TheLatest
12.21.06
12.20.06
12.19.06
12.18.06
10.27.06
10.26.06
10.25.06
10.24.06
10.23.06
09.01.06
05.23.06
02.24.06
12.20.05
12.08.05
12.07.05
12.02.05
11.08.05
10.14.05
09.27.05
09.25.05
09.24.05
09.23.05
09.18.05
09.13.05
09.11.05
09.08.05
09.07.05
09.05.05
08.30.05
08.29.05
08.28.05
08.25.05
08.24.05
08.23.05
08.22.05
08.21.05
08.20.05
08.19.05
08.18.05
08.17.05
08.16.05
08.14.05
08.13.05
08.12.05


alittlepoetry.com



August 12, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

You don't know me. But, I had this thought, you see, to write you a letter. I can not say that the idea came to me in a dream, or that God planted it in my brain like a seed, or that anyone else alive has ever been as presumptuous as I am to believe you might actually read any of the, I'm sure, thousands of letters sent to you daily by people as anonymous as me. Still here one is.

One day I was sitting in my bedroom at the foot of my bed, folding laundry. The television was on and I was partly paying attention to it when this commercial started. I'm sure you know the one. Beautiful women wearing wings and underwear. But, it was the song that caused me to stop what I was doing. I ran down the hallway to ask my husband what song it was and he told me, Lovesick by Bob Dylan. Then he said, We have that album.

Well, I guess I could call that the loveliest worst day of my life because I haven't been the same since.

Damn it if you didn't just waltz right into my mind and steal every single one of my thoughts.

Imagine the weight of Woody Guthrie again. Imagine how, when you were down perhaps, or not feeling quite yourself, you'd listen to him sing or you'd read about his life, and how in doing so he could fill some immense emptiness you were feeling inside, or maybe he just gladdened your heart, or maybe, to you he possessed some inner clarity as if God was speaking through him.

There are days when I don't want anything. Just to say your name is enough.

It's night all around me. I feel a little paralyzed, not wanting to end this letter.

I just finished reading The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa. You should read it if you get a chance. There are so many verses that literally jumped out at me. For example, on page 234 Pessoa writes: "Every day the material world mistreats me. My sensibility is like a flame in the wind".

His words remind me a lot of your lyrics. I can't really explain why but something about those lines of Pessoa's are reminiscent of your song, Everything Is Broken. Especially the part that goes: "Seem like everytime you stop and turn around, something else just hit the ground. Broken cutters, broken saws. Broken buckles, broken laws. Broken bodies, broken bones. Broken voices on broken phones. Take a deep breath, feel like you're chokin'. Everything is broken".

That to me, is astounding.

I like how you write and how you think and what you think about. I've grown so accustomed to your songs, sometimes I can't help but think they're all about me, my life. That something inside of you burns and it won't stop burning until you've written every word.

Anyway, like the great poet Roethke says: "By singing we defend".

So it goes.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 13, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Time seems to collapse more than it tends to pass.

Ever notice that?

One minute it's light out. You've got a clear picture of the horizon. The next, every single shadow in the universe is your siamese twin.

A wonderful thing about time though (yes, I found one) is that when you are forced to face something unpleasant like surgery or a funeral, some party you don't want to go to, or an audit, time begins to rot.

Once the situation is over it is in the past. And once it is in the past, time is as incapable of moving forward as it is backward. It just sits. True as a scab.

Anyway.

It is late afternoon here in Arizona. Another brilliantly bright day. The kids, I have two, are both in their rooms. My son is playing his new bass. My daughter is talking on the telephone. Outside, a few of the neighborhood children are practicing jumping off a ramp with their skateboards. This is my life. I am a woman marshmallowed inbetween the sounds of children.

My life is so normal compared to yours. The things I do to pass the sandy hills of time would bore you to tears.

Oh, I suppose it is very beautiful here. The sunlight. The children. I don't know what it is like where you are. Maybe twice as beautiful. Still, regardless of the day, I sit here and write letters to you. I fill up the dim gray canvas of my heart with ideas.

Letters are perfect. They are perfect because you can write them yet you don't have to send them. You can sit and say exactly what you want without the worries of a shaky voice or a trembling hand. No knots to tie up in your throat and your tongue doesn't trip. Time works in your favor when it comes to letter writing. I can write to you with affection and familiarity while I soft-finger my way through phrases.

The evening is on its way. I lack the style to explain it to you. How the sun begins to set behind the mountains. The colors. I figure there must be a reason you never come to Arizona. Some burden that keeps you away.

I'm sorry. I'm terrible at letters.

Someday I'll write a better one.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 14, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

What an appealing sky today. You should see it. Apostle gray if that makes any sense. Really beautiful. Dark, froth-like clouds foaming up every inch of it from East to West, North to South. And then there are the trees. Tall, spindly desert things all poking straight up. Ah, but where is the rain?

Well, this is my third letter and I still don't know what my purpose is.

It certainly isn't to describe the scenery. To reach you I guess. Something real. An unsparing yarn of light. An honest-to-God person able to break through the thick portcullis of existence that surrounds you, buffets you. In all ways, a rose on ash.

How stupid that sounds. Stupid with a lack of imagination. Spoon-fed words from an oatmeal mind.

Many times I've wondered what would happen if our lives ever did coincide. Our lives being what they are, mine moderate at best. Having them agree exactly would be nothing short of miraculous. A miracle can happen anywhere, I suppose.

Evidently, there are precise moments in a person's life. Moments filled with reason, with purpose. So strong and plain that nothing else matters. How wonderful to pinpoint the poignant times. I can't always tell when they occur or if they occur. All I know is my entire life must consist of such moments for all I've ever known is what I do. Not if I should or how I should.

Life is nothing but a spontaneously generated flame though, isn't that right? God holds his breath over it. I wait for the sudden darkness all the time, the final hour to be snuffed out. So maybe that's what my purpose is. Just to try to reach some listening place in your mind. To scratch out something nice with my pen and hope someday you get a chance to read it.

What a triumph that would be.

And here you keep giving me things. I landed on this site the other day, purely by accident, with about fifty outtakes of your songs. Right away my heart crowded with happiness. How is it that your own voice can outstrip the sound of your own voice?

There must be a sky inside of you that stretches on forever. And I am the lakeside diva staring up at it, seeing the moon, the only moon I know, half-eaten.

Oh, you'll never guess, it's starting to rain!

All my love,

Lisa by the lakeside

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 16, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

All I know how to do is dream.

Dream and regret. Sometimes I think that is all anybody knows how to do. Including you.

But then I'll read something you wrote or hear something you said that makes me change my mind. I often believe that God sent you into my life as proof.

Proof of separation perhaps. From ourselves and our foolishness. Oh but I am a fool! I must be an awful student. I can just see me now, yanking the coat of my own stupidity closed, to cover what? My sense of pride I guess. I'm always so afraid of giving something up when really, there is nothing in life worth keeping.

I read somewhere once that if you stare at something long enough it loses all of its familiarity. I stare at your face a lot. Photographs of it. I try to read something in your expression. I freefall into your eyes. I get baffled by the mouth that I wish would swallow me up and make me invisible.

When I can read nothing, I stare harder. Eventually you evaporate. And it's in the emptiness I can usually find you, building new songs out of the worst of the world's destruction. Pondering perhaps, drowning in a pool of daylight.

Downtown, where the wind is always perfect, I met a friend for lunch. Think of halved apricots on a leaf green plate. And tiny, elegant squares of rye bread. Tall glasses of tea and unruly conversation. I have such tender inclinations, I suppose, because sitting there, listening to the birds in the park behind the cafe, stealing glances at an older man sitting alone, reading a book, smoking, I thought of you.

The entire moment was full of such sweet hope. Had you been there I would have asked if you wanted anything. Some coffee perhaps? A piece of fruit. I would have brought it to you and then, I don't know, stood there dumbly, watching you eat.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 17, 1005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Pessoa says we never truly realize ourselves. We are like two chasms - a well staring up at the sky.

Arthur Rimbaud says it's as simple as a musical phrase.

Rainer Rilke says music: the breathing of statues. Perhaps: the silence of paintings. Language where language ends. Time that stands head-up in the direction of hearts that wear out.

I can't say anything. I can not speak, my tongue is broken. Sappho said that.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 18, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

This morning I had another vision. I get them all the time. If it's not one thing, it's something else. Perhaps what I need is a nice padded room in a grey hospital somewhere.

But, this one was different because I felt like I was looking right into a camera's dark middle and that it, the eye of the thing, was looking back. It couldn't capture me any more than I could capture it.

