All posts by demarisgaunt

I currently live in Greenwood, Indiana. I love to listen to music, books on CD, podcasts or NPR as I work in my studio.  My favorite artists are Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I love poetry, but only the good stuff that isn’t so abstract I can’t understand it. Abstraction better lends itself to visual art, I think. Stephen Dunn is my favorite poet. He’s said just about anything that can be said about the inner workings of the heart and mind. My favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My all time favorite band is The Cure. I love science, and anything that relates to how the mind works. I don’t believe in the supernatural. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker. If you don’t buy my art or read my poetry, buy one of their books. It will enrich if not change your life.  My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and camping. My favorite food is so common, I’ll keep you in suspense (It starts with a P). I prefer chocolate to vanilla. Green is my favorite color. I have an aversion to planning or scheduling of any kind, and I live for spontaneous adventures! Telephone conversations make me anxious, and I avoid them at almost all cost. I had a happy childhood. I’m having a pretty fantastic adulthood. I have every intention of seeing my 100th birthday, after which I will happily relinquish my guts to the future of medicine. Cheers! ~DeMaris

Conditional Love

What if it came to you broken
but still full of potential?
What if it made you feel
something like comfort
when you held it at arms length
to examine its flaws?
What if the glaze was chipped
and scuffed
and could never be restored
to its original condition?
What if you liked
the way it looked on your shelf
holding your beloved treasure?
Would you keep it on display
or go ahead and break it
because it wasn’t perfectly smooth?

Holding Together

I am sitting alone
in the kitchen I built
eating fresh blueberries
listening
to the birds
reconcile their feelings for me
as they enjoy the seed
but remember the trees
that once held their homes

I can hear those trees
coming down
falling over
creating a moment of static
in the crushed branches

I can feel the weight
of the first wall
as I lifted it into place
on the edge
of the foundation

I am staring
at the front door
that I installed
with not much difficulty
on a rainy day

I am remembering
the way it felt to be so high
on the ladder
putting in the windows
that have given me the view
of my childhood fantasy

below me
above me
all around me
are two by fours and nails
holding me together

holding in place
this dream I have
of sharing this nest
with a particular man
I like to imagine
walking through that door

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-29-18

Perspective

A man swings alone
in the park beside the library.
I wonder why he’s there.
The parking lot is empty.

The library doesn’t open for another hour.

I put Malcolm Gladwell in the drop box.
He’s been helping me understand the misunderstood.
He’s given me 6 hours of perspective
on how we see things incorrectly.
How we misconstrue the facts.

I want to ask the man
why he is swinging in the park alone.
I wonder if there’s a woman
he wishes he hadn’t lost.
I want to ask him what he did wrong.
Why she left.
I want to find out what his plans are
to get her back.

From my air-conditioned car
I watch him lower his hands and his head
as if he wouldn’t care if his body flopped over
onto the ground like a rag doll.

I diagnose him with a broken heart.

The man’s posture stiffens
and he drags his feet to force a stop.
He stands, turns, and suddenly becomes a teenager
who walks into the arms of a beautiful girl
who just walked into the scene
from god knows where.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-15-18

 

Heart Failure

By accident
or maybe on purpose
you cross the yellow line
you accelerate
toward the small dark circle
coming toward you
and you have exactly
7 seconds to decide
how this is going to end
6        5        4
you return to your lane
your flatlined heart
beating again
as the lives
you decided you’d spare
speed past.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-14-18

Just a Little Lost

Anthony Bourdain. Kate Spade. Robin Williams. Chris Cornell. Suicide by hanging, all. There are others, of course. Many famous, even more not famous.

My first reaction after the shock and sadness for their families is, “Balls of steel.” My default position has never been to blame them. Or to accuse them of selfishness. Or to suggest they took the easy way out.

I’m writing this to work something out.

I’m writing this in a moment of weakness, after a long time of sitting secretly in darkness.

I’m writing this because from anyone else’s perspective, I have it all. I have three beautiful, healthy, impressive children. I have a reliable support system. I have a profitable skill. I have the privilege of free time to hike and enjoy the outdoors and build a house.

Yes, I am building a fucking house. I am the envy of my younger self. I am the envy of others.

But I would exchange almost everything I have to share a loving relationship with another human being willing to invest equally. I have never had this. I don’t know what balanced love feels like. I also struggle with why I feel like I need someone to share my life with. (I will keep the details pressed against my heart.)

I am unable to fully feel the joy that should be running in parallel to my current life experience because I have no one to share it with. I have no one who loves me so much that to be with me means more than everything else, or even almost everything else. And to admit this feels like I’m whining.

I believe that it’s here…this exact location, where people find themselves before they take their own life. And by “this exact location” I mean the point where they realize that to complain about ANYTHING while seeming to already have EVERYTHING feels selfish and obscene. So they don’t do anything…but fester. And then, overwhelmed, they make their exit.

I have so much good in my life that to complain about anything feels wrong. It feels like to complain is to conscientiously make a choice to not appreciate those things in my life that are positive. This inner conflict of guilt vs. appreciation is one of my most powerful demons. My rational self knows that these feelings are a normal and healthy. My rational self knows that my life is currently in a rut, but that it won’t last. My emotional self wants to avoid pain at almost any cost.

I know what it feels like to stand on the edge—that feeling of despair that tempts you to step off. But I’m going to work on my house today. I’m going to snuggle with my 10 year old. I’m going to be so kind to everyone I see. I’m going to fight tears, and I’m going to lose.

Today hurts. But I’m going to wait for life to smooth out again. It will. I have so many good people in my life. So much to look forward to. But what I don’t have, today, is balls of steel.

I don’t need this number right now. But here it is in case you do. Or in case one of us needs it in the future. Because no amount of intelligence, talent, fortune or fame is enough to exempt us from the realization that life is not only fun and beautiful, but often terribly empty, hard, and (deep breath) optional. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Falling

Parrish Broady—
a boy who hadn’t reached out
to grab my memory
in a long damn time.
But driving fast down 46
I see a truck waiting for its turn
to pull into traffic.
Broady Electric.
Blue letters.
The association begins.
A middle aged man
behind the wheel.
Middle age
never grayed the hair
of Parrish Broady.
Never calloused his soft hands.
Middle age didn’t arrive
with a birthday cake blazing
or a crisis of identity loitering
in his high school yearbooks.
Parrish Broady—
the boy with the strange name—
more haunting
now that he’s gone—
now that I have lived
more than double his short life.
Parrish Broady—
the boy
who must have climbed that tree
a hundred times—
that tree that was finally able
to reach its branches
into the powerlines
like fingers searching blindly
for the switch in a dark room.
And he perished—
the young boy
the son
the little brother
the friend
the beloved and adventurous kid
who must have mistaken
that dark limb for the one
that would keep him
from falling.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-7-18

You and You and You

You and you and you.
Here is what I have.
This is what I offer.
This is what I am.
I am an ear,
I am a voice.
I will listen to you
and speak to you
but there is no body
available for warmth
or comfort.
My body is my own now.
My pleasure is unshared.
Wait, you said.
And I waited.
Wait longer, you said.
And I obeyed my heart.
I stayed alone.
I preserved my heart for you.
And you
and you.
I preserved my body for you.
And you
and you.
I preserved my mind for you.
And you
and you.
And here I am
at the other end of waiting.
My hands are empty.
My voice echoes in my empty room.
My heart is cemented
to this floor,
this foundation
that no one helped me build.
My every pleasure is unshared
as well as every pain.
And here I am, a pillar.
Strong.
Solo.
Straight
in this tireless
relentless wind.

DeMaris

6-6-18