Tag Archives: human experience

Conditional Love

What if it came to you broken
but still full of potential?
What if it made you feel
something like comfort
when you held it at arms length
to examine its flaws?
What if the glaze was chipped
and scuffed
and could never be restored
to its original condition?
What if you liked
the way it looked on your shelf
holding your beloved treasure?
Would you keep it on display
or go ahead and break it
because it wasn’t perfectly smooth?

Falling

Parrish Broady—
a boy who hadn’t reached out
to grab my memory
in a long damn time.
But driving fast down 46
I see a truck waiting for its turn
to pull into traffic.
Broady Electric.
Blue letters.
The association begins.
A middle aged man
behind the wheel.
Middle age
never grayed the hair
of Parrish Broady.
Never calloused his soft hands.
Middle age didn’t arrive
with a birthday cake blazing
or a crisis of identity loitering
in his high school yearbooks.
Parrish Broady—
the boy with the strange name—
more haunting
now that he’s gone—
now that I have lived
more than double his short life.
Parrish Broady—
the boy
who must have climbed that tree
a hundred times—
that tree that was finally able
to reach its branches
into the powerlines
like fingers searching blindly
for the switch in a dark room.
And he perished—
the young boy
the son
the little brother
the friend
the beloved and adventurous kid
who must have mistaken
that dark limb for the one
that would keep him
from falling.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-7-18

Scaffolding

I was 12 years old
when Ryan Akers
approached me in the arcade
while I played Centipede.
I tried not to pay attention,
tried to act like I didn’t feel
anything unusual—
as if the new and unfamiliar wish
for him to touch me
was as benign
as anyone’s desire to hold a puppy.
And I don’t remember
a single word he and I exchanged
but I remember the shock
of seeing Lance kiss Amy
in the dark corridor
before we got picked up—
and the next morning in Sunday school
I watched Amy open a Dum-Dum
which she licked with a kind of pleasure
that made me certain
she wasn’t focused on the Book of Joshua
or its heroine, Rahab, the prostitute
who got exactly what she wanted.
Amy’s mind
was on the tip of Lance’s tongue—
and on the tip of mine
were words like sensual and erotic—
words that weren’t yet in my lexicon,
but their meaning was beginning
to take hold
on the scaffolding of my experience,
which wouldn’t include a kiss
from Ryan Akers—
but it was his anatomy
that first led my imagination
to cling to all the possible and varied
expressions of what I can now
identify as love.

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-18-18

Cropped area of “The Love Song” Norman Rockwell, 1926

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

Parking Lot

I erased
all your emails
that were delivered
to my impatient
inbox
every morning
with love
and a photo
of what no one else
would see
and when I
put them in the trash
I knew I’d have 30 days
to change my mind
to recover
these messages
punctuated
by emojis and hearts
and images
that caused
a tiny explosion
inside my heart
but sitting here in
the parking lot
with your last smile
in my hand
I am going for broke
I am emptying
the recycle bin
I am wiping away
the year
from my cheeks.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-29-17

 

Anger Management

I don’t
want to calm down
don’t want to cope
with this disappointment
this anger
that’s on me
in me
around me
for what feels like miles
and I don’t want
to walk out from under it
escape it
stop it
end it
push it back
no
it can stay as long as it likes
long enough for me
to hold it
examine it
study its origin
its source
the way it tightens
then loses its grip
and always disappears.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
9-14-18

Photo by Ansel Adams