Parable of Food

There is an abundance of food
and the children are hungry

which is a problem only because good food
must first be prepared properly

which means there will be a wait
because what is nourishing

is not available in a box that can be opened
and poured onto a plate

it must be sliced and seasoned
and simmered so that the flavors

careen into a satisfying meal that will
create a lasting craving for what is

better than the aftertaste of mediocrity
I want the children to wait

a little longer, the box within their reach
I want them to choose between

convenience and sustenance
I want them to know they will never be full

 

DeMaris Gaunt
2-12-11

This poem first appeared in the
May/June 2013 issue of The Humanist

Plea

The walls around me
are gray
and I’d like them to become
invisible and blue
and though they cannot speak
it feels as if I’m neglecting
their plea to transform me
by keeping me prisoner
until I make up my mind
that I’ve had enough isolation
and will break down the door
and reenter the dreadful world
that’s been begging me
to change it.

DeMaris Gaunt
7-6-15

Independence Day, 2015

Even though the lawn needs mowed
I’ll stay in the house until evening
because there are things to celebrate indoors,
like air conditioning and running water
and the kind of freedom
that allows me to choose what book to read
and what kind of flag to criticize
on social media if I want to—

but today, my flag is the one that represents
the sacrifice made by Jack,
my neighbor down the street,
whose time in a distant battlefield
has preserved our enthusiasm
for tonight’s display of fireworks,
while they remind him of similar explosions
he’ll do his best not to think about after dark.

DeMaris Gaunt
7-4-15

Fireworks

demarisspeaks

The tight fisted sun
pounds the party
on the beach
this fourth of July.

Teenagers,
brown bodied
and glowing with laughter
throw Frisbees
and bodysurf
along the shore.

Colorful umbrellas
dissolve the heat
with their small round
shadows
while bellies fill
with the offerings
taken from the fire:
roasted corn
hot dogs,
s’mores.

Slowly, the ocean
drinks from the sky its light
and the smaller fire
ignites a fuse
held by careless hands
a little drunk with
independence
and all of a sudden
all the water in the world
is twenty feet
too far away.

DeMaris Gaunt
7-15-12

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Hypothetical Emergency

Turn around.
Go back.
Rewind the tape
and edit everything
you said to make it
sound just right.
It’s what you’d do
if you didn’t have
so many other
things you needed
to accomplish—
like going to sleep
and waking up or
taking a long hot bath
or finishing off
the strawberry
ice cream
that you almost
forgot was in the
freezer
buried under
the box of frozen
eggrolls and the 10lb.
pork loin that could
send you to the ER
if it slid out and
crushed your big toe—
and the cheerful
young nurse
would stitch you up
while the doctor wrote
you an unrefillable
prescription
for the pain—
as if they’d taken care
of your most critical
emergency.

DeMaris Gaunt
6-30-15