a child walks in the dark – poems – Darren C. Demaree

a child walks in the dark / poems, Darren C. Demaree / Small Harbor, 2021


Holy with intention, Darren C. Demaree’s a child walks in the dark is a non-performative piece of displayed belief and an unbroken speaking of the telling world. Poems here are remnant doings, and each month is a faith. Demaree tells a son, tells a daughter, tells them both, and in the saying, another thing is built inside the thing built to fall. Memory has to start somewhere, myth is a myth, and the children are long. The verse here is gentle, protected by wonder and worry and wager, but it is not safe. In one breath, there is blueprint, and in that same breath, there is something unsold from the museum of cold weather that must be described correctly in order to be seen by both the young and by the architect of their forgetting.


reflection by Barton Smock


book info is HERE


{ Unfinished Murder Ballads – poems – Darren C. Demaree }

Unfinished Murder Ballads
poems, Darren C. Demaree
w/ photo accompaniment of Ryan Barker’s ‘Midwest Nostalgia’
Backlash Press (2020)


The premise of blood is a color.
-from The Facts Persisted

On the occasion that flood brings you a painted body, know that I had everything to do with it…
-from The Cage Is Unwound By The Poetry Of Death

As if hiding in Eden after hearing a pop-gun, the poet Darren C. Demaree makes short work of vast vision in his Unfinished Murder Ballads, a collection of implanted cares and layered addictions as played for those still awake inside the cinema of the abrupt. Whether ashes or trailings, Demaree finds the evaporated clue and spirits it toward the character actor whose family feels abandoned by exit. Nothing in this meditation overstays, and at times it seems that words are at a loss for people. If the verses here make their first impressions hoping to access the fractured archive of impulse survival, the bodies that said verses nourish know, or pretend to know, that paranoia has only one hand. Water helps vacancy find a vein, and water goes everywhere baptism is not. Poison is the shortest story, and paint protects the frostbitten. A pair of bicycle legs dreams submergence, and a camera dreams god. Not everything comes to pass, but in the etching of this death music, in the crooked humming of shared worship and separate goal, a stillness is reached. Vignette is no small church.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here

{ Nude Male with Echo – poems – Darren C Demaree }

Nude Male with Echo
poems, Darren C Demaree
8th House Publishing, 2019


When I am mirrored,
I touch the mirror; that is my problem. #55

These entries of retraceable paucity, as they exist in Darren C. Demaree’s Nude Male with Echo, are funny, critical, and curious and may add years to a past life that’s revised its timeline to longer crowd-surf the silent audience. Both a broken actuality and a puzzled baring, the work is a triumph of constant brevity and a sanctuary of purpose for any person who’s closed a circle while knowing their loneliness is up for renewal.

Could it be I am
an apple in the river
& I will never be
eaten? #181

Being naked is not something one can practice, not something one can perfect, but Demaree is a tenderly invisible journalist whose reportage records equally the shy swallowing in a museum of water and the overlooked vision that watches as sight draws a bath for the washer of its glass eye.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

{ publications by former contributors }

Rebecca Kokitus, Velvet Offering (APEP Publications):

Velvet Offering


work at {isacoustic*}:


Darren C Demaree, Nude Male With Echo (8th House Publishing):


work at {isacoustic*}:


David Spicer, Tribe of Two (Seven Circle Press):


work at {isacoustic*}:


Mela Blust, Skeleton Parade (APEP Publications):

Skeleton Parade


work at {isacoustic*}:


George Salis, Sea Above, Sun Below (River Boat Books):


work at {isacoustic*}:


{ Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire – poems – Darren C. Demaree }

Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire
poems, Darren C. Demaree
Harpoon Books 2019


If god were here, above this pool in backyard Ohio, I think he’d write with wasp. I say this as the imagined part-owner of a disembodied worry as gifted to any who might look up from Darren C. Demaree’s Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire and feel a sort of third-wheel holiness in the running of a blood that sobers itself alongside Demaree’s converging of absence with artifact. As partnership may absolve loneliness of secretly playing tag and as shadow makes a lost feast for long animals, Emily, like inclusion, is untouchable. Using simile as bait for metaphor, and metaphor to say in the same breath both pain and paint, this verse fishes compass from the ashes of emergence. These are love, or better yet, loved, poems, but no phrasing here brackets tenderness as a search engine. If it’s true that muse is a trapdoor, Demaree upends discovery and makes of minimalism the handprint that trespass uses to contextualize and de-center worship that it might erase the hand and lure from fantasy the have-not of an only dream.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

