Tag Archives: unrequited love

A Public Place

A public place
is an unfortunate venue
to have the wind
knocked out of you—
to find yourself flattened
after your heart performs
the acrobatic shock and swell
of being caught off-guard
by your brush
with the-never-was
the-not-quite
the-almost-love-of-your-life.
And he sees you
before you can locate
a restroom
or an emergency exit
so you make sure
the smile on your face
appears natural
and that the soul
you don’t believe you have
gives the impression
of being untortured
and maybe even lightweight—
and for the next 10 minutes
you’re on autopilot
watching his mouth move—
the one that kissed you
only once
because one of you
was already married—
and love is bad news
when it has nowhere to go
but into a private cage
now on display
for everyone to see—
and somehow it looks
inconspicuous—
like there was never
a rip or a tear between you.

 

 

 

DeMaris
4-8-18

“Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper, 1942

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

Blood Loss

Please, heart,
stay where you are—
safe in the pocket of air
that surrounds you,
keeps you protected
from the blows
that are small enough
not to break you
but still bruise.

Please, heart,
listen this time—
remember the way it hurt
to beat for love
that was only half
fulfilled, half empty
every time
you pressed against
a foreign rhythm.

Please, heart,
don’t make this mistake—
don’t open your doors
for love
and settle for pleasure
when you know
how much it costs
to come so close
and still bleed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
11-28-17

Quadradic Equation

Lonely
isn’t
being alone
on a cold
November evening
watching the trees
release their orange
confetti
into the wind
and lonely
has nothing to do
with silence
or the dark shadows
that slowly
enter your room
and lonely
isn’t
in the open space
between the stars—
lonely
is the
navigable road
between two houses
it’s the closable
distance
that goes unclosed
lonely
is your otherwise
empty hand
holding
a photograph
of someone
you love
who loved you
not enough
to feel the absence
of your face
as a problem
that needed to be
examined
and solved.

 

 

DeMaris
11-13-17

Meaning

So tempting
to think rain
must mean
god is expressing
emotion,
sharing
in your epic
melancholy—
or the collision
between the semi
and the car
in front of you
means you were
favored
over the two children
who ended up
in the ER—
and the dead
towhee you almost
stepped on
must have been
placed on the trail
as a reminder
of how quick
and unfairly
all this might come
to an end—
and the
coneflower
must possess
all the magic
of the universe
because it leaves you
with the truth
after you pluck
its petals—
“he loves me”
which means
you can ignore
all the other signs
that say he doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-29-17

How it Ends

The photo of you
sitting in a field
of wildflowers
made you seem accessible—
and the picture
of your body
halfway into Mosquito Lake
seemed to indicate
you lived for adventure—
but the joy in your eyes
as you stood on Mt. Rainier
was in fact nontransferable
to life down below
where love waited its turn
for you to find it
as beautiful a destination
as the mangroves
in Costa Rica and now
the Redwoods are calling
and you are almost gone.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-26-17

 

Desperate

I’m not sure if
desperate
is the right word—
maybe that’s too dramatic
for what it means
to wait
to wait
to wait
for my turn
to be relevant
and important enough
to have someone
who claims
to love me
come
when I need him—
and because I ask
for so little
it seems this
small request
could be fulfilled
without a fuss
and maybe even
with a sense of urgency
because time
isn’t on our side—
but it’s becoming clear
I am a convenience
instead of a need
I am a toy
instead of a treasure
and if he doesn’t come
I’ll know
how little I matter—
and desperate
will become the word
I must decide
to live with
or to leave.

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-25-17