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Mind Reader

Where are you
you absent one
who knows
that now is when
I need something
large and warm
to crawl into
something like
an old quilt
with lots of color
and comfort
something marsupial
with a heartbeat
something easy
to get out of
when I’m weak
with uncertainty
and no sense
of direction
where are you
when I am lost
in dysfunction
no one can see—
where is the question
I need you to ask:
Are you okay?
And I won’t even
need to say no.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-15-17

“Woman with Red Umbrella” By T.C. Steele

How it Ends

The photo of you
sitting in a field
of wildflowers
made you seem accessible—
and the picture
of your body
halfway into Mosquito Lake
seemed to indicate
you lived for adventure—
but the joy in your eyes
as you stood on Mt. Rainier
was in fact nontransferable
to life down below
where love waited its turn
for you to find it
as beautiful a destination
as the mangroves
in Costa Rica and now
the Redwoods are calling
and you are almost gone.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-26-17

 

Justification

You are candy
and decadence
and everything
I shouldn’t have
because you are
bad for me and
I’m bad for you
even though we
feel right in the
bright afternoon
laying together
without words
and without any
need to speak or
ask questions or
try to make sense
of what we are
doing by coming
here again to get
away from what
our lives mean
in the absence of
each other, which
is what most lives
mean—which is
to say it’s a kind
of duty we want
to get away from
for a short time
and we happen to
be perfect for each
other if you can
look at it that way.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-1-17

“Hylas and the Nymphs” John William Waterhouse, 1896

 

 

First Encounter

Funny
how the mind
finds as much
excitement
in memory
as it does
in the infinite hope
of daydreams—

thrilling
as it is
to imagine
what’s to come,
what encounters
we have
to look
forward to—

it’s the
memory
of my navel
becoming
a cup
for your pleasure
that makes me
smile and pause—

and I stop
whatever it is
that needs
to be done
so I can slip
beneath you
once again
when I close my eyes.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-9-17

Duane Michals, 1969 “The Young Girl’s Dream”

Photograph

 

It feels like I’ve said
almost everything I can
about the way I love you—
the way it feels warm to have you
in the center of my heart—
and how happy I am to wake up
next to that smile of yours
even if it’s just a picture of us
together on our happiest day
being silly and reckless
somewhere in the middle of our lives
which were never
supposed to converge like this
in the middle of nowhere—
and when I took that photo
deep in the woods, my right arm
wrapped tightly around you,
I wasn’t thinking
about the past or the future—
or the ethics of our union.
I wasn’t thinking that one day
I’d need to explain
what I was doing there with you—
that no one else would see what I see
in that joyful photograph—
all the love, beauty, bravery
and restoration—
the depth of feeling
words are powerless to express
or deny.

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-6-17

 

The Dawn of Man

The stick.

How long did it lie on the ground
before some freshly-human being
picked it up and reached into the tree
with an astonishing new arm—
straight and long with an accurate aim?

The fruit fell down.

How long before it caught on—
until everyone else saw the sense in it?
The way it made life a little easier
and a little more fun.

Was it unintentional,
that first violent contact?
The stick coming down accidentally
on the head of a brother—
the fruit rolling away
from the splatter of blood.

Such an event
must have ignited some pre-fire temper
that swelled into an agonizing grunt—
and though there were no words yet for apologies,
it was clear what kind of pain was possible
with this new tool.

Imagine, now, the others—
open mouthed, slowly backing away
from the one who made the accidental blow.
And when his reason told him to show them the culprit,
the perpetrator raised his stick above his head.

When they shrank to the ground
and covered their heads,
he felt a rush of control
and was the first to realize,
before language could explain it,
that fear was a kind of power
which would never be improved.

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-24-11

 

 

 

 

Waiting for the Wildflowers

All winter
we wait for them—
for the surprise
of blue
or yellow or white
and we take
their picture as if
they were babies
we want to show off
to our friends!
Soon they will
become confetti
for the celebration
of spring—
a reward
for enduring
that colorless season,
which will wait its turn
to come again
while summer
flaunts its green
and autumn leaves
cover the woods
in a blanket of orange—
but today, the
Harbinger of Spring
is stirring
and whispering
wake up
to the snow trillium
and bluebells
and yellow buttercups
that will fill the air
with a fragrance
so sweet
we might forget
what trouble
grows inside the houses
we left behind
to spend a few hours
strolling
through this carnival
of hope and rebirth.

 

 

 

DeMaris
2-27-17