Tag Archives: alcoholism

Little Cages

Because you knew
what it was like
to live in a little cage
in that life you lived
before him,
you had no wish
to hold him captive
or dictate his habits
or keep track
of every hour of his day.
You wanted freedom
to be the gravitational pull
that would keep him
in your orbit—
but it might have been
a terrible mistake
to promise you would
never interfere
or peek behind the doors
he wanted to keep closed—
because you’ve watched him
carry in the bottles
and the pipes—
and you know
he’s in there
with all the right tools
constructing his own
little cage.





Illustration by Wilfried Satty, 1976



Later in your life
after you’ve become
a closeted
functioning alcoholic
you realize
you’d been too hard
on all those folks
you knew to be dependent
on their loved ones
to make sense
of their happiness
and worth.
You’d been too hard
on everyone.
Even the dishes
waiting in the sink
tell you how much
trouble it is
to be so necessary
and so abused—
and you couldn’t agree
more unless
the comment came
from someone you loved
who was real
and sober—
and recovering from
the daunting chore
of giving up
the delusion
that they had it all
under some kind
of complete control.


DeMaris Gaunt

A Little Darkness

Some say
it’s a darkness—
but I say the light
is a little better
and little softer
as it comes in filtered
through the gauzy pinprick
of an alcoholic beverage—
when your focus is a red laser
that keeps skipping around—
which is the reason
you can’t drive – because
there’s only the steering wheel,
or only the gas,
or only the touchy brakes—
and you can’t possibly
work them all at the same time
when your eyes
just want to close
and feel the fluffy air
spinning around you
like pink cotton candy
at the state fair – so soft
that all you want to do
is write another poem
about love –
which is so often
just another word
for darkness.


DeMaris Gaunt


To speak of suffering
is to speak of rainbows,
of spectrums,
of a thousand shades—
of infinite degrees of pain.
Yours began as blue
and curved into navy
before it went black.
Even the small bits of white
that gave us hope
dissolved into your dark abyss.
Your mind, your child—
your two brightest lights
could not eclipse the single
hollow circle of the noose—
thin as a sheet
and torn with your final
desperate wish.


DeMaris Gaunt


Most people say the nicest things
when death shocks them into
Every kindness is recalled
and praised and
and a picture of a life begins to form—
sometimes so abstract it becomes
a caricature of goodness
iced with fond nostalgia.

But Beth, your goodness
was divided and delivered
long before I knew you—
before I married your brother—
who promises it wasn’t really you
who called me on the phone that night
when I heard your voice
insult me in slurred
and disapproving tones.

By then, I knew
I’d only ever know you
post-demons, post-vices,
All you had left for me were words
that reduced you to this poem—
which to me, a lowly living poet,
was not an entirely wasted

DeMaris Gaunt