Women, I think, are especially sensitive to rhythms in the air. Or perhaps what they think they see is more like a feeling or an idea. I'm not sure, it must happen to women who have either been abandoned or left lonely a lot. Intuitiveness too, plays its part.

Loneliness is not infinite.

There's a story my father used to tell me about growing up without any real reason to wake each morning and rejoice. His own father was killed in the war. His mother could hardly afford to care for him. It was winter in Norway and very cold. The ground was frozen. The sky was frozen too. Det fantes ikke mat i huset, my father said. There was no food in the house. And the way he told it, the tone of his voice, the trillions upon trillions of emotions this must have stirred up in him, though you'd never know it. Forced to listen, I fell in love with his poor boyhood, the characters of his youth, the walls of his tiny house, the aroma of the ocean, the spirit of his time and place in Haugesund, the feeblest coat to keep him warm.

I said to my father after hearing that story how he must be a hero. Of course, this is what a young girl thinks of her father anyhow isn't it?

My father replied with a swish of the wrist and a voice that chided me for being so stupid, Uten mat og drikke du er helten ikke!

Which means, without food and drink, the hero is not much good.

I should take a walk. I feel impossibly ordinary just sitting here.

Yesterday, I was digging through my bookshelves looking for the collected works of Borges. Borges writes a poem called Mirrors in which he states, Everything happens, nothing is remembered in those dimensioned cabinets of glass.

A frightening poem. In looking, I found an old book of interviews with you by various people. In one, you seem to be kind of hammering your answers into the thick skulls of your collective audience. Me included because I feel awful after hearing how you felt rather than how I assumed you had felt. I suppose everyone has blood on their hands.

I know why it's called hope. Because you never tire of it. And it never tires of you. I guess we're only just beginning to know the tiniest bud of truth about you. So much is always coming into view. You seem to be opening up a little bit again. After what, years and years of silence or not silence so much as refrain.

I wish I knew everything. I can not know. It's impossible.

If you ever want to say everything at once, you can say it to me. You can smoke and talk and I can listen and put out your fires.

All my love,

Lisa, parked in front of her computer

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 19, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

I was writing you a letter, trying not to go astray, when my daughter came into the room and asked, "Does heaven celebrate birthdays?"

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 20, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Have you heard this before: pleasure is the common will. Or maybe it's: What begins with the flesh then becomes the spirit.

Something.

Something of the body, beyond vanity. A rope of tears perhaps falling across a shut mouth. A clatter of dreams that turns to frost as soon as you try to speak them, reducing you to silence.

Something. As simple as eyes embracing. Eyes that can not speak yet say, I am the tongue of love. Back to the mouth. The mouth saying, I did not know I could love and how is it that I love and what is love?

Love is exhaustion.

Do you notice sometimes, through the calligraphy of want and need and desire, true love is nothing more than paradise lost. Eat that knowledge. Get a stomach ache.

I would heel in the halo of indifference if it meant love. I would trudge through blind alleys seething with wolves if it meant love. I would chase away my dreams with a broomstick.

I would swallow my thoughts like puckered prunes.

I wrote a story. You're the only person I've shared it with so far.

Here it is:

In the unfolding of a certain August morning a woman awoke and the first thing she did was stomp her feet. For noise because the house was too quiet.

She then, opened the curtains to let the sun pour in.

After eating breakfast the woman went out into the garden where she trampled all the flowers. Feeling the soil with her naked feet.

With punitive eyes she looked out onto the street where noone passed her by. She grumbled at the birds sitting high upon a wire, tossing their songs down on her head like drips of silver rain.

She was very unhappy. Yet she didn't know why or how to remedy it. All she understood was that she felt pulled past the mere convenience of time. She felt fixed.

The essentials needed for a happy life were all there. A basket of dew on each blade of grass. The horses snuffling in their stalls. An assemblage of hours just waiting to be used up. Berries on her bowl of cornflakes. Leaves that spoke to her as she passed beneath. Whispering from their hammocks in the trees, nobody loves you do not break, nobody loves you do not break.

Later, she called her mother by picking up the telephone and not dialing. Her mother does not answer because she's dead. Then her mother tells her: blend together two cups of moonlight, one teaspoon of wind, ten words beginning with the letter ell, and your father's voice in a large mixing bowl. When the batter is the consistency of thunder, throw it up, into the air.

The woman does this. And in doing so discovers joy. She realizes also that not all flesh is of the spirit, some is of the flesh that you eat, that you pull from the bone with your teeth.

She also learns that just because a man is buried, doesn't mean he's dead. And that love is not an absence but a flow of ideas. Content, the woman goes to bed where at once she falls asleep and begins to dream.

In her dream, the horses flanks smell like sweat and breeze and dupable hope.

That's it. Story over. Don't ask me what it means because I have no idea. My lips are embroidered with these things.

Sometimes the spirit of your songs touches my skin.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 21, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Love, the sledge that smashes the atom? ~William Carlos Williams

Summer. Sun through the curtains. The room is alight with dust. Waking up, it's the first thing I notice and I think to myself, that's how small I am. Half-in, half-out of sleep, my mind is not yet seeing things with both of its eyes.

The early hour. Amiable quiet of Sunday morning, still half-in, half-out of sleep, unfocused mind, groggy thoughts. The only sound is air as it flushes into the room through the vents. And breathing. Not my own. Deep, pay-attention to me breathing, from somewhere outside of myself.

Worried, I raise my head up to look around the room. I am alone in the bed. Farther up, onto one elbow to check the floor, thinking one of my children had come into the room sometime during the night, dragging a pillow and a throw, making a bed on the carpet. But, no.

The room is empty. And the breathing can still be heard.

I thought of everything. Someone in the closet. Outside the window. Wind. Dust. Could it be the dust was breathing? I tell you, I looked at the dust and how serene it was, floating, hovering, soaking up the sunlight, b r e a t h i n g.

How insignificant my soft lust is for you. The cracked bells and washed-out horns blow into my face with scorn, but, it's not that way I wasn't born to lose you.

It was my destiny I think, to marry who I married. To live the life I'm in. To usher in sadness as if it were my long lost twin. But, I also believe, it is my destiny to know you and I will take that knowledge in whatever form it comes.

Friday was a full moon. Close to midnight I went out to look at it. Funny that something the color of goats milk can inspire so many hopes, influence so many prayers.

According to the psuedo-scientific-psychic world, on August 28th of this year, Mars will be the closest to the earth that it has been in 5,000 years. It will appear as large as the moon in the sky. On this day, spiritual skyways will open. And all the celestial beings will be within reach.

On this day, you're supposed to make a wish.

Love, the split between heart and mind and the sacrifice of both.
Love, the postponement of feelings, thoughts, ideas. Silence.

All my love, and my uncoupling,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 22, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Some mornings defy reason. And are as bad as they can be. There are days that from the moment you open your eyes for the first time, an inward sensation tells you something is not right.

And yet, you get up anyhow and make your way the best you can. Things always have a way of panning out I suppose, though not for everyone and not all the time.

I worry a lot. I worry when I wake up and throughout the day. I worry when I go to bed at night laying template after template of prayers on God's plate.

What, I don't know, is that it should cause me such concern. I try not to think so much about it but that only makes me more conscious.

You knock the eyes out of my head, you move so fast. I feel like I am off floundering somewhere behind you, forced to pull my morning along. It's hopeless, me thinking someday I might catch up.

I don't want you to tell me how you've lived your life, all those years have already been inspected. I don't want to know whether you drink milk or fold your pillow in half when you go to sleep. I don't want to hear your take on the 60's. What you remember, what you don't.

What would make me happy, or happy as far as the improbability of true happiness goes. Sharing a table at a coffee shop. Next to the window. While outside it rains. Sipping warm tea with lemon. Laughing because you just made a joke. Planning a trip to the coast because the best dreams always contain some sort of future.

You know how in the quietest, darkest part of night when suddenly a noise happens, a soda can gets pushed by wind and rolls down the street, or a dog barks. How sound enlarges things. What once was a lagoon is now an ocean full of sharks. At one moment you are lying in bed, your thoughts wrapped up in a cocoon, the next, every bogeyman in town is trying to break into the place. The miraculous return of fright or something close to it.

Well, pardon me for hounding you, but, when you are in that cocoon-like place, after the initial freight train of daytime noise and before the sudden re-emergence of nighttime's tirades, your body just a rumpled coat beneath the sheets, every tendon, muscle and joint almost asleep, the window of your mind nothing but a bed of stars, a dozen golden songs spinning loosely around the fringes, tell me in just an ordinary sense, what thoughts run through you? Do you seek any guidance?

