In My Ohio

​On 2015 and the Loss of Fear

Darren C. Demaree
​Next year I’m going to turn thirty-four; that’s old enough to carry real weight in the world, and still young enough to be daring with that weight when the opportunity presents itself. I have a great many things to protect, and a great many things I still must earn to settle down any part of my ecstatic nature. I want to accomplish something tangible, something creative and expansive, and in order to do that I cannot possess the balking moments of my past, those moments when I waited to be shown the way, and proceeded slowly even after I had been given the steps of advancement.
In 2015, to lose what’s left of my fear I must be alert, strong, and smart enough to know when to dart and when to stand pat. If I’m going to be of any use to my family, and to Ohio there cannot be the weight of ego or any worry about the development of my name. You cannot be strength if you are worried about what that strength will be called.
This pursuit must be done with prostration still in the forefront of my activities. The goals must be for the “other”, for other people still finding their footing. This coming year I want to have shoulder flush to the fight for marriage equality to finally come to Ohio. I want to run with the poems I’ve written about John Kasich (The Pony Governor series), and continue the dialogue about the things he is trying to do to Ohio. I want to keep talking to the children of Ohio about what poetry and the arts can do to enhance their lives for the long term. I want to have my other shoulder firmly against the expansion of the gun laws in Ohio.
Both in my writing (poetry, etc.) and in my spare time I feel like for the first time in my life I have actual strength to use for the betterment of Ohio, and I would be a foolish coward if I didn’t at least try to work some of my best tethers into those good fights. My children are getting old enough that they’ve started to ask me questions about what it is I’m writing, and what it is I’m working on. I need to be able to tell them it’s something worthwhile.
So, without writing down a long list of idealistic, unobtainable goals, consider me in the fray for the foreseeable future. I had my heart touched by the recent signing by the Governor to create a Poet’s Laureate position for the first time in Ohio. That’s fantastic, and a dream for all of us that spend most of our time practicing that art in Ohio. It’s a politician’s cookie though, something small and inexpensive to create good will while the action (squeezing abortion clinics, denying committed couples benefits, expanding gun laws, and attempting to take to task our teachers) is still going on full throttle. I can love and appreciate the cookie, but I don’t need to taste it. I’ll always want an honor like that, who wouldn’t, but I will have absolutely no fear of losing it while fighting for the best Ohio can be.
Here’s to 2015, may it find you in an athletic stance, ready for all comers, and prepared to move on without fear of any rushing tide. We don’t have to swim the whole ocean; we just have to refuse the ocean’s advances on our beach. I always did like to fight the ocean.