The concise, almost cold nature of these poems, and the speaker’s persona, is so stark, it mimics our very own political landscape, in all its deeply unsettling and troubling ways. In this way, these poems could not be more important, or come at a better time. Demaree captures the frightening loss of freedom and stiff standards we face as a culture right now, especially with lines like “They want your name. They want to know why you make love to your wife on Sunday.” I am better for having read this collection. – Joanna C. Valente, author of Marys of the Sea
A Fire Without Light #4
Imagine the outcome is camps. Imagine the outcome is walls around those camps. Imagine the outcome is love shredded by barbwire around those camps. Imagine a fire without light consuming all of us that do not see the light and cannot lie about seeing the light. Imagine I could escape. Imagine I choose to not to. I know what happens in a world like this. I did not think I would have to stop imagining it.
A Fire Without Light #140
I spent a night refusing my bed, refusing to calm down, refusing to be taken deeper into the dark of that night, and refusing to be softened into a gold that could be melded into his crown. I woke up sleeping dogs so they could follow me as I stomped around the ravine. I woke up children so they could eat pancakes with me at 4am. I left my wife asleep, because she’d already stayed up talking to me until after midnight. I called my father and let it ring until, dazed, he picked up the phone. I told him I wasn’t a feather. I told him he was a feather on the wing of a doomed bird. He told me he loved me, and then he hung up. I spent a morning crawling around on the roof of my house. All of the people I loved were safe beneath me, but I needed the whole of winter at that point. I needed to be blanketed in snow, and when I was I could finally sleep. When my neighbors came to their cars to head to work, they shook their heads at me, and I, their collective “Ugh”, welcomed the judgment. I am not right to do things such as this, but I can think of no other role for me. I am too afraid the warmth is one of his tricks, and I am too afraid to spend even one whole minute silent on the issue.
A Fire Without Light #340
The ocean is full of motherfuckers that believed they were the ocean.
A Fire Without Light #672
I’ve been keeping hard candy in my fists. I cannot imagine yet in which way I will use the candy, or which way I will use my fists. I want most of all to buy my children’s love with the sugar stuck to my open palm, but I don’t think I’ll be allowed to do that once I start throwing punches at the establishment. My children will lick my hands as the children of other animals lick their parent’s bodies, and they will get all they can from before they leave me behind. If I do this right they will consume what they need from me before those that first forced my body to crumple in the middle of the Ohio kick me into the creek bed.
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Darren C. Demaree is from Mount Vernon, Ohio. He is a graduate of The College of Wooster and Miami University. He is the recipient of The Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press and The Nancy Dew Taylor Prize from Emrys Journal. Outside of his own poetry, Darren is the founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry, as well the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. Currently, he is enrolled in Kent State University’s M.L.I.S. program, and is living and writing in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and children. A Fire Without Light is his seventh collection of poetry.
Copyright © 2017 Darren C. Demaree
Cover photograph from the collection of Lauren Leja
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.
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