A long time ago I discovered this calligramme poem by Apollinaire. Sometimes when I can't fall asleep I think about it.

 
                                 In   This
                            Ions            Mir
                        Flect                  Ror
                      Re                            I
                    The                           Am
                  Like                               En
                 Not                              Closed
                   And                                 A
                   Gels                            Live
                    An                            And
                      Gine                    Real
                           Ma                 As
                              I           You
 

Apollinaire's shape is better.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 23, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

After a long day a man may mistake his tiredness for terrorism and beat his wife. So pained by his past, he blames her for his troubles.

There are men who see clouds gather and beg for rain. There are men who see clouds gather and curse the sky. There are men who see clouds gather and just see clouds.

Men with their hands, junipers in june.
Men with their hands, so perfect. So perfect.
Men with their heads in their hands.

Where is the tragedy? From inheritance on down, you have to think of the father his father his father. Love is a ladder. Love is the storm. Where is the rain?

All my love, all of it is yours.

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 24, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

If I were a woman star stretching my pointed limbs across the continuous tent of the sky, lifting my skirt off the horizon, shaking my warm hair loose, pressing my dreams against the hard doors of heaven, waiting for the night to pass, ignoring the moon and its lily of trouble, thinking that if I were a stone I could slice through this darkness and land myself in a river;

and if you were a man star I happened to see, the most beautiful and distant thing in the distance, sharpening your ankles on a mountain peak, your torso gleaming like honey in the moonlight, cleaving the night with your scent of saltsweet skin and semen, I would vanish like the dew into your grace of light;

and if I saw you give me just a cursory glance, my burden would be unbearable, melting with the thought of unkissed kisses, I might plummet my milkwhite body through the darkness toward you, knowing I would die but not before clinging with my thighs the lost space between us.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 25, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

I try to see you as Monet would. Standing on the highway bridge at Argenteuil. Soft wind in your hair. As the boats go sailing by and the clouds go sailing by and the trees stand tall underneath an even taller sky grappling for a little light.

It's a sad day in Paris. And I'm a day tripping tourist in sagging clothes. Yes, it's a sad day in Paris. Now that Claude is no longer around to paint your picture. When the templed body of his spirit no longer tethers itself to the nearest tree for that one last stroke of light as it swells just so over the silvery Seine.

Let's get going, God must have said from His ship, that humble midnight star. And in plain air he went with Him.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 28, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

I always see you in places you've never been.

I see you walking through the desert next to Signal Butte road. The sky above is clear, the ground is dry. I'm passing by in my car and something plain as day tells me, look to your right, and there you are. Walking down that dirt road. Sometimes wearing a coat, sometimes carrying a stick. Hi. I wave from my vehicle. Hi. You imperceptibly nod back.

Sometimes you're actually with me, in my car, neck raised high. I can hear you talking though your mind is deep in thought. I watch your profile. Hope nothing unfortunate happens.

I do not take these visions of mine all that seriously. I notice how I seem to stumble upon them accidentally. And God only knows why.

The sunlight today is ankle-deep in the street. It falls and falls yet never really lands. I am in my bedroom choosing what to wear. Every morning I find myself here, simplicity of thought. What to wear, what to wear. Who to please, who to please.

We are. Though you are not aware of it. We are, as if in another life, wholly together and completely optimistic.

My heart would love you no matter what.

Maybe I've got it backwards. Maybe I'm just a mind covered in dust, an empty womb of lust, driving headfirst into the closed and broken off, oh but love, I would vanish before I would become stationary.

You have to understand, I never wished for anything like this.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 29, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

I lost my son once. In a large department store. He was only four and he was missing for 45 minutes. It nearly drove me out of my mind. I was undone with panic, pacing the floors, shoving tables aside, pushing entire racks of dresses out of my way, crying and calling him by his name. Begging God out loud to please just give me back my child.

Around the entire store were these enormous automatic double doors that swished open. They hardly made a sound. As far as I knew he was already gone, trapped in the arms of some psychopath. Other customers began to help me search. The store made announcements over the intercom, describing his hair color, his eye color, what color shirt he wore.

I remember after one announcement screaming out to whoever would listen, He's only four!

It was an instant that lasted forever.

Here are these incredibly tiny people born blue with pinched up berry faces and gumball sized fists and suddenly the world takes on a sinister feel. I still ache for the youthful goodness of my children. I watch them stoically leave the house everyday. Bit by bit they are going away, hour by hour their horizon's expand, the circle of their universe grows larger. I prepare myself for their departure into adulthood as much as I can.

I used to believe that there could be people born who would always remain inseparable. People who could not imagine being apart. My sisters and I used to say, late at night in whispers across the dark bedroom that we shared, when we get married our husbands are going to be best friends and we are going to buy houses right next door to one another and we are going to have the same amount of children around the same time so that our kids can all grow up together.

Life doesn't always work out that way. Children grow up and move away. Lovers leave. Fathers move out and don't give any explanation why. Mothers abandon their daughters into grandparents laps. Sometimes there aren't reasons for things.

I guess you have to think about life like you think about the world. As something that is always open in every direction. And there will always be people who disappear.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



August 30, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

I should be writing this on onion skin paper using a quill and a bottle of ink. My words would have wings then. Eight million blackbirds in mid-flight across the page.

Today is different. Today I am listening to No Direction Home.

How am I supposed to choose the right words as I wade through my confusion? Tell me, how do I separate my heart from my hearing?

And as I sit here, listening, so little I become, smaller than the smallest speck of pollen, closer to eternity than I have ever been.

I listen to your music and I think of every word in the English language to define what you have done and all I can come up with is sacrifice.

Noone will ever shed this much blood again.

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
~Proverbs 27:2

Let that stranger be me.

Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
~Song of Solomon 2:5-6

Your voice is under my head, and your songs embrace me. Your melodies like marrow built into my bones.

Rilke wrote a poem to God asking, What will you do, God, when I die?

What will you do, God, when I die?
 
I am your pitcher (when I shatter?)
I am your drink (when I go bitter?)
I, your garment;  I, your craft.
Without me what reason have you?
 
Without me what house
where intimate words await you?
I, velvet sandal that falls from your foot.
I, cloak dropping from your shoulder.
 
Your gaze, which I welcome now
as it warms my cheek,
will search for me hour after hour
and lie at sunset, spent,
on an empty beach
among unfamiliar stones.
 
What will you do, God?  I am afraid.
                
                 ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I think God chose you. You're the house now. You're the velvet sandal.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 3, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

How many mouths have I kissed? How many arms have reached out for me? How many dollars have I spent to hear the words: I'm sorry.

Well, there's a heaviness in the air. My hair is limp. My clothes are thin imitations. My body is curled into some form of feline position.

Once I stole an entire bag of chocolates from the grocery store.

I figured that was something you should know about me. I didn't return it. I ate every last piece until I was sick. I was just a kid. I still think about it. How I walked up and down all the streets of my neighborhood in order to finish.

In my family, nobody is all that honest. Well. They say what they mean but nobody means what they say. It's like a circle. You just keep spinning but you never get to the center.

This is a stupid letter. I meant to ask about your first winter in New York. Where you slept, what you did. How you ate and who fed you.

Knock on wood, I meant to ask how you knew that freezing like some god-forsaken forgotten branch would eventually pan out. I know I said I wasn't interested in the 60's and your memories. It isn't that I've changed my mind, it's just, I keep writing these letters and they aren't going anywhere. They just sit here.

Yet, something inside of me says I should write them. They are like a frozen branch. A song of songs so to speak.

Try to see them as a burst of leaves come Spring. Not loaded with implications like so many others think. Just words, soft and green.

I've been so patient, not diving into your world, but maintaining my own standard of living. I haven't exhausted my family. I don't think.

Imagine a corridor, like the sky is a corridor, pale restless light, and then a stretch of pure darkness with nothing inside but air. Air and wind. It's a simple thing really, when you think about it. I could walk down this corridor into the darkness or I could run.

Assuming you are at the other side of the darkest part, I would run.

Well, it's a long way back home angel, and sometimes I think I would rather keep you inside of my imagination as this immaculate, almost fatherly thing, but then, I could never explain that to my heart, which has become so sweet on you, so sentimental.

