Darren C. Demaree: Five Poems

Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.



I believe in the language of salvation.
I believer that language loses certainty
with each decibel it rises. I believe

any sound that shakes the ground
is too dynamic to carry another person
& that realization could save everybody,

could save non-believers, could create
a beautiful unease in every bully’s gullet.
I believe it matters if you cross the river

& it matters less if you can describe
in great detail the ecstatic state you felt
when you reached the waiting arms

of someone who cannot describe
that feeling either. If we must use words
to give faith, can we make them inexact

& quiet. Can we make those words
the symbol for radical, inclusive searching?
Can I tell you a secret? Can I whisper it?





The ribbon of your great, lonesome
ability to be a giant, stomping through
the valley with your tremendous voice,

burying, re-planting humanity beneath
previous burials, mounds of spirit
ground into dust again by your thrusting

tongue. You have arrived at my cheek
with no more than a trail of spittle.
If you had more than volume

& the shuttle-shake of a modern prophet,
bent to out-shout the rattle of progress,
I would listen. I would be tender

with your words, the way I expect you
to be tender with mine. I am not afraid
that the people will hear your voice

over mine. I am petrified by the thought
that what you are saying will waste the tide
we’ve spent years culling from the cosmos.




Intractable twilight, I
was thinking of such 
flux while watching 
the thread of water 
peek out from the 
frozen creek in the 
       Darkened to 
the daughter of each 
season, everything, all 
the time, feels like it 
will never end. 
        It will all end 
in faith, if we believe 
first that our water is 
the first gauge of how 
we treat the ghosts of 
real tide.     Once, 
with good strength, I 
saved a drowning 
child, and I have done 
nothing like that 
since.         I am 
still the man that 
saved the drowning 
child, though my 
strength, my width 
and belief that the 
water gave me the 
child to save, has sank 
back into the rocks.




I was worried for a 
long time about the 
hinge and signs of 
failure, that at some 
point I would just be 
put down, as in 
buried with breath 
beneath the question 
marks of my own 
person, that since I 
had no answers to the 
sustainable questions, 
I deserved to be cast 
below the root 
       We are all 
worried there might 
be hell.
        We are all 
worried about the 
evaluations of the sky 
and those that carry 
us.            I was 
worried for a long 
time, and then I 
wasn’t worried at all, 
as I came to terms 
with the lack of 
ultimate answers.
       My real life 
began when I created 
my own questions.




We see the wings dance.
We hear the un-tempered
songs, fat with everything

& none of us are happy.
We are watching
the experience, waiting

to be filled by it. This regret
has no beautiful lining,
no celestial bargaining

& if we only learn the nevers
of flight, we will be buried
as a dust without wind.

What are you looking for?