Red or brown

it doesn’t matter

what color they are.

They hold the cup

which we fill constantly

to come here—

they take the tokens

and deliver us

to this place

where we float

a little higher

than would be allowed

at breakfast, say,

or lunch—

those milestones

of the day we reach

and jump across

to land in this gauzy room

where our thoughts

can blend with the music

as well as everything outside

these windows—

which look to us

like stained glass—

colorful and distorted,

yet perfectly clear.



DeMaris Gaunt


Exactly What Happened

Lighting is everything

and the time of day too


is important

and always partly to blame.


And the large room

full of people with drinks


in their nervous hands

must also be considered


as much as the reason

we were there,


which was art – bad

and under the scrutiny


of bright white light

and we knew each other


from the books we wrote

and we were there because


it was part of the event

which featured both our names


in the program.

And before the crowd thinned out


we found a balcony that hovered

effortlessly in the dark air


and felt the north exhaling

it’s cold breath


which prompted you

to step closer and inhale


my perfume

as you looked into me


for a moment without a word

and you didn’t even take my hand


which might have seemed strange

if we were both still young,


and instead, you swallowed hard

and silently lowered your chin


over my spinning head

and both of your arms were


tight and tender around me

as if you were apologizing


for something we both knew

couldn’t exist in this beautiful


and whispering dark.



DeMaris Gaunt







Half a Bottle of Wine

Here it is:

I’m  drunk.  Alone.

And I’m not ashamed

or embarrassed

to admit

that when I opened up

the bottle of wine

I knew I’d

let it take me

wherever it wanted to go

and it didn’t matter

that I said wait a minute

let’s take it slow

and get to know each other—


It was nothing like that.

I took it

poured it

and what it did

was create this open

ended discussion

inside my head

where I realized

that we really are in control,

we just don’t care

who gets hurt

and we just want the excuse

to tell the truth

under the influence—

under the guise of


and I’m here to tell you

If I say I’m in love with him

I am…

right now,

and an hour ago

and tomorrow too—

and it really only means

that the heart is bigger

than we thought

or imagined.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love

who I’m supposed to love—

just that there are others too

who live here

in this often vacant






DeMaris Gaunt


One Brief Moment

It took years

for my understanding to bloom

above the weeds that choked my reason—


years for my faith to become so small

it simply collapsed—

severed in one brief moment

like a tree trunk hacked slowly away by an ax.


As of today,

I will no longer be grateful to any first cause

that requires my prayer,

but to that first accumulation of cells

that took so long to evolve

into a consciousness that could examine

its own existence,


in the beautiful freedom of the cosmos—


not a single string attached

not a single flame to fear.




DeMaris Gaunt