised me
from my bed and my depression.

That Other Star

I've listened to you sing.
I've strung your lyrics
across the heart of my house
like Christmas lights.
I've climbed into your tree of thoughts,
clinging like an ornament to your uppermost
branches. I am that other star.
Not the one who tops you,
but the one, perhaps among many, who keeps you alight.

From Black to Red

Something has happened to my heart.
It doesn't make a sound.
It used to cry for days on end
now it is dead quiet.
I used to have to drag it from room to room,
now it just goes
on its own two feet, swift and efficient.
Something has happened to my heart.
It's gone from black to red.

Getting Back

Here it is ten years since my father died
and yet he continues to crouch in my mind,
his criticism as real today as when I was twelve,
his voice as prolonged as a tossed stone
skipping across the water of Diaz lake.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

His expression, except for his eyebrows,
which are always raised, the rest just
a flat table. Eyes like two satchels
with their drawstrings closed.

Nobody coming in, nothing going out.
Just one of his mottos. The other:
children should be seen and not heard.
Noise! Noise! Noise!

I shout into his dead dead ears.


poetry hurts
my soul.

My soul aches
at the truth

through the cut

My soul stumbles
across the timber,
splinters in its feet.

Where is love
in poetry?

In the wind of words
or maybe in its sail.

What is love
in poetry?

A heart cut open
to view the shy center

or a sack of roses
to throw into the sea,

perhaps smash against the rocks
that line the shore.

Love is useless,
salt spray in the humble air.



copyright Lisa Zaran