You are like a constant marvel inside of my head. You rupture and bloom, wilt for a rest, then re-rupture. Suppose I were made of stucco? I'd crumble.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 5, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Suppose I could convince myself that it was only you. Nothing else. That when I woke each morning to start again, it was you, that well of bottomless devotion I pulled from.

As I dragged my body from my bed and from my dreams, which always exceed my real life experiences, as I cooked my scrambled eggs and drank my coffee. As I dressed, ran long fingers through short red hair, as I drove forty miles one way through the city to get to the other side, below an almost comically devious copper sun, choosing this route or that one, this song or that one. You.

Slouched like a cupped palm in the passenger seat of my car, signaling with your eyes. Cocking one eyebrow at me whenever I gave a moment too much credit. You.

On the tongue of each decision I made. In the heart of every tear that fell from my eyes. Wild as a bird that glides circles through the dark sky of my mind. You.

Laughing as I try to resist the temptation to chase you wherever you go. Smiling at my compulsive behavior. Or shaking your head, wagging your finger, grinding your teeth against my nervous system. You.

Raising me like a child, protecting me like a father. Teaching me like a mother, singing this is how it's done. Listen to me. This is how it's done, pay attention. You.

The whole world. The law standing on top of the hill. King. God-like in the midst of all my reckless behavior. Muse. Nibbling at my ears. Whispering into each one, secrets only the deaf can hear. You.

Poet of passion. Poet of every gesture I make. Poet of my panties. Poet of the birthmark shaped like a snowflake on the back of my neck, where God leaned down and kissed me alive. Poet of instruments. Of weather, humid or cold. Of lost time. Poet of whatever exists between shadows. Poet of my frozen shock. Poet boundlessly surpassing all the poets of before. Poet of the broken-hearted. You.

And so I try to convince myself of this. Not thinking clearly or maybe too clearly, it's a struggle to say the least. Because it's not just you. And it's not only you.

It's you along with everything else. It's the day I wake up to, the reflection I see when I face the mirror. It's the sun rising like a scarlet relic as I enter the city, my emotions multiplying by the minute. It's the dizziness I feel when I carry too much of you in my heart, while I try to reassure my co-workers that I'm fine, really. I just need to sit down a minute. I just need to catch my breath. Waiting until their faces relax, knowing what a fine actress I am.

Because outside everything is perfect, but inside my entire body is a bloody mess. So broken that even the blind could see how you are everything to me. No matter how much I try to deny it, the simple fact remains. You.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 7, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Acting on the strength of my convictions, I am writing you yet another letter. I would rather be someone like you, but, if I can't, if I have to be me, than I want to write to someone like you.

Out here in Arizona, in the old anarchy of rainless days, instead of rain we get droplets of dust. Brown like dirt and thick like clay, the heat can be so merciless. Now it is September.

The sun is collapsing. One last kick and over the mountain it will go. I think I'll put some music on while I wait for it to disappear.

Last September I was in Kansas to see one of your shows. Oh, nostalgia feels more sorrowful than it should. I tell you, I was wild with joy to go, you should have seen me. I almost said, you should have been there, because of how much it still feels like another one of my cry-baby dreams.

You were there, of course, and I was standing not ten feet from you.

Yes, you were there, in your dark black cowboy suit under the humid dark, without a word. My eyes never left you once. Like a papa spruce you stayed. Rooted to your keyboard. Everywhere things were happening, taking place, but nothing as important as what was taking place that night beneath those stars.

People have no idea. They really don't. Music goes beyond its own existence. Time may be bound to one's wrist, but music has no ropes no strings no chains no bounds.

People say to me, Lisa what are you doing? When what they mean is, Lisa, what are you feeling? You should stop it.

I have no interest in trying to control how I feel.

I have to imagine you, I guess. I do not know you. I've never spoken to you. I've never sat across a table from you or next to you in a church pew. Although I refer to you like I know you. I say your name in the present tense. Me and my long tongue, short words.

Bob this. Bob that. Once Dylan this. Here Dylan is. Bobby looked so admiringly handsome. Bob with his world of hair. Dylan and his stubborn life. Dylan singing about a foot of pride. Bob and his heelstone romance.

Love is unbearable, but we bear it.

All my unbearable love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 8, 2005

Dear lamb of God,

I hear the sound of hammers pounding against nails. Pressing through flesh and blushing bone. Oh, precious lover of men, thou must have done something wrong.

Oh twisted midnight born, you wreathe my heart in hope. You dwell in my soul like an un-put-out flame. Look, amidst stars, amidst towers of moonlight, gentle rippling waves against the shore, but none so gracious as you.

My own, I am a part of you and yet, the journey home seems so far.

Dear precious, dear delight, I am an untraveled girl. I droop below sunlight. I am riddled with gloom. I hush like a wagon trapped in snow.

Chief. Priest of my soul. I am searching for something to say. My tongue though, love, is stuck in my throat.

You are a walking miracle. You are a talking shrine. You are the black art beauty whom I love and love and love and love until the grave eats me. Renders me mute with its jaw.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 11, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Everybody loves you.

I just bought the September issue of Rolling Stone magazine. In it, Ryan Adams says, "Dylan is mythological to me - like Zeus."

I sit all evening trying to think of something to say. Something bigger than what anybody before me has ever said. Bigger than the world and bigger than life.

Sometimes it takes the absence of sunlight for me to really start thinking, as if the sun skirting around the periphery of my vision is nothing but a distraction, bright and barren at the same time. Going nowhere.

So I start the day with a thought that begins as a flutter then builds, eventually, hopefully, into a full fledged flying shriek of blue. My pen like a fine honed blade across the page.

Across that bright mind of yours. I don't know what anybody could say, today, tomorrow, or yesterday that would please you or make you pay attention. Tilt your head back and smile. Perhaps once I've learned all the words that are available to me, I can write you a letter you might actually read.

Here's a thought: I am yours. At first I was a little girl but now I am a woman. I'm tall, with long limbs like a panther. I'm intelligent and very quiet. I could talk to you using resonant words or I could just listen. Like yours, my heart is the reason I say anything at all. I would trample it to death if I could. When I met you, the you in your music, sentiment came onto me so fast, it was like being blindsided by sound.

Adoration is a stupid word. It sounds crazed in some ways. And yet I adore you, mercilessly.

I wonder if in my first life I was your mother. Or maybe a pet you had. Because that is how much I adore you.

As I look around me, a three quarter moon articulates some wound on the sky. It's a loving act.

The stars begin to separate from each other. Oh, we should say a prayer for them. The sky is like paradise isn't it? The way it gathers so much information. Dispels it in light and color and sound, yes, even that. And then there are the noises coming in from the street. The cars passing. Voices. Dog's barking.

Well, if only that were everything.

Dylan Thomas once wrote: From the raging moon I write, On these spindrift pages.

And so, from this suffering room I write, on these glass pages. The strut of me is all this is, the stubborness in me, the refusal to let time pass without telling you something enticing. I'm a hopeless fledgling futilely flapping my wings toward your manhood sky.

Time is the enemy. I'm not taking any chances.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 13, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

~If God has been good enough to give you a poet
  Then listen to him.
                               ~Robinson Jeffers

I thought of you this morning.

Which isn't highly unusual because you're always somewhere in the framework of my thoughts. But, I thought of you especially this morning.

How it seems that you have lived a handful of lifetimes compared to my half of one. How your entire history has been matted, framed and walled. Your passions, sweet as milk, are free for anyone to drink. The limits are boundless. We can all have you. We can all pick a starting point and start. We can condense each period of your life into successful little squares of time and then bite and chew.

If I ever tried to lean that far into infinity, I would probably break my neck.

Here is more of Jeffers poem:

If God has been good enough to give you a poet
Then listen to him.  But for God's sake let him alone un-
       til he is dead;  no prizes, no ceremony,
They kill the man.

It is very hard for me to think of you dying. What a careless thought but I can't help it. I wake in fear every morning. I have a serpent under my skull.

I want you always sipping your tea from a small bench in the garden. I want you always listening to bee's discuss honey and watching the world through your rich, handsome blue eyes. I want you always just a few foreign cities away, close enough that I can sustain myself on a mammoth of hope and an avalanche of desire.

I want you always sitting in my ear.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 18, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

It's early little squirrel. Or late, depending on your perspective of time and sky and pulsating darkness versus pulsating lightness.

I was talking to someone earlier today (yesterday?). This girl I know. She said to me, I don't listen to Bob Dylan because I don't get Bob Dylan.

As if settling hooves into mud and damn it, I got angry.

What's to get?

