Tag Archives: humanity


The childless mother
wants to be alone on Mother’s Day
to stare out the window
into the world she no longer shares
with the little boy, who long ago,
brought her glistening dandelions
bursting from his little brown hand
and decorated her hair
with the yellow joy of life—
treasures collected after a storm
turned the earth to mud.
That day wasn’t Mother’s Day—
but it’s the one she remembers
on the second Sunday each May
when she’d give anything to go back
and withdraw the reprimand
for the traces of mud he left
on his way to make her smile.


DeMaris Gaunt


The printing press.
But long before
there was the wheel
and all those tools
born in fire.
Sharp things first
then bullets and coins—
two devices
with a kind of power
to separate life
from the living
almost as completely
as those pesky
that insist
they are real
and resist amputation.
And even though
some of our
best inventions—
like razor blades
and scissors
could easily cut out
the offending pages
of history
there’s still no technology
to exorcise
that common belief
that we are not
the creators of
every single one
of our capricious gods.




DeMaris Gaunt


I do not
cannot love you
but somehow
I wonder if I do
because here you are again
inflating my heart
with your big ideas
that won’t leave me alone
and you of all people
shouldn’t be surprised by
what goes on in
our uncontrollable
expandable minds
and how many times
have I heard you
talk about sex
and the need for it
and even if you never said
that innocuous word
I’d still be wondering what
it would feel like
to be in your company
with our clothes on
and I’m certain
I’d be drunk with admiration
and unable to speak clearly
or arouse in you
the kind of interest
that would inevitably lead
to both of us naked
in the ocean
of a king size bed
so I’ll just confess
that this heady intoxication
is beyond my control
and means nothing more
than I am a sensitive human
moved by your humanity
so don’t worry
that I’ll disrupt or contact you
because Gerald Stern and I
both know that you must never
fuck the muse
or send them the inspired poems
which drip
with the condensed
and saturated beauty
of all this wanting
and wouldn’t you agree
that the meaning of some words
like love
must be calibrated for
the unexpected
but not unwelcome feeling
of affection that lingers
for an unwelcome
period of time
and makes it so hard
to imagine how
or why I’m so in love with you
when I couldn’t possibly
be in love with you
without reciprocation
or communication
not to mention
the closest we’ve come
to touching is me
reading your mind
which inhabits a fair amount
of real estate
on my bookshelves
so just to prove my love
I’ll make a vow
that I will never
say your name.

DeMaris Gaunt

The Unexpected

(After Watching a Documentary on North Korea) 

there are unexpected pleasures
which appear
in the form of vegetables
on your doorstep—
a gift from your neighbor,
whose surplus
became a kindness
you will want to repay.

Once, we woke in winter
to the noise of another neighbor
pushing his snow blower
up and down our drive,
making it clear
that we live in a small world
covered with goodwill
that grows out of prosperity
and the altruistic
nature of humanity.

An open door
is the contribution of this house.
Children are welcome here
when babysitters get sick
or mothers won’t make it home
before the bus.
Snacks or dinners
or beds are available here
on short notice
without charge.

is easiest
when the streets outside
are clean and unpopulated
with hunger or need—
when every television on your street
offers the illusion of choice
between reality or news
and you have no remote control
to turn it off.


DeMaris Gaunt

Love Letter

My dearest, you are not my first love

or my second, or my third.

But you might be the fourth (or fifth).

I’ll have to give it some thought

and get back to you.

Just remember there were a lot of years

before we met, and even though

you aren’t my first husband

you’re my favorite, by far.

And you’re the best-ever guy

at all the important things

like cooking and doing laundry

and taking out the trash and

I love that we share all those things

fifty-fifty, unless of course

you happen to cook a few nights

in a row and wash the dishes too

if I happen to be busy

playing Candy Crush on my iPone

or stalking old boyfriends

on Facebook.

And you’re so handy around the house

which is so sexy, and I love

that we never have to call a plumber

even though the upstairs toilet

still doesn’t flush unless you hold

that lever down for a minute,

but seriously, we’re saving a buck

and I think it’s worth it

even if we have to spend

an extra sixty seconds of our lives

six times a day waiting to make sure

it all goes down.