Bombing The Thinker – poems – Darren C Demaree

Bombing The Thinker
poems, Darren C. Demaree
Backlash Press, 2018


It must be terrible
to be all root
all the time,’ – {from} Not Crop, Not Husk

I’d take a weapon. I’d use it
in a war or near a war. I just
want to watch the little bugger

eat through a quiet person.’ – {from} A Damaged Thinker #78

Tender, overwhelmed, and necessary, Darren C. Demaree’s Bombing The Thinker is act, rumination, emission, and place. A work that, after its instruction, one may ask why it matters that our messengers be alive. In it, or from it, Demaree re-petals the flower of discourse surrounding the 1970 vandalism of Rodin’s The Thinker in Cleveland, Ohio, that left the sculpture with a wounded base. Keep reading- this book transcends the heaven of concept and the hell of novelty. Demaree is an archivist of urgency, an acolyte of engagement, who, with an anxious clarity, and for the deeply frantic, draws from puzzle piece the missing scar. Conclusion ends nothing, and these entries mark the heel of any angel made heavier for its inquiry into the origins of finality. If too often the witness we bear is custom made for that which our projected histories advertise as clearing space, and if creation continues to provide an alibi for assault while claiming to have no past, I’d offer that the gift of attention in this book may return both rib and feather to those dreaming of their proximity to liftoff while listing what they’d do for a glimpse of gaze. There is a stillness in the small ask of this work, and I think a quiet that clones the non-existent raisers of movement, and if I haven’t seen cruelty correctly, I can at least give my eyesight a before and after. Art is an error worth covering for.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

Two Towns Over – poems – Darren C. Demaree

Two Towns Over
poems by Darren C. Demaree
Trio House Press, 2017

*Winner of the 2017 Louise Bogan Award


Nobody tosses
out the drugs

of the dead.
That’s not how
this works. – {from} Monroe Mills, Ohio

Darren C. Demaree, in his book Two Towns Over, blesses a cursed Ohio with a populace whose touch is fighting an infection.

I know this Ohio…I know what it’s like to step over the shadow of one’s ghost…to lay low so as to give death nothing to leap from. To jump rope in hell. Demaree points to places made for map that have instead gone on to shoulder nowhere, from bunk bed to basement, looking to be housed.

Each entry, each poem, is an abruption, an angry rendering of those hypnotic recognitions that ask the present for the past and the past for the present that there may be a future locating of the hiccup lost to the moan of exile.

The title alone howls a human proximity over the work’s body to which ash is the salt of context. What is the purpose of show and tell if it is merely a prop for cause and effect, and why dream if even those in the mirage are thirsty? Answer is an act, and the writing here allows inquiry its melancholy passage through the museums of the ahistoric and positions itself as a headlight in the gut of any cyclops livestreaming the ideas dangled below the drowned. There are churches, here, and drugs. But there is no here here. Eternity has left to play the long game and most congregate as an avoidance raised on erasure.

I grew up in Ohio on what I called with my brothers a farm but what was really the shell of a farm. No animals, and noiseless machines towering above the broken and statuesque. We would joke that we were the only farm boys in Ohio who couldn’t use their hands. All jokes are serious, and no one is alone.

To hold this book, with its odes to the corners of drug houses, its sweet wolves, and its towns skipped over by sameness, is to return the clay its handmade hope. And to realize, that to be correctly dead, one must have belongings.


review by Barton Smock


more info:

person Darren C. Demaree, three poems

Darren C. Demaree is a writer whose poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear, in numerous magazines/journals, including Diode, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and The Colorado Review.

He is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently ‘A Fire Without Light’ (2017, Nixes Mate Books). His eighth collection ‘Two Towns Over’ was selected as the winner of the Louise Bogan Award by Trio House Press, and is scheduled to be released in March of 2018.

Darren is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He lives with his wife and children in Columbus, Ohio.



There is a patch of cells
in the back of my mind
that knows the actual
truth of Emily, all of it,
the names, the transfer
into bottles, the names
& the yellow, all that
yellow we code-named
“bird-watching”, that bit
of time when neither
of us fit into the milk crate
our love had given us.
At my best, I find the small,
weird portions of her
& I stuff them into words
that mean so little she
becomes the abstract
I need her to. Her process
is different. I am some-
one else in her heart, I am
a good man when she
remembers my name.
I wish she would call me
by my whole name,
but that, that, that, that
would trigger something
I’d have no words for.



I can live in the crook
of her elbow. I can gasp
with each bending

moment. I can sing
to her authority over me.
I would love it

if she could make me
smaller than I am now,
so I could fit

in the caps of one of her
teeth. How lovely
it would be to make

a nest inside a place
destined to be
ruined by her casual bite.



We are in our third incarnation. We have
been less-than twice already. If we want
to be more than this we will have to kill
both of our old selves. We will have to carry
nothing forward. We could be even more
of a dedication. We could become a painting.
Never doubt our expansionist tendencies.
There is a trail of bodies behind both of us.