I mean, beyond the image of popularity, beyond the delicately applied cool-factor of who and what liking bob dylan might bring to modern youth, oh these young people with their festering hearts, what's to get?

So, I wine-cork my frustration atop her redundant statement, I attempt with all the muscle I can muster to ignore the random-stupidness, and I ask: Really? So, what don't you get?

She steps right into it. Naked foot into a melting cowpie.

You know, she says. He can't sing for one thing. I can't understand him for another.

Oh sweetheart, squirrel, darling brown, don't listen to her. She's an absolute idiot! Her mind is a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes!

In the morning she will still be full of disgust. Cracked plates and soil. Nothing but a jar with egg-yolk yellowed oil hardened in her gut. I sit on my faux leather chair with tears running across it and I know what's to get. As if the sky just split in two. As if you just blew your tobacco air into my lungs. As if the smallest wife of light cracked into an asphalt black husband sky.

I know what's to get.

Here is my left hand.
Here is my ring finger.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 23, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

However dark and threatening the sky above, however tireless the ding-dong rain, however galloping, those hooves of wind that keep me awake, tearing through the branches, pounding at my door and bedroom windows, however alarming a storm can be, I still look up at an empty ceiling and think of you.

Twenty eight years separate us.

I am the age of your youngest son. You are the age of my mother.

Above the clash of wind, branches scrape like fingernails against my tiled roof. I think beyond you. I think heaven-wide. I arc my mind and fling my thoughts. Time has no features, what is a year to the souls expansive way of thinking? What is a year? What are twenty eight years? A sideways glance, that is all. God's random blink.

I hold you.

Through all of your changes. I hold you while the night presses in. I hold you through layers of darkness. You are like a song of particular longing. The song of love-entrenched poetry. My ears are dangerous listening devices. They hold you and keep you; love, but try not to restrict you. I hide in the folds of your cheek like your own tongue does. I hide there and hold you as your voice passes through.

If you were a word, I would be your speechless partner.
If you were rain, I would be the desert sand, caked in drought.
If you were a bone, I would be marrow and try not to break you.
If you were a song, I would be an octopus, an eight legged melody.
If you were an angel, I would be in hell without you.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 24, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Sometimes I feel like I'll never get close. I'm a long, long way off. All doomed energy. Reckless, unguided devotion. I watch you watching. I see you seeing. I look at your hands and mine get lost. Oh grasshopper, only time will tell, what will hop.

Oh cloud, how sheer you are! How smooth you glide across the universe. Look how the moon shines true as a blister on the sky's dark mouth.

Oh legendary moon. You were made for loving. Gape in the night. Harden now.

Take my heart, outlaw. Take my blood filled heart. Take the blood that drips from my mouth. The bloody tears that fall from my eyes. Chew off my fingers. Honey baby.

Honey baby.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 25, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Boys need poetry.

They really do. Give them poetry and suddenly the whole world tenders and opens to them. It's like the art of the tale. Bridges get built. Hearts become forged with minds. Hands become birds, agile and full of flight rather than rough and ready to pound like hammers. Lips become flowers.

Poetry nourishes the spirit. It enables the flesh to ecstacy that much higher.

You said during one small portion in No Direction Home how both of your early, childhood girlfriends brought out the poet in you. I felt, after hearing and seeing that part, my own odds were that much brighter. All those boys I used to know, thought I cared for, showing them poetry I had written from some shady, secret part of me, perhaps in some elusive, unrealised sense, molded them. Taught them the delicate dreams of girls, surrounding their precious heads in halo's.

I saw the expression on your face as well, when you said it. Not quite silly, not altogether serious either, almost like you were teasing those girls. As if they were the peaches that never ripened. The ones that fell from the tree.

Here I am, still reading too much into everything.

So, God gave you to me, you know. I know this. I know it from the deepest part of me. I know it from my womb and from the seedling I used to be. It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks or believes. Only what I know.

As much as I believe in all of this poetry. And music and the fire you've somehow written to burn in my heart for a thousand years, I can also embrace my life. The reality of it. The day to day grind. The prosaic of time and space. The hours that pass over looking at me with their accusing eyes, pointing at my face, saying: oh dear, another fine line!

I am in love with you. You are the darkest hour of my day. I am in love with every miracled step you make. I am without a mouth before you. You make real all the instances that could never be real. You make true every dream I ever dared to reveal.

I am in love with you, like everyone else is. Don't you sense it? The limitless love, driving toward you across every highway, through every deep blue sea, parachuting down from every corner of the sky?

I must be quite mad.

I must seem so needy, announcing every article of hope I've ever had. This is my vernacular. The very excrement of my soul. I don't make any of it up. I don't exaggerate or say things just to incite. My palatial terminology has been given to me, placed inside of my head and onto my tongue.

I tell you what thousands feel. We are all like tiny flailing birds lost in the vast creation of the sky, painstakingly searching for a place to land.

Well, again, I've gone off down some winding road with this letter. I've broken another one of your fingers. How many do you have left? Listening to you, to your songs and your poetry, moves me to study. Not only God, but, nature and man, the world of mythical creatures, dragons and warlocks, angels and ghosts.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 27, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Not everybody writes you letters. Some people dream about you instead. Others, they try to follow the bread crumbs left over from your life. Hoping, that once theyíve gathered enough of them, they can build back the loaf.

Iím no different. Iíve studied you too. Iíve read countless books, listened to interviews, I own every album and a long list of bootlegs. I buy every magazine that articles you, praises your face on its cover.

People just want to make sense of your life. I donít know why. I canít explain any part of why. Itís like we are all stuck in this hypnotic dream. We canít escape. And for the most part, many of us donít want to.

Trying to open up your head and extract every exclusionary thought would be like trying to unsalt the ocean.

And whoís got time for that?

Well, I had already purchased the dvd of No Direction Home upon its release, but, that didnít stop me from watching Part One last night on PBSís American Masters. The right thing to say hasnít come to me yet.

I donít know if it ever will. Sometimes I have conversations with myself where I have to cajole my heart to stop breaking and my head to stop thinking. I have to attempt to separate myself from what I am seeing and hearing.

Who it is my eyes are being exposed to.

I can say, however, that any man who gives himself over to God as you have done, who discards any blatant or regressive labels, who settles himself into a lifetime of achievement and gifts, whether you meant to or not, your songs are gifts and your work has so permeated the past forty decades, should now and then be able to speak openly about it without the rest of the world taking your words and splitting them apart, digging for some hidden meaning amongst the innards of speech.

Well, perception is nothing new.

Itís been trapped beneath all of our fingernails since we first grew them in our mothers wombs. Perhaps we should all buy a pair of gloves.

Part Two airs tonight.

I already know whatís coming. Still, Iíll watch it, while wondering where you are. As the sky draws its curtains closed, I will lie on my belly, face mutilated in love just by the image your non-presence projects across the screen. And by what has already taken place. I will go there, lost and wounded, I will tell myself not to suffer, as the pale moon sulks through the blinds, I will conjure up all the beautiful images my vision can handle before I plunge a knife down into each naked socket.

And then I will turn the television off, when I crawl into the pit of sleep, my pillow will absorb every dark tear.

In some crazy way, Iím a songwriter like you. I write all the lyrics to sadness.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 14, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

When I see you onstage, bending your torso over the keyboard, leaning your mouth to the microphone, pursing your eyes, it is just so sweet. Your concentration. Your deliberate lopsidedness.

Oh, I would throw my heart out so as not to feel it slipping away from me. Crawling across the ground on bloody knees. When I see you I feel as lonely as a cloud, floating across a blue sky.

When you sing, when you perform the songs the entire world is familiar with, I want to peel off my skin. I am suddenly blown open. I have the body of a woman but the wisdom of a child.

I love everything you do. I love the way you walk, jaunty yet slow, like a man with no worries. I love the clothes you wear. I love how you behave, right down to the frown on your face.

I feel privileged investing in the same air as you. Obtaining the same block of space.

I long to ask you so many things, but, I am afraid of how my questions might sound. Perhaps when I am older and you are more still, rather than in constant motion, maybe then. For the mother in me wants to take care of you and the daughter in me wants to listen and learn from you and the lover in me wants to take hold of you until the end of time.

Despite what the world thinks. Despite normalcy and that sleeving thing people call responsibility, despite the meaningless contrast between make-believe and reality, despite impatience, the thinking eye, the madness of speech, manís exasperating theories regarding love and the opponents of love, despite everything, second guessing, the blurriness of certain issues like age difference, life styles, habits, desires, the decorations of experience, particulars of time and place, it takes a soulful eye to see it. Your promise-nothing beauty. Your oncoming, conceptual air. Your wisdom as it shines through the dusk. The haven of your words. I make my home there.

