Tag Archives: Secular

Out Loud

Hearing myself speak
to a dear old friend
at the grocery store
about the one I loved
was a revelation—
and pulled out of me a few facts
I’d never heard out loud—
facts like:
I loved him because…
But this…
But that…
We didn’t…
We couldn’t…
and I watched pity
twist her face into a grimace
filled with an empathy
reserved for those
who should know better
than to put all one’s eggs
into one basket—
and because I had a dozen
in my cart as well as
frozen meatballs
and frozen fish,
I thought it best to part
before I let the truth
finish another sentence.
I said, He didn’t want me
to put my life on hold…
but the truth
was finished when the words
he didn’t want me
landed in my ears
and put a fresh sting
into my long dry eyes.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-1-18

“Two Women on the Hillside” by Franz Marc, 1906

 

God Talk

Of all places, a bar
the week after Easter
six women, six men
talking God, talking Jesus
recapping the resurrection
one of the men, of course,
doing most of the talking
and I was so close
I could reach out
and touch his clothes
if I wanted to,
if I wanted to
challenge that faith of his
if I wanted to
ask a few questions
about the mission
god had chosen for him
which was to spread
the Good News like butter
onto this bread of mine
to make sure every unbeliever
knew that an afterlife
was an option
in exchange for reason
in exchange for the kind of
common sense that says
you need to seek forgiveness
from whoever it was
you hurt, injured, or wronged
instead of from a man
who lived and died
fourteen hundred years
before the invention
of the printing press.
So instead of begging
for anyone’s pardon
I head for the door
that leads to a light so bright
it took ten million years more
than just one day to be created
and no one in the world
has ever existed
who I’d ask to pick up
and carry all my burdens
and while they’re at it
pay for my tab.

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-10-18

Scaffolding

I was 12 years old
when Ryan Akers
approached me in the arcade
while I played Centipede.
I tried not to pay attention,
tried to act like I didn’t feel
anything unusual—
as if the new and unfamiliar wish
for him to touch me
was as benign
as anyone’s desire to hold a puppy.
And I don’t remember
a single word he and I exchanged
but I remember the shock
of seeing Lance kiss Amy
in the dark corridor
before we got picked up—
and the next morning in Sunday school
I watched Amy open a Dum-Dum
which she licked with a kind of pleasure
that made me certain
she wasn’t focused on the Book of Joshua
or its heroine, Rahab, the prostitute
who got exactly what she wanted.
Amy’s mind
was on the tip of Lance’s tongue—
and on the tip of mine
were words like sensual and erotic—
words that weren’t yet in my lexicon,
but their meaning was beginning
to take hold
on the scaffolding of my experience,
which wouldn’t include a kiss
from Ryan Akers—
but it was his anatomy
that first led my imagination
to cling to all the possible and varied
expressions of what I can now
identify as love.

 

 

 

DeMaris
3-18-18

Cropped area of “The Love Song” Norman Rockwell, 1926

Experiment

You,
my pretty love,
are an experiment—
you are a pillar
starting out perfect
and I am going
to carve you
with an honesty
so sharp
only diaries and priests
are accustomed
to such
clean cuts
such
unadulterated truths
and I can’t wait
to see if you’re
still standing
after you know
everything
I’ve ever needed
known
and if you might
become something
like a sculpture—
even more beautiful
when parts of you
are whittled
almost to the core—
polished by facts
that no one
is expected to share.

 

 

 

DeMaris
12-4-17

 

 

 

Compass 

Mine
was plastic
orange
inexpensive
with a cord
to go
around
my neck
and it never
seemed
to make it
easier
to find
my way
when I
was lost
while yours
was internal
invisible
instinct
with a
built in
barometer
a feeling
in the air
a trust
you had
that the sun
could be
relied upon
to make
no errors
on its
course
so you
never worried
about
making
a wrong turn
or heading
in the wrong
direction
until
our paths
crossed
and now
we are
navigating
the dark
together
and I’m
hoping
you’ll feel
your heart
quiver
like the
needle
on a
compass rose
as it
gets closer
to mine
searching
for its
true north.

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-15-17

Connecting the Dots

There’s
something beautiful
something human
something
beautifully humane
in the gesture
between one driver
and another
when one is trying
to enter the road
thick with traffic
and the other slows down
to let him in
with a wave that says
it’s okay
I’ll make room for you
because we all
have places to go
somewhere to be
people to meet
and my time isn’t
worth more than yours
and when the stranger
waves back in thanks
it’s like a game
of connect the dots
and if you had
a god’s eye view
you could see how
important it is
to the entire picture
to link and join
as many acts of kindness
as we can.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-16-17

 

 

 

Stop

 

You never think
STOP
when you’re speeding
toward something
beautiful
like a sky full of storms—

all you see
is the lightning
drawing spectacular
designs on the horizon
inviting you closer—

never mind
the pencil is electricity
and to hold it
would be an act of
defiance and stupidity—

all you want
is to feel brave
and unhinged
and there’s no amount
of shock
that will slow you down.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-4-17