Mark DeCarteret





Finally, let that fool sun come to me
like a foiled coin snuck under my pillow
(its rose-oriented light, once top-billed
especially to those who take stock of the sea

or reside where the hills lock together
in these mock-ups of day-old epiphanies)
now just this terrible rust disgracing the drain,
bordering on brown, the disposition of earth.

It has little new to sell me anymore
(less than yesteryear or last week!)—
O, but that whole bit with the birds
what to make of them back then

at least twenty of them packed in
the conifers, were they wrens
or some others just as blah
with their white caps and streaks?

Now, blind and liberated from bile,
I'm liable to say anything to it—Orb or
Bad Cop's Spot or Our Oldest of Brothers.
Why is it always in such bad taste to turn

back towards words at this point
like these cheapest of chocolates—
their gold shells eventually lapped
clean by one's dog until newly minted? 




Memo: Ralph W. Emerson


You'd never march into a chasm,
its timelessness simultaneously
mist and its absence—
a form of ancient reminiscence,
without having fasted and given up
most of what passes for reality,
sampling only this water oft
tasting of long-dismissed purchases,
that space between our words
for thirstiness, yours;
never crossed any river where
it was lowest, unswollen,
the surface sometimes netted,
then tightening into light, sometimes
masquerading as a child's charm
yet still after all this time
unconvinced of its rarity, chill, 
but are always fording it where it
is fattest and over-fed, fast as
that first-love, taffy-twisting,
stones overgrown with lichen,
green like some ogre's stew,
the overhead trees ever-wet
and ever-slippery to the hand;
never steered towards some passage
without having first rifled over
every life-account, saga—
each of its letters fire-tested,
left on the fingertips like resin,
having stood above the memories, gaps
slickening your pipe-stem with spit
and attempting to slow down
the world's lick-split pace
with only a staff and this feeling
both sap-pump and pause—
a keeping of place on the page
with its whiteness less
thrown-snow, what-little-is-known,
than the gasp that comes after
or more so its not happening.




At Stratham Hill Park


Even in the steadiest of rains
on my sixth or seventh jumping jack
my legs were electric with ticks again,
their bodies doubling over with blood
all a-tremble like gelatin on my skin.
Now, the trees are swaying just the way
that you said they would and the air's
thick as sap in that designated pasture,
the sun surrounded with no-see-ums, 
a couple of clouds appearing out-of-sorts, sulking.

You say "stay" and it's as if I am suddenly tased,
none of that teeth-clicking, picnic table tapping
I'd been written up for so much in the past
as I sat in the pavilion and listened to blue jays
at war and then noted how the sparrows were not
(jotting down how they dipped for a piece of chip
before returning to the rafter's all clotted with web
one brown as drab and uninspiring as the other—
in the beautifully crafted, heartfelt words of some bard).
Yes, love, I'll be leaving.  I'll be all that is left.