What else when youíve already given me so much? When youíve stood inside of the empty room of my soul to inspire harmony. When youíve climbed into my head supposing an acreage of ideas. When youíve jumped inside of my chest to punctuate my heart with the power of your music.

I canít even drive to the market without looming ahead, planning the next second Iíll be listening to you.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



November 8, 2005

Dear Kansas City,

A man is indeed a city, and for the poet there are no ideas but in things.

~William Carlos Williams

It lasted an instant. I was an ambitious woman with hungry eyes. Watching your every move, meanwhile, the tears filling up my throat.

I've been to cities that bury their lovers under layers of sand. I've been to cities who slit their residents throats while they lay sleeping. I've seen cities come and go. Some cities I've hidden from. Others I was forced to leave.

All the cities of the world to choose from and I chose you. You the exception. You the perfection. You the golden rule. Naturally, I am frightened of you.

Your boulevards long and edgy.
Your buildings gorged like erections.
Sun and shade always breaking into one another. Tearing each others clothes.
Your fountains, murmuring even in the darkest hours.

How many times have I spoken your name?

Kansas City and a thousand images are born.
Kansas City and the holy smell of green.
Kansas City and a mutiny of colors burning red and gold.

What in God's name could cause this much hunger? If I sever your foot or a lock of your lovely hair, would this satisfy me? If I kiss your chest one thousand times, if I stalk your streets both night and day for the rest of my life, will you open yourself up to me?

Will you see me, hear me, speak to me, drink with me, hold my hand, sleep with me, allow me to get tangled in your darkness while your rain falls on my skin? I suppose you have to protect yourself.

Oh Kansas City, damp hearted, coarse brown, beautiful man! I could spend a lifetime in love with you and still your heart would sink into hibernation.

I've got a quick mind to leave you for good.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 2, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Itís another evening in paradise.

Outside, there is moonlight and a long row of stuccoed houses. Iím in the third one on the south side of the street.

Itís a small world, you should come over.

I canít say that there is anything special about this letter. Only that Iíve been reading Pessoa again and his words always make me think of you.

Pessoa says things like: It is not love but the outskirts of love that matter....

And for awhile I think about it. I close the book and stare at nothing but the thoughts in my head until I begin to see a picture. Clear as some extravagant sunlit morning. Possession is not love. I shall never possess you though my heart cries beyond everything to have it as such. My mind knows, to truly love from the outskirts is to hold you as a perfect idea. Then nothing can ever be changed or broken, stolen or lost.

You will always remain this stone man resonating with brilliance, built through with wisdom, far off in some heavy distance and I will always hold you in the imaginary palm of my heart.

Sometimes I think of how much you mean to the world and two thirds of the world doesnít even realize it. Your legend is still unborn to them. I try my best to be the mother of clarity, the voice of constant learning. The swollen womb. The flower, crying out after being trampled by feet in a hurry with nowhere to go.

And perhaps I should muffle my voice and leave you to your life. Leave you, a brilliant thread of light that links the moon to my window. Something so small, so seemingly unimportant when considered against or compared to the scope of it All.

When words fail me I hum brief little melodies inside of my head. The unchanged, unforgotten song. The Dylan track of my life. If only I were twenty years wiser. If only I owned a progressive heart rather than this downtrodden, dreaming one.

I am trying to just live my life here. If only these dead poets would stop pointing their imaginary fingers at you. Forcing me to look, to go to the window and press a kiss to the glass.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 7, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

When will you be mine?

ďEven the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young at the altar, O Lord my GodĒ ~Psalm 84:3

Iíve wasted so much sunlight daydreaming. Years of my life to be more precise. When all of this started, where were you I wonder. What were you doing, but what youíve always done.

Canopic joy. Thatís what I should call you. You fill my mouth with thought.

With your songs, you can even make the mountain ranges on the moon kick the blues of their loneliness through heavenís black, graceful gates. Is it enough for you to know this? To know that you are in possession of more mouths than any of the rest of us. That you have used them all and we have barely tried to open ours? God is a wind in you. God is a want in you, constantly birthing.

It might be useless to mention, but I love you enough for the both of us. You donít have to love me. You can lay your neurons to rest.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 8, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

This Isn't Love, It's Voodoo.

I know nothing secretive about you.

I don't know whether you wear dark stockings on your feet or if you floss your teeth before going to bed. I don't know when you go to sleep, whether you stare up at an empty ceiling for what seems like an eternity or if your mind goes quiet after a day filled with kneeling wonder. If I should ever have one thought like yours it would probably shorten my life.

I don't know whether the bed you lay down on is single or full, occupied by only you or if there is someone else. I don't know if you say a prayer or whether you dream and if you do, what or who you dream about.

I don't know when you strut up and down the road of your life if it's love you're on the lookout for or trouble. Though I suppose it wouldn't matter. Either way all I can find on your expressionless face are those kissable lips with the downturned corners. Sometimes a cigarette dangling lit, smoke like a mythical angel trailing behind just over your shoulder.

Starlight, I used to call you quietly and only in my head. That's how messianic I thought you were. A resurrected image of Jesus Christ, except modernized, with a few splendid and human attributes thrown in, like curly hair, a crooked nose, and blue eyes.

If anyone could convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this world belongs to men, you could. Just the sight of your lanky frame ducking into a passageway would be enough to fill my body with flames for the rest of my life, if not longer. Yes, I'd still be a crimson ember in the afterlife.

You could teach the art world a thing or two about beauty. And all you would have to do is stand before it, sucking on a cigarette. An entire metropolis of critics would faint at the slightest suggestion of you.

I don't know about your moody silences. I don't know where it is you go as your boot covered feet walk you disappearing around corners or through dark doorways with no signs to indicate what's behind them. I don't know if you loiter over old books of poetry, settled safely into an overstuffed chair in some room in a foreign city somewhere. What kind of saintly words might be rising off the page and into your thoughtful head.

I don't know because I can only imagine it. I imagine breezing past half a dozen times but you do not look up. Breezing past spilling laughter light as shoestring bells. Breezing past smelling sweet like a rose. Breezing past to brush the back of your chair with my skirt but you do not look up. Breezing past with the sweet aroma of tea. An ashtray for your cigarettes. A hammer and a handful of nails for my coffin because just one glance from you would conquer me.

Outside clouds slowly gather across the sky. Rain in no particular hurry begins to drop. The city wrinkles its brow.

As you get up to leave, taking the book with you, I imagine following you. I imagine walking right up to you in the frame of the doorway and kissing your face. Kissing those downturned lips. I don't know if you've ever been kissed the way I want to kiss you.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 20, 2005

Dear Bob Dylan,

Beyond You, No One

I think of my letters as an anonymous playground.

A place for me to set down the products of my imagination, some hard pressed, some eager, some full of lusty adventure. There is no degradation here. No filth I can not express between strangers. And if some brave soul has the balls to criticize something I say, I have the option to pretend they don't exist and file them away into the land of nevermore.

Oh time you are so easy to disavow, you ego quencher!

Here I sit, high up in my tricked up and lonely night, writing these words. But, really, thinking of you.

Shudder and flaunt. Shudder and flaunt.

I want to be a poet. I desperately want to brain the truth out of my own head. I want to express myself without breaking. Without being broken or chided or ridiculed. I want to work against defiance as most of us do.

I want to follow my destiny. I don't care how foolish that sounds. I want to untie these knots of love that have me consumed and follow the buttons as they roll across the floor.

Somewhere I've got a sharp mind and a devil-may-care attitude. I want to find it. I want to go and meet you, wherever you are. I need to devote some time to getting there.

I don't care. I don't care how ungainly my words come across. I don't care if my desire takes me back into some childhood dream. Years from now, I don't care.

Tonight, because I am tired and thirsty. Tonight, because the moon leaned its pale face into my window and by its blueness I can tell, if I want to be a poet, I need to write poetry and not small skirt my way around here.

If I want what my nervous and excited dreams have already shown me, I need to move amongst my emotions and not be ruled by them.

In the end, you may spit me out. In the end, the world may bury me beneath the heavy sands of history, but I don't care.

This is love. Me leaving. I want you. And I want poetry. Nothing else.

Lisa: in Czech dialect means Ďfoxí, a nickname for a cunning person or, in the case of the Jewish name, an ornamental name.

Lisa, an ornamental name.

