Dream

Awake
you rack your brain
for answers
why how why how
were you mistaken
is it possible
you were mistaken
he was too good to be true
after all
which can only mean
he wasn’t
that he wasn’t true
after all
because if he was
if he was really true
he’d be looking for you now
in the haystack of this city
with a population
of not very many needles
and you aren’t that hard
to find
because he knows
where you live
unless he doesn’t
unless he is
unless he was
just a dream after all
and you keep thinking
thinking
thinking
about him
about the dream he was
and about the dream
you had last night
where you were next to him
on the train
and you were happy
and you arrived
in some future
with blue streamers
and carved hearts
on every wall
red
they were almost beating

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-12-19

“Chambered Nautilus” by Andrew Wyeth, 1956

 

Separation Failure

Elsewhere—
fighting
protests
protests against protests
storms
storms
in the form of weather
employment
emotion
health
conflict
conflict everywhere
lovers raging
screaming
dissolving
disappointing
marriages ending
walls going up
separating
separating
need from plenty
even the birds
compete
over the abundant seed
but here—
you and I
are floating past the past
your gentle hands
massage away
my worry
before we sleep
before we sleep
we lie awake
for a long time
holding on to each other
letting go
letting go
of everything
we have already
forgiven

DeMaris
1-21-2019

“Couple Duos Chez” by John Singer Sargent, year unknown

White T-Shirt

my white t-shirt
was your white t-shirt
and I just pulled it
out of the drawer
no
it wasn’t buried
it was on top
freshly washed
because my white t-shirt
that used to be
your white t-shirt
has been through a lot
which makes it soft
and comfortable
and treasured
and it remembers
the parking lot
where it became mine
removed
transferred
gifted to me
because it was something
worn close to your body
the way I couldn’t
be worn by you
and you knew
I needed something
to tide me over
something more
than a promise
no
you knew that t-shirt
was as close
as we would ever get

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-17-19

“Office at Night” by Edward Hopper, 1940

 

 

 

 

Love Song

On the radio
there is a voice
full of loneliness
singing
“what am I gonna do
without you?”
and between last year
and this brand new one
I’ve been learning
that loneliness
is wet
watery
able to seep into cracks
I didn’t know I had—
cracks made by love
opening me
leaving me
revealing my wish
to be known
wanted
held so tight
it hurt to let go—
and now that I’ve been
untangled
untethered
unbound
free
for so long
I think I have a sad
and honest answer
to the crooner’s question:
breathe, harden,
chorus of sleep,
repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-15-19

“Intermission” by Edward Hopper, 1963

 

Lesson

We are taught
it isn’t right to feel good
or satisfied
or clean
about parting.
About leaving the future
out of sex—
but I have enjoyed
the present of the now
the gift of nothing else
to look forward to—
just one night
spent without fear or hopes.
Just a few hours
where the only thing that lived
or breathed
or mattered
was his body
swollen like a wet sponge
over the blackboard of my life—
erasing everyone else
who made promises
impermanent as chalk
to make me believe
they’d still be here
now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-12-19

“Summer Evening” by Edward Hopper, 1947

 

Our Mothers

Everything they told us was wrong.
Smile.
Hold your stomach in.
Nod your head.
Agree.
Respect yourself, they said —
by saying no.
By giving boys nothing but a smile
until they offered us
a finite circle made of gold.
They only want one thing, they told us.
And we believed
that the one thing they wanted
was somehow different
than the one thing we wanted too.
And because trust is involuntary
according to evolution,
we believed our mothers—
believed we were wrong
for wanting to sample
as many fruits as we could
before we agreed that only one
could possibly taste better
than all the rest—
for what was left
of our desirous and insatiable lives.

DeMaris
1-12-19

“Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window” by Mary Cassat, 1902

Flight

After we met
there was so little time
we couldn’t help but give in
to the eloquence of language
and follow it
to the natural conclusion
of a hotel bedroom
where we gave each other
nothing we wished to take back.
And when we parted
there was a conspicuous
absence of sorrow—
a painless
almost joyful goodbye
without complication or tears.
No silly declaration of love
to muddy the future.
No trouble understanding
distance, borders, boundaries.
No confusion about silence
and how it would live between us
now that the sky has taken him—
along with the answers
to all the questions
I will never get to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-5-19