Tag Archives: life

Filter

The filter is on
and love is squirming
twisting
trying to say
what it feels
like it needs to say
but I am the gatekeeper
who decides
how much
should be revealed
and I have one finger
on the trigger
one foot on the gas
another finger
over the barrel
and one heel
about to catch fire
from all this friction
all this dragging
all this restraint
that is supposed
to save me
from embarrassment
and the sudden
doe-eyed expression
on my face
that contains
every truth I can
never say.

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-2-17

Painting by Vilhelm Hammershoi, public domain

Cancer Center

The waiting room
is without warmth—
grays and blues
and faces
lined with concern
sallow with fear
some of them
seeking answers
some of them
wringing their hands
with a knowledge
they hope
to radiate away
and it’s hard to tell
the difference
between
the body language
of the sick
and those
who are writhing
uncomfortably
waiting
for their loved one
to become a ghost.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-19-17

 

Ghost

It’s you again
keeping me awake
keeping me from sleep—
that place I no longer dream of you.
It’s not that I’m annoyed— no.
I’m never bothered by your visits
or the way you distract me
or interrupt my task.
What worries me is the way
you dissolve over time—
the way you leave me
alone more often now.
I have loved to be lost
in the comfort of your memory
but I fear one day
I will forget to remember you.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
9-12-16

Candy Bar

There’s nothing wrong today
so I drove to the dollar store
for a king size candy bar
which I ate entirely by myself
in five minutes or less—
and even though I’d never do
such a thing if I were sober,
I felt like I deserved some sort
of reward for living through
a perfectly mundane afternoon
which could only be improved
by risking the life of everyone
on the road for a chocolate bar
filled with caramel, and make it
back home in time to read
a bedtime story to a kid whose
existence is the sole reason
I haven’t yet found myself
trading in my boredom for
the west coast roads that drip
into the ocean like they can’t
make up their mind if they want
to offer you a view of the edge
or tempt you to drive off of it.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
5-2-16

Water

Sometimes it’s rain
or the swimming pool
in your neighbors backyard.
Often it’s the size
of a river in the little cup
beside your bed
which you accidentally
knock over in the night
as you adjust your pillow.
With unmistakable transparency
you know it wants you back—
luring you to the warm ocean
of a bathtub
where it could drown you dead
if you slipped under
and agreed to recycle yourself—
returning to its possession
most of what you are.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
1-30-13

 

The Unsaid

This is what writer’s block looks like:
A woman sitting in a chair,
still thinking of herself as a girl—
as someone with more tomorrow’s
than yesterday’s.

And because she doesn’t know if this is true,
there is an urgency to say it all.  Everything.
To shock herself by writing down
those things she wants known
but shouldn’t risk saying.

There are so many others she depends on
who might withdraw their respect
or their love if they knew
what she was capable of thinking.
And so she sits for a long time, considering.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
10-11-15

Image:
Vincent van Gogh

Priorities

Things should be done
in order of importance
which means I should exit this room
and enter a state of reflection
before picking up the phone
to offer my condolences
on the death of a certain someone.
After that dreaded
and obligatory task
I should make a few more
phone calls that reinforce my love
to those too far away
to invite to dinner
or to drop in on unexpectedly
on a Sunday afternoon.
But things are never done
in the order of their importance
which is why I’ll just sit here a little longer
watching the sky darken
and descend into shadow
before I go to bed.
I want to cross something simple
off my list, which keeps getting longer
the longer I stare at this page.
The houseplants, for days,
have been thirsty.
They are still alive
and I watch them bow to my power.
The watering can is patient
in the mud sink.
There’s no reason in the world
I can’t fill the goddamn thing with water,
and restore the wilting leaves—
except that it reminds me
how easy it would have been
to make a phone call last week
to someone who will never again
be picking up the phone.

DeMaris Gaunt
8-23-15