Do not take my words for a mandarin moon. Do not take my lips for a warm telephone. Do not take my heart for a stale bed. Marry me fate and I'll marry you too. I want to revolutionalize my soul.

Do not mistake my name for an ornament. Or my mind for a simple state of consciousness.

Look for me on the dark shelves of your imagination or in the back seat of your thoughts. Watch for me in your dreams. Picture me in the convoys of smoke rolling off the end of your cigarette.

You started it. You opened the door. How can I not go through? Slipping now. Falling through the seam of darkness. Falling through what could be an empty corridor. Save your prayers. Without your music, without poetry, I might as well be dead.

Honestly. I can't leave my heart inside this little pocket of hope. This tiny box. I have to carry it once and for all into the world. I have to offer it to you and see whether or not you'll take it.

It will be like unloading a cattle car. All that noise and stink and stupidity.

Wish me love and if you can not do that, my sweet enigma, wish me luck.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2005 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



February 24, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Everything around me seems to be disappearing, receding into the background. The faster my body advances toward the sun, the quicker the sun melts over the mountains, beyond my reach. Beyond anyone's reach. Except God's. With a center so suburban and yet His hands must be full of metropolitan cities, a season rotating in each eye, winter in Iceland, more sun in the southwest. God winks. Snow falls. God gazes, the sun unspools a million threads of light.

In the midst of all this calmness, this serenity, I drive down the highway with my thoughts rising like unseen entities spinning topsy turvy through the porcelain air.

A gentle day. Warm light, soft breeze. A gauzy sheen of clouds above the bony thin peak of Superstition Springs. Beyond it, the sky a most delicate shade of blue. The valley in shadow like a carpet of sadness. The sun here is so bright, so compelling, it could charm a snake from his hiding place in the rock.

Driving, looking at the world through a windshield. Counting the days, the hours until you arrive. The skin of my heart torn.

As real as you are to me, I was born too late. Like the poet Miguel Hernandez said, pain keeps my grief ageless.

And pain keeps my love ageless too.

I am incapable of one true emotion. Everything I feel, I feel too much. Finding goodness in the smallest thing. One tiny pink bloom on the desert sage growing in my front yard is cause for a celebration.

Suddenly desolation turns to nourishment. My soul skips up and down infinity's golden floor. I wait. I have become so good at waiting.


 
 
This 
 
I want to give you everything
Hills banked in snow.
Sunlight in drowsy little sips,
just enough to stain your lips.
A river of music running
through your backyard.
A molten silver moon.
Poetry falling like raindrops
across your roof.
A waterfall of solitude.
Dawn's first breath.
Night's earliest impulse.
This poem.
 
 

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



May 23, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Tomorrow is your 65th birthday. Happy birthday.

Anna Swir wrote a poem called "I Do Not Know How To Bark". In it she writes:

I am washing the kitchen floor on all four paws, in the position of a dog. I achieve for a while the good humor of a dog.

Too bad, I just can't bark.

Yes, too bad. I wish I could bark. I would. I'd bark your name until it woke you. I'd risk everything until you heard me. I wish I could bark that delicate bark from morning to madness.

I don't want to rely on others to bark for me.

There must be a place in this world, old as it is, where the god of nothingness reigns supreme. My luck I'd come into this world as a girl, magnetic to the forces of fraying winds, circumstances unfolding before me like menstrual cramps.

I'm like a dreary tourist in the country of you. A constant visitor. A woman with a camera and a big hat.

Again and again I have come to you. I have come to listen and to read. I have come to make peace while trying not to strangle my own heart. I have come to borrow, sometimes steal. I have come to feed you though I always end up being the one who gets fed. I have come to love you, though I enter like a fever, then refuse to exit.

I, I, I. How tiresome the poison word of I. The sound of it striking like a steel bar against cement. How it overtakes the mind, envelopes the heart. I, I, I. Like some sick love child, like some desperate street bum. Even crazy people say I. Children say I. Money says I. To hell with I.

Been listening to your radio show. Should say: Iíve been listening to your radio show. I canít stop falling, hearing your voice. I love how you make it about the music and I like the music but I love the versatility of you. I love learning who you love. There is a distance to each song as if every voice is an isolated structure, each note a gesture of the time and yet, timeless like a passage. You who carries this music over to us.

How to write letters to a man of such bewildering talent? And yet, I have. Many times. Many letters. My father used to say, life is a dream. A dream consisting of many other dreams. So many dreams that eventually the dreams begin to overlap until one can not tell the difference between life and death, sleep and wakefulness.

Who knows. Perhaps these letters are a dream. Perhaps the possibility of me reaching you isnít any more certain than waking, the sun sliding over the mountain like honey, the happy dog next door, my personal alarm clock, barking. The limits are endless.

It is not possible for me to love you any more than I already do. Iíve surpassed every kind of love, the greedy kind, the hopeful kind, the expensive kind. All I have left is meekness.

You are wherever you are and I am here. Things happen.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



September 1, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,


I'm sitting in the room of the house
I love the most.  It's filled with pictures of poets and musicians,
the scholarly gaze of Mozart stares at me from the opposite wall.
 
Light still hangs in the branches,
kisses the window goodnight.
A warm September evening
and here we are, together
only not in the same place
at the same time.
 
No sounds protrude from the childrens'
bedrooms, one is asleep, the other
is out harrassing the neighbors
on another block in a different part
of town.
 
Though somewhat silly of me,
I think you'd like it in here.
There are some candles lit,
a guitar leans against a chair,
the view is nice lending itself
to the healthiest mesquite
within a six block radius.
 
How many women do you know
that could charm an evening rain?
The drops fall lightly, almost tenderly
against the pane.  Moonlight replaces
sunlight in the most prolific way,
just as our maker intended.
 
Truly, this evening will fade
as will all the future others
and I will still be here writing
you letters trying to say what
can never be said.  Litany
has no language,
it just goes on and on
repeating itself.
 
This isn't a penance,
I can't be sure what my penance is,
to love you perhaps.
To spend every evening hour
trying to rouse the poet in me,
pretending to understand the world
in which you live and abide by.
 
Who am I but a sentimental woman
stuck in the suburbs.  At times,
the Arizona sky looks soulful.
The way the stars press against
the darkness.   I imagine it can be
quite lonely up there.  For those
of us who sit in quiet rooms
bound by motherhood, it can
get lonely too.  To lift the lock
on the window and crawl outside
would be to seize the day.
 
How many women do you know
that have the courage to stay behind?

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 23, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Yesterday I was sitting amongst a crowd of seven thousand just to see you.

Tonight I'm back home. My daughter is all-loving beside me. She can't let me go. "You should have taken me with." She says, over and over.

She loves you too, in her own way.

As your show was beginning, the lights went low, the noise from the crowd was filled with so much anticipation, I could taste it.

You drew an all-intended crowd this time. Loves implications were everywhere. Women held up signs, men hooted and howled. One young guy a row or two ahead of me was jumping up and down as if he had springs on the soles of his shoes. I don't even think he realized it, he just kept jumping, jumping. So happy to be in the same place as you.

Have you ever read Rilke's Book of Hours? Written in his twenties, Rilke was inspired by the simple spirituality he encountered while visiting Russia. When he returned home to Germany, he began to put down on paper what he felt were spontaneously received prayers.

I have a copy translated into English by two women, Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. In O Herr, gib jedem seinen eignen Tod, their commentary states it, Our living includes our dying.

I don't think that death should cancel life. I would rather think of it as an enhancement, or better yet, an inheritance.

Rilke says: I want to love the things as no one has thought to love them until they're real and ripe and worthy of you.

I, too, want to love the things as no one has thought to love them.

I've yet to find the perfect place. Yet to know the inspiration of the divine. Yet to have my night with God, although I've had moments, small, fleeting. I've yet to feel the responsibilities of hospitality with my neighbors. They live their lives and I live mine. Sometimes I think I've yet to begin my life, my real life.

I pay attention to you because in doing so I feel rewarded, educated, awake. I pay attention to you because you're beautiful and if my mind happens to stop on something you said I can't sleep, can't eat, can not compose even a simple thought of my own.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 24, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Why should I write you letters? Does some part of me believe that you'll read them?

In a way I am approaching your world, as a stranger, yes. As a woman without a physical description. As a heart shape perhaps. It's as if I am a girl searching for the man of my house.

Sometimes my silence has a spirit in it. Even in moments of contemplation, composure, modesty, I still long to reach you.

