Two Poems

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September 14, 2012 by The Citron Review

by Mark DeCarteret



too much has been made
about reality recently–

the mind and its tagged dome,
its post-modernized demons

& the body, its most ancient of aches–
those knots we’ll still tear at with beaks

& honed stones,
stolen software

& even more about heaven–
other places our souls haunt

lousy with some god & the past
fed with sap from some aged tree

but a lot less about
our doubts & instability

or that thing mostly felt–
a self unconvinced of itself

or any room we have left
once the ark’s been dis-

embarked by the new-
to-the-sun, never-missed,

who instead of ending up
on a gong-sound or howl

now sing of something not
us or assumed to be me—

that one final note gotten
by everything but the dogs


I have a minor in visual arts

& the same torpor and rope-burns
reported here last time
also the sky left intentionally blank
& some fallen blossoms, half-buds

I looked up the missed details
& all that my notebook seemed to lack
when I took it up the night before last
it can’t tan or recall what it drank

and is useless at riding a half-decent line
but does bring highlighter & white-out
to where those stars were once slung
& the gunshot couldn’t reach us

now those starlings I grinned at
are not even worth rating or
throwing one’s latest voice—
the shock of hearing myself

dubbed-in as sort-of-song
my options topping off at age ten
when all that was new could be
spotted from right here on the lake

so what’s not to liken to anything else?
each modification a blow of sorts
leaving me wobbly as a calf
licked well past relevance


DeCarteret’s work has appeared in the anthologies American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Press), Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988-1998 (Black Sparrow Press) and Under the Legislature of Stars: 62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press) which he also co-edited. His fifth book, Flap was published last year by Finishing Line Press. From 2009-2011, he was the Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. You can check out his Postcard Project at    

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