Tag Archives: future

Deep Winter

You are winter.
Stripped down
to necessity
but not quite barren.
Still beautiful.
I’d even say exquisite.
But mostly
your warmth
isn’t enough
to penetrate
what is cold in me
and even though
I long
for summer
I find it impossible
to believe
that once it wraps me
in its blue skys
I won’t long
for you.







you want the mountains
so badly
you have to throw
your car keys across the room
and cover your face
with both of your hands
for an entire minute
and hope you have the will
to walk over to the mantel 
and look at the photo
of your third-grade son
who would become
as unstable as ash
if you decided
you couldn’t wait
another ten years
before you walked out
on every promise
you ever made—
so you stumble through
another day
that isn’t heaven
but is nowhere close to hell—
and you commit
to another decade,
day by day –
knowing your beloved child will,
by then,
have accumulated
his own set of hearts
to start breaking—
and his own gray mountain
looking glorious
in the dark blue distance.




Revised 1-10-17

Photograph, Ansel Adams, the Tetons and Snake River, 1942


The now
is hardly ever where we are.
We can be found
at most times
in the future—
planning the outcomes
of imaginary encounters
with those bodies we’d like to
acquaint ourselves with
after we exhausted the use
of our minds—
which so easily forget
that one day
the past is the only place
we’ll have to live,
and it’s best to leave it tidy
and pure.




National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ~ 1-800-273-TALK(8255)

You’ve memorized the phone number
even though it’s only been three days
since things went south—
since it was made clear to you
how much better things would be if only
you were someone else.
If only you didn’t cause so much embarrassment
by posting so often on Facebook.
If only you’d stop asking everyone
if they were comfortable and warm enough—
and what the fuck are you doing
posting your shitting poetry online?

You don’t know how to sleep now
with your head full of hot fizz and pressure
like a vice grip squeezing you into knots.
The fetal position isn’t what it used to be,
and neither is this life you’d been enjoying
so well until now—
this moment you realize your heart
is hacked up on the light beige carpet,
almost out of reach.
And the phone is a tool that could pry open
the darkness of your despair, but—
the battery dies because you’re the kind of person
who doesn’t prepare for the future—
and all of a sudden you no longer have one.


DeMaris Gaunt

Photo Credit:
Dean Rogers


It starts in your lungs.
Those two cages of breath
unwilling to unlock the door
for any entrance or escape
of air or comfort or ease.
So I sit on the bed beside you
plugging you in to a face mask
and tubes which coax open
those stubborn balloons
with the help of a vapor
squeezed from a vile.
Your friends next door
and across the street have
taken the bus to school
where they will learn about
numbers and our strange language
which has no word for the
kind of daily prolonged fear
that some mothers have
of their children dying
in hospital beds or outside
in the parking lot having
underestimated the speed
at which a small body might
deflate if the mother, say,
takes too long in the bathroom
or runs downstairs to refill her mug.
We are prisoners in different cells,
you and I.  Yours collapses
and mine inflates with every breath
you struggle to take.
This time it ends well
in a hospital bed where it only took
a few hours to correct the numbers
on the screen – those vital signs
that say it’s okay for you to go home
and take it easy until next time,
which we can bet will happen soon,
and then, if you are lucky enough
to grow up into a world
that has improved its
inadequate lexicon
to include a word for
the prolonged daily fear of mothers,
then you’ll understand
how relieved I’ll be when you call
in the middle of a future night, in tears,
and tell me it’s only your heart
that’s broken.

DeMaris Gaunt