Category Archives: Poetry

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

 

 

Last First Day

Together
we made his bed
on the last day of the year
in a room in a house
that belonged to his friend
and the white sheets
spotted with wildflowers
would become the only garden
we would ever have a chance
to lie down in
because this country
wasn’t his home anymore
and the plane ticket
in his soft brown leather bag
couldn’t be exchanged
for a future in my arms–
where I held him
for five beautiful hours
before I had to give him up
to the years ahead
which would never include me.

 

 

DeMaris
1-1-19

“Lamia” by John William Waterhouse, 1905 (not the full painting)

Speculation

Watching him
I imagine he is serious, intellectual—
too good-looking and well-dressed
to be a failure at anything.
And the laptop holding his focus
must contain a secret or two about his life
or maybe all of them are being corralled
into a memoir I’d pay a lot to read.
And the pensive brow
behind his thin rimmed glasses
makes me wonder if maybe
he’s typing a resignation letter
to his boss or to his lover or his wife
in which he’s apologizing
for the wasted time, for the years it took
to discover exactly what he didn’t want—
which might explain why he’s been here
in the lodge for days, alone,
speaking and looking at no one
except for me
when he asks if I can recommend a trail—
and because the woods are where I answer
all my own questions
I tell him any of them
will take him where he needs to go.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris Gaunt
12-28-18

“April Wind” by Andrew Wyeth, 1952

 

Morning Coffee

Chill
winter
morning
coffee
in hand
warms your lips
your tongue
your belly
your gut
empty
filled only
with longing
with memories
of his body
next to yours
his body
gone
his body
tender
with love
that melts
when you close
your eyes
your eyes
that bleed tears
salty
bittersweet
oh, how you wish
for another sip.

DeMaris
12-23-18

“Automat” by Edward Hopper, 1927