Six minutes is a small sacrifice

in the whole scheme of things,

I mean I get to live with you

twenty four hours a day

and sleep next to you for six of them

and holy shit, you don’t even snore

which makes you even more kick-ass

and I know there must be a few ladies

out there who’d love to be me

and get to laugh like I do

at all the funny things you say

and no doubt more than a few

have wanted to snuggle up with you

because you’re so handsome

and you’re the perfect height and weight

and you’ve got the greatest legs

and you can out dance anyone I know

except the contestants on dancing

with the stars, but I don’t really know them

personally, so it doesn’t count, I guess.

And I don’t know any other artist as talented

as you, except maybe the one who

got to paint the Pope for Time Magazine,

and I think you give Elton John

and Lionel Richie a run for their money

when you sit down at your piano

and fill the air with such blissful nostalgia.

And how many other brides

were serenaded at their wedding?

I don’t need you to guess,

the question is rhetorical.

My point is that I know how lucky I am

and I’m really overwhelmed

by how good I’ve got it.

Your abundance of awesomeness

makes it easier to tolerate the fact

that you’re a slob in the bathroom

and that you’ve never cleaned a commode

in all your life, and if it weren’t for me,

there would be sticky shit everywhere

because that’s the way you roll

but it’s okay because you’re the one

who has to do a lot of jobs

that I don’t want to because

I’m just a girl in the world

and I don’t want to pop the hood

and get my hands greasy to check the oil

in our vehicles or shovel snow

in sub zero temperatures,

but you don’t seem to mind.

And I love that you go off to the library

and bring home stacks of nonfiction books

to improve our minds and challenge

our many indoctrinations.

You make life interesting and

fun and you make me proud to be yours

and even though I used to be jealous,

you’ve earned my trust,

even though there was that one time

you lied about where you were

and then there was that incident

in New Hampshire, but it’s been so long

I’ve decided to never bring it up again

and don’t worry, I forgive you

for blurting out during an argument

that you pretty much wanted to bang

every girl who walks and

who is good looking and old enough,

but who can blame you, right?

It’s not like you’re going to do it,

just like I’m not going to bang Steven

even if he wanted to

because I love you, and he’s married

to Rebecca anyway, and I don’t think

she’d approve or give him a pass

even though he probably has the same

lascivious thoughts as you,

and he’d probably want to bang me too

if he thought he could get away with it.

I guess what I’m trying to say

is that you’re my true love

and I think we’ve found a path

through happiness, however narrow,

and if you died, I’d die too

until I decided it was time to move on

and it might take a year or two

or a month or a week

or who knows— I might meet

Mr. Next at your funeral

and he might be there saying goodbye

to his mother or his wife,

supine in the adjacent parlor

and he might have a son who is our son’s age

and the boys might really hit it off and

it might seem like your death

was meant to be and I might

wonder for a minute if god really did exist

and this was his way of saying

“See, it all works out in the end,”

and I’d lie in bed next to my new lover

and cry a few bittersweet tears

because I know this poem

would have made you laugh.




DeMaris Gaunt



Red or brown

it doesn’t matter

what color they are.

They hold the cup

which we fill constantly

to come here—

they take the tokens

and deliver us

to this place

where we float

a little higher

than would be allowed

at breakfast, say,

or lunch—

those milestones

of the day we reach

and jump across

to land in this gauzy room

where our thoughts

can blend with the music

as well as everything outside

these windows—

which look to us

like stained glass—

colorful and distorted,

yet perfectly clear.



DeMaris Gaunt


Along the Lines

If you were one of those

who complained that longer lines

were going to be a problem for you

if the healthcare bill passed into law

the way a child might pass away

if he were uninsured,

come closer.


I want to look deep

into the trinity of your eyes—

the iris, the pupil and the white—

and see for myself if your humanity ends

where your religion begins.


After all, you,

who have paid your tithe

and lived so comfortably

on the soft pillow of coverage

cannot be expected to contemplate

the Lord’s complexity or question

his bestowment of blessings—

You simply accept by faith

that “deserve”

has something to do with it. 


All you know

is that it would be an abomination

if you had to wait an extra week

to see the specialist

or if you missed a tennis lesson at the club

because your appointment

got a fifteen minute bump

into your leisurely afternoon.


Come here.

Stand at the end of the line

and tell me what you see

before you close your eyes.



DeMaris Gaunt