Leveler Poetry Journal
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[there’s no place to go]

 

i told my children there’s no place to go wild that isn’t coated in sea-top so they
should head to the sea and find out exactly what it is they can get away with or
give away if they so desire most of desire has ended or began near the tides it’s
horribly beautiful that way so we go every year we go so i can tell my children
there’s no place to go where they can be complete and the acceptance of that
should open them up to the idea that though they are not the ocean they are of
the ocean and they cannot be worn down by what happens on this rock




Darren C. Demaree

[there’s no place to go]: levelheaded

 

In an unpunctuated outpouring of enjambed lines, Darren Demaree’s “[there’s no place to go]” swells with the energy of the ocean. The voice here, however, while recalling delivering an urgent message, is not itself frantic. The tone is measured, a parent imparting wisdom to his children, that wisdom slowly lapping on the shore.

 

Uncoincidentally, the speaker’s advice mirrors the movement of the ocean. When he instructs his kids to visit the ocean to figure out what “they can get away with or give away,” in addition to being reminded of the many ways we as humans might escape or provide, we are also reminded of the tide going out and coming in.

 

Demaree’s colloquial language is fitting because much of the poem is a retelling of the speaker addressing his children. The simple word choice makes the poem feel unembellished. When we arrive at moments like “we go so i can tell my children there’s no place to go where they can be complete,” because we trust the speaker, his brutal honesty is even more devastating.

 

In the final line, the speaker recounts that he brought his family to the sea so his children would be “open” to the idea that “they cannot be worn down by what happens on this rock.” While this is a pleasant wish, there is pain in the delivery. The speaker, having tried to prepare his children to be “of the ocean,” seems himself to have known some hard edges of this battered rock.

 

 

– The Editors