It's as if my heart is divided. Half belonging to my recognizable life, the other half to your palace of destiny.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 25, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

When I'm driving to work I listen to your songs. I own thousands. I own so many versions of one song, I could listen to just that one for over an hour.

It's quite a sensation to hear fifteen different renditions of Sugar Baby, She Belongs To Me, Visions of Johanna, Hollis Brown.

Today the weather was nice. I drove with the windows open. I drove with Modern Times in my ear. At every stoplight were people. They, too, drove with their windows open.

And Modern Times in their ear.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 26, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Many of my freshest memories include you.

You in Kansas City. You in Las Vegas. You in Sun City. You in San Diego, twice. You on dvd. You on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. You on the cover of Newsweek Magazine. You on television. You in the lemon-light of my dreams.

You who are always in the way of my life, my living.

Why should I point out these truths? What good will come of it? If I were to say to you jeg elska deg, what would it mean? If I were to say to you I wish, then list every wish, wouldn't those very things I wish for build up in my heart, unanswered?

The weather tonight is incredible. The moon is showing a lopsided smile, huge against the nine o'clock sky. Stars are arriving, softly. By midnight they will be in full bloom.

Each child of mine is industriously busy. My daughter with homework, my son with his secrets behind a closed bedroom door.

When I first saw you, the very first time, I thought, how original. How amazing he looks compared to everyone else. How autumn he appears over the rough edge of a summer filled with too much discomfort.

I left modern music because of you. I left it for good and I've never once looked back.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



October 27, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Here we are again with another group of words to set between us. Me the dreamer and you full of music and mysterious industry.

I was hoping I'd be happy or at least half-content with my life by the time I reached the age of 30. I'm 37 and still trying to round the mountain. I think I spare too much. Perhaps that is my problem.

It's either that or I have completely forgotten how to be myself, only myself. I've tried to be me with you inside for so long.

There are so many things I want to say to you and yet, I don't know the words to use, if they even exist.

All these hours which add into years so quickly, so many of mine filled with inactivity.

I drove to work today beneath a clear sky and when I arrived, I did what I was told. And when I finished with that I drove home again under the same clear sky. Nothing I did altered the world, nothing I said changed somebody's heart.

I pulled my car into the garage. I entered my home with the same expression I left it with, unsmiling though not unhappy. My hairstyle the same, my clothing the same, my eyes still green, my feet still sore.

I can't imagine you ever feeling the sense of sameness, although you must. Doesn't everybody at some point in their lives feel, not lifeless, not robotic, between stages perhaps?

In such moments, when dullness permeates even my spine, I like to read poetry.

Today I found this one, which I really like. It is by an Irish poet whose name is Dermot Healy.



 
        My House is Tiny
 
        My house is tiny
        And my sorrow
        Is the smallest
        At this end of the country.
 
        And yet the whole sea
        At my back
        Can fit into
        The most frightened
 
        Human mind.

 
                   Dermot Healy
 
 

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 18, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

When you stepped into my life and closed the door I didn't know what to expect. Less than what I've received because you've given me so much, more than I could have known at the time.

I don't know what it is that you want out of life. Perhaps you've already received it, ten fold even. Yet, I can not imagine you without desires, without goals that to the common man might seem unattainable or out of his reach, to you could simply be a matter of 'around the next corner'.

I like to imagine the universe knows you well, that as you complete a thought, billions of atoms of energy are already gathering the needed information and bringing it to you.

I believe in our purpose, each of us as individuals but all of us connected as well. I put a thought into the world and sometimes I can feel that it's been heard.

I read a quote once by Meister Eckhardt that goes: If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

Earlier after dropping off my daughter and her friend at school I stopped at a gas station to fill my tank. Across the lot from the station there is a small, Italian bistro with an outdoor courtyard and tables, a few benches line a garden for patrons waiting to be seated inside. The bistro was closed but there was a man sitting on one of the benches. He wasn't reading the paper or feeding the birds, he was just sitting there in his brown coat. He was looking down though it didn't appear that he was focusing on any one thing, a bit lost in thought I suppose.

Looking at him I thought surely he has desires, things he longs for. He, too, is one of us, the universe must know him also, therefore he is significant. I smiled in his direction and just as I did, he looked up. I was too far away for him to reciprocate but I couldn't help but wonder whether he felt some small force of good come his way.

The Bible tells us to encourage one another. When Paul experienced difficulties during his ministry the Lord used ordinary people to provide support for him in simple, practical ways.

I think God puts people in our lives who are complete sources of inspiration, people who deserve our gratitude. You are that person for me. These letters are my practical way of saying thank you. I take a pen to a piece of paper and I just write words about things I want you to know.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 19, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

Because it seems the only way to win at my own life is to have you in it that's what I've done. I've included you in every aspect of every day.

It's like you are water and I'm always thirsty.

You are rain and I forget my coat on purpose. I see how dark the sky is and still I go out with nothing more on than a t-shirt and a cotton skirt.

Sometimes I think it's not you I should be writing these letters to, but to all the people who don't know who you are. I should be telling them how extraordinary you are, the chronicles of your life, how vivid your eyes look when you're doing what you love best, performing on stage.

I could start each letter with something of yours, a quote perhaps, poetry that could rise in their hearts and then settle in their minds like a stone.

They might never understand my mere words, just as you may never know how I feel because of who you are and who I am, where I am free to learn everything I can, you become more a part of my life everyday, you fill me. Who am I to you but an unheard of person, another ticket holder to one of your shows.

Like any woman, I want to spare you, not put you through the rigors of a strangers speculations, assumptions. I want to protect you, in a way, keep you to myself.

It's too late, I know, still I can't keep my hands from reaching out.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 20, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

It's finally cold here. With temperatures dipping below freezing throughout the night. I am reminded of childhood, living in Anchorage. Every morning the entire park was a blanket of snow, all the trees bare except for pine.

I look at it now, in a way, as a leading up to a better understanding. You have written and spoken about winter in Minnesota, the resounding silence, the cold. Perhaps without my Alaskan experience I might never have known what miles of snow and acres of ash-frozen sky could feel like. Desolation as far as the eye could see, midnight all around, even during the daytime.

Arizona is nice. What I mean to say is it has its moments. They say there are no sunsets all over the world comparable. I don't know. I've been a lot of places but I haven't been everywhere.

By now the sun will have climbed to the top of the sky. My son is at his girlfriends house, his sister is in her bedroom with a couple of her friends. They are exchanging Christmas gifts because two of her friends won't be here on Christmas, each is heading to another town to spend the holiday with family.

I don't know where you are. I only know that you will be overseas come March to begin another tour. I quote Richard Bach now, "can miles truly separate you from friends....if you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?"

I am afraid I may never see you again. As each tour ends, the part of me that worries all of the time, grows stronger. It plants ideas like this could be the end. This could be his last show. What if he decides never to tour again?

I ignore that voice as best I can but often it is like a rising tide.

Driving home today I was listening to the BBC interview again, the one hosted by Kris Kristofferson. You were talking about expectations, peoples expectations of you. You said that people who expected anything from you were borderline cases. How could they expect anything more? You'd already given them so much.

I want you to know I don't expect anything. Not another tour, not another show, not another song. I have enough from you to live just like a storybook ending, happily ever after.

I'm lying, of course, but you probably knew that.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author



December 21, 2006

Dear Bob Dylan,

My husband and I were preparing for bed and my husband was telling me a story about a local baseball player here who had given this sixteen year old kid a Christmas present. It was a great story because this kid was growing up in a rough area and had dealt with a lot of adversity in his life but he was overcoming it. He was working, going to school, applying to colleges.

Through some endeavor or another, this kid and this well-known baseball player had met and the baseball star was so impressed by this kid, he surprised him with a Christmas present.

As I lay in bed listening, I said, "I want a Christmas present from Bob Dylan."

Your name escaped my lips before I could replace them. What I'd meant to say was, "I want a Christmas present from this certain baseball player."

My husband turned to look at me with a huge grin on his face.

Your name does not upset him. He's as accustomed to it entering our household conversations as I am. The truth is that you are as much a part of who I am as everyone else I know and love are, my mother, my father, my siblings and friends.

I hurried and corrected myself then added, "I don't know why I said Bob Dylan. I wasn't even thinking about him."

You don't even have to be in my thoughts to be on my tongue.

All my love,

Lisa

TOP

© 2006 Lisa Zaran, More about the Author   e-mail the author


 
 

Find the latest updates at DearBobDylan.com
 

Archives   Search   Terms   About   Submit   Link Exchange   Poetry Links   Newsletter   Contents   Home