Tag Archives: failure

Bearable Things

There are so many
bearable things
like stepping out of bed
at 6 a.m.
into comfortable slippers
and trying to fall asleep
again at midnight
and failing
because you have a mind
that likes to play
in the dark alleys
of the wrong parts of town
and even when you aren’t
in the comfort
of the horizontal position
there are so many things
that are just okay
and nothing out there is
demanding your attention
or threatening your life
and the work
is steady enough
to order takeout without guilt
and still buy those boots
you saw in the window
even though
they didn’t have your size
and you were certain
it would be alright
because they were beautiful
and they would stretch
to accommodate
your need for them
which has been your approach
to almost everything
and might even be why
you said yes
on that occasion long ago
when there was just a tiny pinch
of uncertainty
but you convinced yourself
there was no such thing
as a perfect fit.


DeMaris Gaunt

How We Get Here


Several years before my birth
my mother said I do
to a man she would never love
as much as the one who came and went
before him—
a man who worked for her father
chopping meat in the family grocery store—
taller than my dad, with dark curly hair
and an age that carried too many numbers
to be an acceptable match.
And he would never get her parent’s blessing
because his ears didn’t work like everyone else’s
and when he spoke there were whispers
and giggles and sideways glances.
But they ran away together, overnight,
when she was only 17
and when she told me this, I was 30,
which is how old he was then– that young man
who loved her not enough to absorb
the temporary wrath of her family
for what they’d done—
that young man who wouldn’t listen
to his heart, or hers.
He was fired, of course, then moved away.
So here I am—
the result of a failure of nerve—
the result of a lost love, and then a half love.
And this is how most of us get here.


DeMaris Gaunt


You wonder sometimes
how you make it this far
into the day
after the rejection letters
arrive in your mailbox
because the New Yorker
didn’t want your poetry,
and neither did the
American Poetry Review—
and it feels as if rejection
is your life sentence
because you could paper
a cell with these envelopes—
heck, you could paper it
with the stamps you buy
instead of that whiskey,
which you decide will
be your next purchase—
and the perfect consolation


DeMaris Gaunt


Narcoleptic Daydream

Everything you do
seems like a step
in the right direction
as you lift your foot
or your hand
or your heart
toward motivation –
and even though
you always end up here
in the same kind of
stifled narcoleptic
afternoon, you try
to believe that one day
you’ll accomplish
at least one or two
of the things
that keep pulling you
into that daydream
that always comes
between you
and the actual work
you must do to
become something
more than this.


DeMaris Gaunt