Tag Archives: Secular Poetry

No One Is Going To Die

You are friendless
on a night
it would be helpful
to have someone intervene
and interrupt your sorrow
and take away the bottle
that is almost as empty
as your heart—
so all you can do
is pretend you see a light
at the end of this dark tunnel
where he waits for you
the man who could erase
your tears just by existing
a little closer
to where you are








I want too much
after I thought
I’d convinced myself
to enjoy
he gives me
which is all he can give
because he’s giving
to her too
and why should I
want more
than his love
which he promised
is mine
even though
she gets his bed
and his time
and his considerate lies
to keep her heart
from breaking
the way mine
is breaking
I know
what she doesn’t know—
that neither of us
will ever have him






What You Will Pay For

Months in advance you put in for the time off.
You book the flight, hotel – the rental car.
It doesn’t have to be Europe or exotic.
It can be Vegas or that Grand Canyon
that many have fallen into by accident or on purpose.
All you want is to stand on that edge of anticipation
for as long as you can.
It doesn’t matter that the beach
won’t look like the pictures
or that the accommodations you can afford
will fail to overwhelm.
You already know that absolute happiness
is impossible wherever you stand—
that you are the wrong end of a magnet
unable to make a connection.
Joy is an achievement of your mind as it hovers
above the pillow before you go to sleep.
It isn’t the view from the mountaintop
or the taste of fresh lobster
that will make your trip worth the exchange
of a paycheck or two.
The sweet pleasure of longing is the prize.
The delicious expectation, prolonged and satisfying—
this is what you wanted.
For this, you would pay almost anything.


In the Dark

Oh, you.
You who exist
so flawlessly
in my imagination—
I want to ask you
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.



There seems to be
something missing most days—
and I know
it isn’t Steven Pinker
who I’ve loved so completely
unrealistically these past few years—
but it feels like a similar void.
Like something could actually fill me
or complete me
if I could locate the vacancy—
but it won’t hold still long enough
for me to identify the need
or the solution.
So I return to my reliable
if not enthusiastic lover
for what amounts to necessity
if not love—
and we become to each other
the stepping stone – the wish
the body of someone else
we know will never
touch the vacancy we keep
for them—
and only for them.




DeMaris Gaunt



My Nature Poem


I am ready to confess
that no one
has held me captive
inside their flesh—
in between the heat of arms
and chest and chin
in such a way
that I wanted never to escape.
And I will also confess
that to find myself
in such a place
is a desire so constant
it seems it’s all
I’ve ever wanted.


DeMaris Gaunt


After Party

We were all there
gathered in the bar
some of us dancing
all of us drinking it in—
the high of the past two days—
that Festival of Dangerous Ideas
making it possible
for us to meet in public
for the first time
even though you seemed familiar
as my favorite pair of jeans
and when it was time to part
you insisted on walking me
to my hotel which was not far
and not far enough
because somehow our arms
became linked as we walked
and I didn’t want to disconnect
from your warmth
and your smell—
and when you pulled me into you
under the neon NO VACANCY sign
I heard you whisper
What do we do now?
and I reminded you
that you were married—
and you reminded me
that I was too,
and by that time
it started to rain with a kind of
fervor that felt like a blessing
from one of those forgotten gods
who still had something to prove.

DeMaris Gaunt