Mark DeCarteret

no idylling  

I’ll not stretch
the belittling chill of the title

into the lichen-rich hills & chalked sky
another start to a blessing

but then isn’t it settling in again
testing these lines w/its unrest & straining

as it sees to each turn
w/an ache that is usually a reach

even when I resist this insistent routine
of being attached to my chair

as I feign listening in on
the little sense being aired?


lay down your passwords
& play it one dimensional

see at last how the day says
the dawn is enough of a bond

that the sun is both gladdened
& saddened by all the glass

how it works w/the light 
till it orchestrates this glint

of fair or even good fortune    
flooding the room w/mutual

uncertainty & blinding trust
respect for not only the singly

sung or most broadly banded
but the poorest in reception

are those

our ears
that we hear
in my head
or your heart
& all it makes
sense or knows
of that one beat
that keeps time
out of breath or

these thousands
of mouths trying
to speak up for
what might be
the end of death
& the start of
a star or two
this art of being
seen only by

your eyes?

not a fan 

singing in a gassed-out language
all slang-infused and insufficiently aged
of the years returned to life in a day
the oft-thought dead heard again
to anyone ear-ready or outrageously dear

yes, there are tears in my tent-sides
& at this rate my story & heart
desires that an at-rest geyser’s way
of saying these half-regal things
will then segue into garish displays

songs of another indefinable “find” 
a disbelief never led out the vein
lager-yellow w/a shot of what
ever is palest and least-given to hue
or afforded these lowliest wages

though not dead yet still less saint-lit
my soul loosed upon the wind
gray and dingy w/the route 
I had settled for and/or let have at me 
shadows enlarging on the furthest-off hills

I’ll still sing of the last angling light
the near gallows’ hush of the early day
unfed by fire or ice or any genesis’ din  
& some air that’s so old it is done being air
sold on us by an angel not having any of it


after thought
a bout of laughter

we return to
all the forest

allows us:
flower &/or

tree &/or water

so far out 
of season

it’s hardly
worth a look

throwing into
our luggage

w/a book

there’s too many of them

once this notebook 
is filled I will not be 
writing any more
you say to me
as if unveiling yet 
another one of the lives
you have grown tired
this going back & forth
between the thought
to be clever & the not
for even one second
where you’ll inevitably
erase everything back to 
here where the sea was 
never how you once saw it
& the same w/the sun
you waved off ages ago 
saying how those words
you used to be able
to rub together
till they burned from w/in
scaring up a moment
are always closer to ash
another world that is
done to death & unshared
you now doing that thing w/
your hands when you’ve
found yourself cashed out & lost
that costly look on your face
where you’re asking me
if we’re still cool

Mark DeCarteret's poems have recently appeared or are due to appear in The American Poetry Review, Hole in the Head Review, Guesthouse, and Plume.
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