Category Archives: Writing

Suicide Attempt 

Mine
will start
in the car
and take me
to the edge
of California
because
that’s
the kind
of beauty
I want
to end up in
and
on the way
I’ll have time
to think
about
why
and why not
and I’ll stop
only
for fuel
and food
to keep
me alive
until I get
to the
redwoods
which
I’ll need
to see first
before
I go black
and it’s a
small hope
that they
will remind me
I have options
and to
go back
where
I came from
because
they know
what’s it’s like
to feel stuck
in one place
for so long
and still
grow.

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-13-17

Damages

Back at home
there are two
pencil drawings
precious
small
old
black and white
sketches
a gift from a friend
who means
something to me
but I can’t decide
what
kind of frame
would be best
and I’m standing
in the aisle
deciding
whether my choices
are as black and white
as these frames
so I take my time
make a decision
proceed
to the checkout
where the cashier
is careless
and scratches
one of the corners
says to me
all you need to do
is touch that up
with some black paint
and I say
you know that dent
is never
coming out

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-18-17

How I Look

Sometimes
happy music plays
in another room
and even
if you close your door
sound waves
sneak in
and all you want
is silence
or dark music
that is so full
of melancholy
it makes you feel
indistinguishable
from the air
that is filled
with what looks like
nothing.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-13-17

“Interior with Piano and Woman in Black” by Vilhelm Hammershoi, 1901

Mirror

To prove
that I’m racist
my daughter
asks me
questions
like would you
rather adopt
a white child
or a black one
and I say
I’m not raising
any more kids
and she asks
if I’d feel
more comfortable
in a room
full
of white people
or black
and my answer
is wrong
true
complicated
and we sit
in silence
for a while
sipping coffee
thinking of
more questions
that no one
wants to answer
so she can get an A
on her paper
that’s going to
be a mirror
no one wants
to look into.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-31-17

Proof

When
you’re driving
down the road
feeling content 
listening
to The Rolling Stones
bobbing your head
tapping
your left foot
you realize
in that moment
everything
terrible
that’s ever happened
in your life
is behind you–
that you got through it
that this moment
proves
none of that s***
was big enough
or bad enough
to keep you down
on the bottom
where
you were so certain
you would stay.

DeMaris

9-25-17

Night Walker

Plump red lips
pink cheeks
with purple swells
of lopsided skin
head down
eyes forward
hat on
sometimes off
the gait
full of sloppy bounce
the legs not
quite straight
the brain intact
whole
wholly intelligent
capable of
the self-awareness
that causes
embarrassment
great enough
to keep him inside
the house
when the sun
is showing off
everyone else’s
normal
symmetrical bodies
imperfect
as they are
he’d love
to have one.

 

 

 

DeMaris
9-15-17

“Four People Sharing a Meal” charcoal drawing by Vincent van Gogh, 1885

About this poem:

Since my childhood I’ve known of a man with major facial deformity who lived nearby. He was known to be very intelligent and worked as an architect.  I was always fascinated by his face, and occasionally would get a glimpse of him out walking.  Recently, I moved back to my hometown and I pass his house every evening on my night walk.  Sometimes, he’s out walking too and we say hello.  I can’t help but wonder about his life experience. Is he comfortable in his own skin?  Does he feel cheated out of a “normal” life? Has he ever been in love?  Has anyone ever loved him?