Tag Archives: restraint

Restraint

Our lives expand
like the controlled
stretching of a rubber band
that snaps at the end—
and in between
our beginning and our end
when breath
is taken for granted
there is time
for music and art
and walks in the woods
with pleasant company—
and there are
the regular joys
like sweets and babies
and holiday parties—
even indulgences
that become secrets
to tell your best friend
after you’ve had
a glass or two of wine—
and who doesn’t have
a file of regrets
that have scratched
the shiny surface
of those accomplishments
we made?
Our measured risks
add up to the reputation
we have in our own little circles—
and I’m sure that mine
is sanguine in nature,
and that my vibe
belies my truth—
that I exist on a knife edge
between bravery and cowardice—
and I favor one over the other—
and no one really knows
how often I hold back
or how much—
and restraint is not
what I’ll be
remembered for—
though it should be.

 

 

 

DeMaris
1-11-17

Mountains

Sometimes
you want the mountains
so badly
you have to throw
your car keys across the room
and cover your face
with both of your hands
for an entire minute
and hope you have the will
to walk over to the mantel 
and look at the photo
of your third-grade son
who would become
as unstable as ash
if you decided
you couldn’t wait
another ten years
before you walked out
on every promise
you ever made—
so you stumble through
another day
that isn’t heaven
but is nowhere close to hell—
and you commit
to another decade,
day by day –
knowing your beloved child will,
by then,
have accumulated
his own set of hearts
to start breaking—
and his own gray mountain
looking glorious
in the dark blue distance.

 

 

 
 

DeMaris
Revised 1-10-17

Photograph, Ansel Adams, the Tetons and Snake River, 1942

In the Dark

Oh, you.
You who exist
so flawlessly
in my imagination—
I want to ask you
everything.
I want to walk
into the woods
with you in silence
and return days later
with an understanding
of what it means
to live a holy life
without guilt or gods
or fear of the dark—
which is where
you’d teach me
the correlation
between ecstasy
and restraint—
the way restraint
is the home
of eternal ecstasy—
and the imagined touch
is the only one
we’ll never tire of—
the only one
we’ll never need
to plant or water
or make a place for
in the sun.

DeMaris
12-4-16

Lyrics

Where you are it’s 2 a.m.
and you exist in sleep
six hours apart from me—
on a future date, in fact.
For you, it’s already tomorrow
but I’m stuck here in the past
at 8 p.m. writing a night poem
about your yesterday—
about the way we almost
told the truth
with a code of black letters
on a white screen and through
a thoughtful exchange of music
which is always dangerous
because lyrics can mean
almost anything you want them to
if you want them to—
and I wanted that song
you shared with me to mean
you wouldn’t be the man
to ruin my life—
even though you wanted to.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
11-23-16

 

My Ocean

My favorite days
were those that couldn’t restrain me—
those days I went a little wild
with frustration or love
and blurted out the truth,
which is always a little bit awkward
when restraint
is the most valued attribute
of a female who isn’t outwardly beautiful.
It’s those days that carry me
through the mundane landscape
of my meek and orderly existence.
I prefer the everyday pleasantries
that float into me and away from me
like colorful sailboats on a placid afternoon
but there’s nothing more satisfying
than watching the storm move toward you—
seeing the water darken and swell
in a fit of exasperation.
Sometimes this goes on for hours—
and it seems not even the ocean
can contain it.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
11-23-16

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