the things we learn we can’t talk about.
I was in seventh grade
when I first wondered about this word,
a word that even then,
I knew was taboo.
Before the meaning was clear
I knew I wasn’t allowed to seek an explanation
from the science teacher
or my parents or my pastor,
so I whispered the question
to a gathering of friends, both boys and girls,
some giggling, some dumbfounded,
but I went home with an answer
burning in my body—
that pleasure I’d already discovered
now had a name.
How unfair and unfortunate this private
satisfying act couldn’t be glorified—
that its meaning has always been synonymous
with dirty, forbidden, bad—
as if desire was something foreign
and unforgivable
to those of us without a partner to lay us down.
But self-denial isn’t a virtue
and self-control
doesn’t extinguish the fires
that begin to kindle before you ever take a lover—
and rage on, long after your lover is gone.



“Day Dream” Andrew Wyeth, 1980

Published by demarisgaunt

I currently live in Greenwood, Indiana. I love to listen to music, books on CD, podcasts or NPR as I work in my studio.  My favorite artists are Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I love poetry, but only the good stuff that isn’t so abstract I can’t understand it. Abstraction better lends itself to visual art, I think. Stephen Dunn is my favorite poet. He’s said just about anything that can be said about the inner workings of the heart and mind. My favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My all time favorite band is The Cure. I love science, and anything that relates to how the mind works. I don’t believe in the supernatural. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker. If you don’t buy my art or read my poetry, buy one of their books. It will enrich if not change your life.  My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and camping. My favorite food is so common, I’ll keep you in suspense (It starts with a P). I prefer chocolate to vanilla. Green is my favorite color. I have an aversion to planning or scheduling of any kind, and I live for spontaneous adventures! Telephone conversations make me anxious, and I avoid them at almost all cost. I had a happy childhood. I’m having a pretty fantastic adulthood. I have every intention of seeing my 100th birthday, after which I will happily relinquish my guts to the future of medicine. Cheers! ~DeMaris

2 thoughts on “Masturbation

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