Tag Archives: Poetry

Men

I know exactly
how many of them
are out there
who would come
right now
if I called them
and they would happily
undress me
fuck me
with tenderness
and maybe even love me
but I am wasted
for another
for the one that ruined me
for the one that has never
had me
felt me
been close enough
to make me come
to my senses
and he is out there somewhere
like a cowboy
sleeping on the ground
wishing
hoping
wondering why in the world
I am so far away
and wondering
who it is
who gets to hold me tonight
and even though
I know exactly
how many men
are out there
who would come
right now
if I called them
the only one I want
is the one who knows
when to pull the trigger
and when to wait.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-16-18

“The Parkman Outfit” by NC Wyeth

Street Corner

It’s 10:50 a.m.
and no calls are coming in
from employers
needing my un-degreed skills
to wash dishes or make beds
or sell shoes
or dispatch emergency vehicles
or cash paychecks—
and I haven’t had a payday in a while
but there’s still food
in the fridge and in the pantry
and the electricity hasn’t
been disconnected
and even though
I was only half-joking
with my ten-year-old when I said
I hope I can pay the bills this month
his decade on this planet
has been sufficient
for him to understand poverty
and to cause in him enough anxiety
to suggest we find some cardboard
and make a sign for me to hold
on the street corner
and he didn’t understand
why I said I would never do that
and I told him about pride
and he told me he’d rather me lose it
than the house we just moved into
and I told him that would be a last resort
and now it’s 11:00 a.m.
and I’m thinking about
that cardboard box in my closet
full of my childhood dreams
that could be emptied out
and repurposed with the irony
of a black permanent marker.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-16-18

“Migrant Mother” by Dorthea Lange, 1936

Without Light

Desperate,
you almost reach out.
You almost make the call
that would undo
the tight little knot
you made
with the loose ends
that have been dragging
behind you
like the dead weight of love
after it can’t stand up straight—
so you leave the house
after dark
without a lifeline
without a light
hoping that when
you get back home
you’ll see him there
you’ll hear his voice—
and once again, you’ll glow.
But this is desperation,
and everyone knows
that nothing good
nothing you need
comes in this shape or size—
and nothing but the grave,
cold and forever,
is going to erase this need.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-14-18

 

Waiting

Like a prisoner
in a cell
I live in my imagination
because I can’t
walk into the world with you—
but in my mind
my dreams can make love
to my favorite memories
and for a moment
I exist in a kind of paradise
of happiness past—
that first night
around the campfire
where we celebrated life
with shooting stars
made of toilet paper rolls
and laughed so hard
the owls were beginning
to feel annoyed
and asked us
who who who
do you think you are
and in that moment we knew
exactly how to answer—
and nights like this
when I fall apart
in the absence of your love
I wonder
if I’ll ever see you again
and I begin to wonder
how many others
have loved so deep
they would walk
in opposite directions
with full faith
that they would meet again
on the other side of the barbed wire—
and by then
nothing
would be standing in their way.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-14-18

Photo by Wilma Birdwell

Simple Math

Don’t go. Go.
Touch me. Don’t touch me.
Simple math
says it doesn’t make sense
to keep adding
and subtracting
the same things
if what I want
is to change
the way we live
the way you love me—
and by now
you must be so confused
when I walk away
for a crime so small
it would be funny
to those couples
who already know
that commitment
is the key to longevity—
but your love is risk averse
rationed
measured out
as if to give me more
would divide you
diminish you
reduce you to half
of a whole—
so what can I do
but go back to my own house
and quietly close
all the doors I left
standing wide open
for you.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-10-18

“Bedroom” by Vilhelm Hammershoi, 1890

Perfect Love

My granddaughter
puts on her father’s t-shirt
before bed
on this night the whole family
has gathered
in a hotel for the weekend
and when I see her dance
and twirl and laugh
when she sees that the hem
nearly touches the floor
I am 3 again
and for the first time
in over 40 years
I remember what it felt like
to wear that kind of love
like a gown.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-9-18

“First Steps (After Millet)” by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

 

 

 

Sweet Potatoes

Funny—
I don’t know
if they are a fruit
or a vegetable
or a tuber
or something else entirely
because they look
almost alien
like something
too imperfect
to have been born
in the earth—
but there they are
covered in mud
like a newborn
covered in blood—
ugly pink skin
over flesh so tough
it takes a blade
full of serrations
to cut to the root
of the mystery—
which is that the god
of sweet potatoes
doesn’t care
that they aren’t beautiful
or tender
or easy
to consume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-9-18