Darren C. Demaree

Step 18: Close Enough to be Masked

Opposite
of a mask

I have,
temporarily,

proven amidst
the spectacle

that I can be
quiet, lowered

& a roaring
human all

& ecstatic
as I am,

the pride
was carried

off with you.
That was

the point.
A million

scenarios
& I want that

to be
the millionth

& the final
one, where

our racing forward
can be done

in victory
of each other

& that carry
forward,

even an inch
past each other’s

shoulders,
is the full

smack
of person

I tethered
to you.

The Wide #1

Green-yellow, the smoke of bolts
in ricochet
& painting by erasure,
the little electrical burns
we’ve all decided to tattoo over
because we have valued shame
more than the ecstatic plunge
of great failure. If you were to fall
would the lengths
that pulled you create actual cliff?
No. Remember, you can have incredible
holes in your person
& be able to plate your whole life
for dinner, but that does not mean
that you will be consumed.

The Wide #3

I admit it,
when I think of grace
I’m actually thinking more
about you
& the continuum
that heralds
the passerby as increasingly
important. I learned
calligraphy so that
my poor handwriting
would be a choice
& so that your legs
would grow amidst
the immediacy
of my attentions.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of five poetry collections, most recently The Nineteen Steps Between Us (2016, After the Pause). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. Currently, he is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Darren C. Demaree

All the Birds Are Leaving  #79

I am learning
more

not to compare
anything

to fruit,
especially time

which arrived
before us,

ripe
& arrived

ready to leave
the vine,

almost an oil
already,

we were born
mid-flight

in a bath
of spoil,

but that’s why
I am learning

to love
everything,

even as it turns
into the smell

of having been.

All the Birds Are Leaving #80

How tremendous
the fury

of the dial
that was turned

many times
before

& that now,
we are counting

as an animal
we can return

to spring
& keep there

forever.
Ding. Let’s

begin again.
This time

was my time
& there is no

cold wine
that can extend

my meal
into the next.

All the Birds Are Leaving #81

Skimming
for depth,
I ate small

parts of time,
tucked them
in my belly

& gave life
to nothing,
but belief

that appetite,
the behavior
of it,

dictates
less than
a mask worn

around
no holiday.
It’s something

to give into
when hands
are seasonal

demons
that shovel
light effort.

Darren C. Demaree’s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including The South Dakota Review, Meridian, The Louisville Review, Grist, and Whiskey Island. He is the author of As We Refer To Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art Nor Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.