Eight Poems

Posted on September 16, 2007


By Lisa Zaran


My life is a question mark.
I’m married to a question mark.
My children are question marks
even as they expose my similar
features, their noses are question
marks. Their sorrows and reasons
for things are question marks.
By the grace of my heart which
humbly stumbles out question marks,
my love is a question mark,
by whom it attains, him or her or none
at all, to not allow sacrifice to eat
into my soul, my soul is a question mark,
renouncing any and all statements or
systems of belief. My quality of life
is a question mark, an inferior view,
an inevitable development of questions.


A gradual decline.
Indeed, according to nature
I should be happy
most of the time.

My face is pretty.
My teeth are straight.
I can fit into designer jeans.

On the other hand,
my mind can’t be measured
by its distorted views,
my heart can barely endure
the truth.


something my head
can wrap its heart around

with clumsy pride
and arbitrary benefits,
nobility of soul

and a certain way with prowess,
the length of which can
never be determined,

how lust can sometimes
feel like love,

how love can sometimes
make a person sink

into another person.
Certainly this is all a joke
left to us by God,

that something
so united could mock us,
down to our cultured selves.

So, love is good.
Lust for love is forbidden.


It All Becomes Too Easy

The sweetness stolen from a young person
can turn wishes into stone.

As the spirit unceasingly strives
for forgiveness, intellect shoots a gun.

The bullet haunts what it doesn’t shatter.

As if a person can be made to act natural,
wronging another.

Here, at this moment, I would like
to insert a sigh.

Point of Realization

Really only that which I dearly love,
I can not love.
And truly all that has taken up residence
inside of my heart
has fled.
And every step I’ve taken on my journey
has moved me nowhere-
as I look to my soul I see its white sails
and as I search to the source
for inspiration
I find every ear closed in silence
and every eye shut in sleep.

And because my failures are arranged
in neat little rows like teeth,
I can smile and my grin can be wet,
though behind it,
my tongue curls away from bone
and forgets.

Really only that which I dearly want,
I can not want-

the bliss of oblivion, the pistol shot
of brilliance, a romantic death.

It Was In This Moment of Fear

that I became an outlaw.
A law breaker, a liver
of sin, the enemy.

Against the very country
where I was born, against
my own community; its laws,
its prudent punishments,
its unkind, unfair, unavoidable

That the truth might
set me free,
all in good conscience.

That my necessary allies
might find me more valuable
alive than dead.

The night was very dark,
my friend. The ground
was impossible to find.

The only sound
was that of my heart
turning back flips.

I took what I had to.
I killed no one.
My actions were nothing
less than genuine.

The Terminal’s

At last the final turn
in the final hour,
we round the pike,
toss bedsheets and gowns
to the side of the road.

Sunlight, a dropped helmet
behind us-
moonlight, a malarious grin
against the darkness.

December crunches in our bones;
clings to our shoulders,
their dilapidated spines!

Breath unhooks from our lungs,
our hearts frown, our knees give,
our grey haired souls crumple
like paper.


“You can’t jump out of your heart.”
– Vladimir Mayakorsky

And when
he arrives,

my Russian prince
from out of the sky

in blue charm

I will rise
to greet him
with blind arms,

my cloud in trousers.

Or maybe
I will remain

in a corner

until he,
my golden mouthed
goes cold and gray.

With immeasurable
I will watch

as he dissipates.
Oh what sorrow
I will taste

in the dry air.
What joy
in the spitting rain.


Lisa Zaran is an American poet and essayist. She is the author of six collections, including The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the latter of which was recently the focus of a translation course in Germany. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, ezines and anthologies. She is the founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices.

Posted in: Poetry