Tag Archives: Humanism


When I was in love,
when I was madly in love
I knew it wouldn’t last—
that there would be
an explosion,
an after—
I knew what I felt
was temporary
but it felt like something
and significant
even if it only meant
that I was human—
that I could feel everything
I was supposed to feel
even at this age
even in the middle of my life
even halfway to death
or maybe only a day
away from it—
when I was in love
there was no limit
to what I’d do to please
to satisfy, to elevate, indulge—
there was no fear that I could
give it all away—
but love began to
take take take
as I gave gave gave
and what love left
is a permanent pattern of holes
that collect and store
the constellations of joy
that now
feel light years away.







was plastic
with a cord
to go
my neck
and it never
to make it
to find
my way
when I
was lost
while yours
was internal
with a
built in
a feeling
in the air
a trust
you had
that the sun
could be
relied upon
to make
no errors
on its
so you
never worried
a wrong turn
or heading
in the wrong
our paths
and now
we are
the dark
and I’m
you’ll feel
your heart
like the
on a
compass rose
as it
gets closer
to mine
for its
true north.





Connecting the Dots

something beautiful
something human
beautifully humane
in the gesture
between one driver
and another
when one is trying
to enter the road
thick with traffic
and the other slows down
to let him in
with a wave that says
it’s okay
I’ll make room for you
because we all
have places to go
somewhere to be
people to meet
and my time isn’t
worth more than yours
and when the stranger
waves back in thanks
it’s like a game
of connect the dots
and if you had
a god’s eye view
you could see how
important it is
to the entire picture
to link and join
as many acts of kindness
as we can.










Of all the poems I’ve written, this one is probably my favorite. It reflects the many times I’ve contemplated the death of my youngest, who has various health problems. I often wonder if it might be offensive. No doubt some mothers won’t agree with the sentiment here. But I see life as beautiful not because it’s smooth and easy (it’s mostly that), but because it can be so damn hard. And how happy would you be if your heart had never been broken, scattered and rearranged?  Have a listen.


Speed Limit

Going the speed limit
it takes ten minutes
to get to the hospital
and in the car
with you on my lap
it felt like twenty
and the simple directions
on the side of the Epi-Pen
were written in English
which might as well
have been another language
as foreign as the doctor
who saw in my eyes
the universal fear
that transcends words
when a child is in peril
this time
after eating a peanut butter cookie
camouflaged in white chocolate
as thick as the conversation
at the Christmas party
where your father and I
were the only ones
who didn’t believe in god
and when we took you home
hours later
we put you to bed
and lay awake taking
about how grateful we were
to all those people who worked
to save your life
with all that
accumulated information
in their brains
and those inventions and machines
that took years to develop
and test
and then your father sighed deeply
before turning out the light
and said into the darkness
how amazed he was
that we got to the hospital
in under five minutes.
“Miracle,” I said
and he agreed.


DeMaris Gaunt

Dear DeMaris

You know this won’t last.
Every time the colors
run together and darken
you forget how important
the color black is
for creating shadows
that cradle the light—
and I wish you wouldn’t
struggle so long to smooth
out your brushstrokes.
Who said you need
to blend in every color
with the next?
Just leave it alone
and return tomorrow
after sleep—
and don’t be surprised
if that slash of purple
from the ear to the mouth
is the detail that breathes
life back into the pale
green watering eyes.


DeMaris Gaunt

Message in a Bottle

This is one of those poems
that should never be released
into the small world
until it becomes large enough
to have made a comfortable place
for the people who live quietly
in the anchored silence
of propriety and decorum—
who will never admit how easily
the mind drifts into other waters
surrounding other continents.
And the bottle of red wine
at the holiday party is as close
as some people will get
to navigating certain shores
in search of what they hope
is a mayday or the faintest SOS.


DeMaris Gaunt